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Best of Alaska photos: Beauty despite November darkness

Wasilla Lake in early November 2013.
Keri Gronewald
Northern Lights dance above Fairbanks, Alaska during 2013.
Courtesy Marketa Murray
Sun shining in Seward, Alaska, Nov. 9, 2013
Ken Werner photo
Northern lights above Potter Marsh south of Anchorage, Alaska
Joni Baker photo
Homer, Alaska, in November 2013
Diana Utterback Shadley photo
A bald eagle overlooks Homer, Alaska in November 2013
Diana Utterback Shadley photo
Picture taken at the chicken coop at sunrise. The camera didn't do justice to the full range of colors -- one of those moments when Mother Nature takes your breath away.
Jeanie Burtch photo
A view from Kake, Alaska, on a run in November 2013
Norton Gregory photo
Conditions at Potter Marsh in south Anchorage are ideal for ice skating, and many people are taking advantage of the quiet, snow-free conditions. Nov 20, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
The nearly full moon rises above downtown Anchorage. The full moon in November is known as the Beaver Moon, so named because, according to the Farmer's Almanac, it was the best time to set beaver traps. Nov 12, 2013.
Loren Holmes photo
Northern Lights dance above Fairbanks, Alaska during 2013.
Courtesy Marketa Murray
Northern Lights dance above Fairbanks, Alaska during 2013.
Courtesy Marketa Murray
Alaska Dispatch

It's been quite a November in Alaska, with warmer-than-average temperatures to kick off the month, followed by a quick freeze around much of the state, then nasty winter storms in Western and Interior Alaska.

Through it all, there has been beauty to be found, just as there always is in the Last Frontier. As the days get shorter, the northern lights return, marking a perennial period of skygazing for many Alaskans. November also brought the beaver moon, a full moon said to be perfect for setting those final fur traps before the snow flies. Alaska Dispatch photographer Loren Holmes snapped a slideshow of Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, basking in the glow of the full November moon.

The late sunrise and early sunset also means more potential for Alaskans to see spectacular sunrises and sunsets, which take place closer to high noon. Except, of course, in Alaska's far-north communities, where the sun sets for months at a time. Barrow, the state's northernmost community, experienced its last official sunrise and sunset for the year on Nov. 18, when there was a mere 54 minutes between sunup and sundown. The sun will be gone more than two months, returning in late January.

And though the state's Arctic regions may be shrouded in darkness, there is still lots to do around Alaska in wintertime, from skiing to sledding to ice climbing to fat-tire biking to winter hiking, and more. In Alaska, winter may be long, dark and cold, but in the end, it's what Alaskans make out of it. And many Alaskans make it the best they can.