Yesterday Paul and I wanted to ride in the park and decided to see if Rover's Run was open yet. Officially, it is open, but it's current condition suggests that the city's slogan should be Big Wild Nature. A recent windstorm brought gusts near 100 mph in some parts of town. We rode the lower half of Rover's, about 1 mile, and had to climb over, under, or around half a dozen downed trees. We skipped the upper half because we heard that over 20 trees had fallen across the trail. The windstorm must have scared the bears away; we didn't see any tracks in the thin layer of snow.
We gambled and it paid off. My friend Jo-Ann reserved the Serenity Falls Cabin at the far end of Eklutna Lake months ago and weeks before she fell and tore her rotator cuff. After surgery at the end of June, she asked if we'd mind if she pushed the cabin reservation back from the 2nd weekend of September to the last. That's pushing winter in these parts but how can you say 'no' to someone who's hallucinating on pain killers and not going to bike all summer? She thought she could be back on her mountain bike by the end of September. We rode out in a pouring rain a year ago September so how much worse could it be if we postponed?
To see more photographs of the weekend in Eklutna:
- the grass didn't grow much so Paul didn't have to mow twice a week, more like twice a month
- the seeds, seedlings, and transplants at my restoration project thrived with the constant rain
- and the fall colors have been absolutely spectacular and seemingly endless
I haven't posted any fall colors on this blog, so I looked at the Divas blog to see if my memory is right. Did fall really last all of September? And indeed, yes, by the second week the dogwood was a deep red in some parts of the woods and the birches were starting to turn yellow. In the third week some leaves were falling while other birches were just hitting their stride. Even in the fourth week, as the ground was carpeted in golden leaves, some birch trees were just starting to shift from green to yellow.
Those bike rides, and others commuting home from work or around the park on weekends, were like riding through liquid golden energy. I felt an energy that only comes after a long period of darkness. Even though those Diva rides were often cloudy and moist evenings, the golden leaves substituted for the sunlight I've craved all summer.
For months I kept wondering why staying in Alaska all summer had seemed like such a good idea in previous years. But on those bike rides, I couldn't stop saying to myself -- you live in the most beautiful and amazing place in the world.
Back in the spring as green up rolled across southcentral Alaska, a colleague commented that for two weeks in the spring, no place in the world is as beautiful. I'd have to say, for the month of September, no place is as golden and rich with life.