|Sunset, with a sillhouted Mt. Edgecumbe, from our driveway|
Sometimes if can be hard to be excited about the arrival of Fall in Southeast Alaska. Fall weather typically brings more rain, high winds, the dreaded high wind/downpour combo, and darkness due to the ever decreasing daylight. Not surprisingly, I do not look forward to the arrival of these things, but Fall does bring its fair share of beauty, too, which is worth mentioning (and remembering!). For instance, we now get to enjoy sunrises and sunsets again because they happen during normal waking hours! The weather may be dark and dreary often, but sunsets like the one above add much needed color to our lives!
In contrast to the colors of the sunsets, we have the beauty of our mountains transformed from green to their monochrome white and black. Enshrouded in their blanket of white, the mountains are possibly even more beautiful than their summer versions. Sunshine shimmering and sparkling off white peaks with a deep blue sky overhead is a hard view to top.
Now, onto the exciting part of the post: our adventures in this fall landscape. A pen switch to Ben who has written about a couple of our recent hikes.
|Looking towards the highest peak on the island while trekking up to Bear Lake|
Fall came and went in Sitka. It could be the arrival of the school year, but fall seems to vanish before we can even get our feet under ourselves. Thankfully though, fall passed with decent weather. Decent, of course, is a relative term for Sitkans. But, the nicest weather seemed to come on the weekends, which gave us prime opportunities to go do what we love most- explore the wilderness around Sitka- Wunderbar!
Stating fall has passed seems like false advertising. Fall, or really the weather that represents the time of year known as fall, could be and usually does come with any season in Sitka. Rainy, wet, and cloudy could be any day of the year and November is no different in Sitka.
Now that November is fading away as fast as the sun is, the wet, cool days are still hanging around. But, after this upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, fall will officially feel over. We hope the weather will agree with this idea and bring consistently colder weather. Snow in the mountains, a frozen Swan Lake, and cross-country skiing on the cross trail- now that sounds like winter.
We both have been busy working and keeping our new home in order. We have a kayak rack outside the garage now in hopes to be able to store one of our vehicles in the garage throughout the winter. Emily has been working, staying busy, and subbing at nearly all the secondary schools on the island. I continue to teach and work as the Student Government advisor. Add Chena into the mix and we are keeping with a healthy, busy schedule.
With the approach of a hopeful winter, we have started to prepare for our winter adventures. Adventures in the winter become limited and harder to come by. The days are short, the mountain ridges are windy and cold, and the snow makes for a slower ascent. But, with limited snow this time of year, we can access the alpine in the same amount of time as it takes in the summer, making our trips seem reasonable.
Recently, we decided to visit the alpine of Bear Mountain. The mountain is a beastly one and trekking up it in the winter is difficult. Thus, we thought spending a few weekends exploring the two sides of the girthy mountain could give us good insight to the mountain alpines this time of year.
Taking into consideration the snow depth and level, we opted for hiking the far side of the mountain first. Our destination was Bear Lake, a high alpine lake fed by mountain rain and snow. The trail meanders through the forest and you eventually pop out into a low sub-alpine terrain. Since you come out of the trees earlier than some of the other comparable hikes, we could enjoy the gifts of being above tree line for an extended amount of time, which was definitely desirable on the day we went. The clear blue skies filled the surrounding area; consequently, we had to put SUNSCREEN on to protect our sun-deprived skin.
Break spot on way up
It had not been cold enough for the lake to freeze, so we enjoyed the open waters of the lake with a layer of white snow and ubiquitous blue sky above. The combination of it all led to nearly perfect reflections off of the lake.
Erin and Ben, arriving at Bear Lake for a quick lunch--with limited daylight now, there's not much rest time!