March is a month of spiritual awakenings and reflection.
Daylight Saving Time begins on March 11 — don’t forget to spring forward with your clocks. There will be longer days and the sun’s heat starts to return, if only so very slow.
March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day, remembering the Irish’s patron saint, who brought Christianity to Ireland and also died on this date.
The vernal equinox is the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. At this time the sun crosses the celestial equator going from south to north. This happens on the 20th.
The last Monday in March is Seward’s Day. This is a legal holiday in Alaska commemorating the signing of the Alaska Purchase Treaty on March 30, 1867 from Russia. It got its name from the then-Secretary of State William H. Seward who negotiated the purchase — nicknamed “Sewards’ Folly.”
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual long distance sled dog race which runs in early March from Willow to Nome, entirely within Alaska. Historically known as the Seward-to-Nome Trail, it is a thousand-plus mile race. The race starts in Anchorage, the first Saturday in March and ends when the last musher reaches Nome. Each musher has a team of 16 dogs and covers the distance in 8-15 days or more. The first race was held in 1973. Libby Riddles became the first woman to win this race in 1985.
Here’s some more March Alaska trivia
— The first Alaska Territorial Legislature convened in Juneau in 1913.
— Vern Tejas completed the first successful winter solo ascent of Denali in 1988.
— The Alaska Railroad was created in 1914.
— International Airway began Alaska-Seattle commercial passenger service in 1929.
— In Sitka, the Baranof Castle burned in 1894.
— Women’s suffrage got approval of the first Alaska territorial law in 1913.
— Sitka National Monument was created in 1910 and was renamed Sitka National Historical Park.
— The great Alaska earthquake was in 1964 registering 9.2 magnitude.
— The first pipe for trans-Alaska oil pipeline was laid at Tonsina River in 1975.
— Copper River and Northwestern Railway had its completion in 1911.
— We must never forget the Exxon Valdez, ran aground, spilling 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound in 1989. This is a tragedy that will take a long time to recover from.
March is a month of new beginnings and reflections, what better way to reflect than while taking a Alaska Northern Lights Tour. The peak viewing season is in the dead of winter, when the weather is the coldest and when it’s the darkest. This is definitely worth waking up in the middle of the night to see the spectacular colors. Just another beauty found in this great state. The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, is sometimes referred to as polar lights, a natural light display in the Earth’s sky predominantly seen in the high-latitude regions, near the northern or southern magnetic poles.
This light show is caused by collisions between electrically charged particles released from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere and collide with gases, such as, oxygen and nitrogen.
Alaska is one of the most beautiful places to call home.
Compiled by Bonnie Marie Playle of Soldotna.