We gathered with a few friends for Christmas Eve feasting and festivities, and later that night I wandered down the driveway to sleep under the stars at 5 below. I would have liked it colder, but at 5 below I can lay for long minutes with my head out of the bivy sack, scanning for aurora as the full moon fills the sky with silver light. That moon, to me, felt warmer than the 2 p.m. sun. The air actually was warmer. Still, I love the crisp, deep nights nearly as much as the dawn-and-dusk days, which is why I don't mind 20 hours of darkness. At least for a holiday.
But for now, we only have to think about this decision as a more distant problem, even though the ITI is only two months away. For now, it's the holidays, and for now, we will simply hike to hot springs, sleep in cabins and under the stars, squeeze in more bike rides and hopefully develop more effective layering strategies, watch deep crimson light spread across the horizon two hours before sunrise, get annoyed about "hot" temperatures that we'd consider frigid anywhere else, and just enjoy this most magical time of the year.