Saturday, November 07, 2009

Now it's October

I feel like I should have a better blog post lined up after four or so days away, but, sadly, the weather has just not been conducive to good outdoor blogging. On the indoor front, I have been socializing more than normal, finally worked out of the writing block I've been struggling through in my winter project, and finished the books "Swimming to Antarctica," "Addicted to Danger" and "Me Talk Pretty One Day." I really liked "Swimming to Antarctica" by Lynne Cox. Talk about someone going far in life on pure determination (and a fair bit of natural resistance to cold water.) Highly recommended.

So the weather: Gray and cool and raining. I continue to rave to anyone who's willing to listen to me what an amazing autumn I had. But I'm slowly starting to realize that I didn't actually get a free "out" from Juneau's autumn. It just came a month late. September was August. October was September. This month, this late-year month that is supposed to see a fair amount of white stuff, feels a lot like early October. I've been doing lots of drenched road riding on the Karate Monkey, a couple runs, and a few trips to the gym. On Thursday morning, I got out for a hike with my friend Sean. He wanted to take me to see his favorite place to ski, the dramatic, cliff-encircled bowl above Fish Creek. We climbed to about 2,500 feet elevation and it was still warm and still raining, hard. In November. I could almost hear his skier's heart breaking.

He'd never hiked to the bowl in its "summer" phase (as he described the route, which was still carpeted in bright green plants and moss.) He sloshed confidently across this fast-flowing creek and I followed at the same speed, forgetting what a super klutz I am compared to most people (especially skier types). I went down hard and started sliding just above this waterfall, and likely would have plummeted down it if I hadn't blindly groped at the rushing water and managed to grab a random piece of driftwood wedged between two rocks. I was elated that, while I may have poor balance, my reflexes seem good. Sean seemed to think I should be upset that I fell full-body into a creek when temperatures were in the high 30s. Given the state of the weather, I didn't think it mattered.

After the hike, despite being soaked head-to-toe-to-core, I still took Pugsley for a quick jaunt up the mountain at Eaglecrest. The snow was rain-saturated and as thick and mushy as warm oatmeal. I abandoned the quest about halfway up the hill and hiked without the bike the rest of the way to the ridge, where it was still raining. I think I could skiers' hearts breaking across Juneau. If November doesn't come soon, it's going to be a long winter.


  1. Last year, I noticed fenders on your pugsley in some photos (not today, I see). I'm wondering what kind of fenders you recommend? I desperately need some even here in CO where we got 4' of snow last week but now it's hitting 55 deg everyday!

    I enjoy your blog - the words and beautiful photos. Thanks.

  2. Jill, you continue to amaze me. Given the kind of weather you had, I would have curled up in front of a fire with a glass of wine instead of "braving the elements".

  3. Winter came late... Maybe spring will come early :)

    Either way I know you'll be outdoors! But I'm glad you got a little reading time in!

  4. Thanks for this blog. I read it consistently. I, too, loved Swimming to Antarctica! She has such a great attitude! My dream is to someday move to Alaska, and you help me keep that dream alive! Thanks, Jill.

  5. Jill,

    You might want to start learning about foot placement and how its put down, parallell, or perpendicular to the slope. something a ice climber must learn when ice climbing.

  6. just found your blog - nice! i'm a diehard trail runner and can totally appreciate the feeling of being outside in just about anything. the more challenging the better.

  7. It's cool that you can leave your bike on the trail somewhere and hike the rest of your route without worrying that the bike will be gone when you return. It seems that you've done that a number of times. Nice place to be!


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