Covid Winter

Man may turn which way he please, and undertake anything whatsoever, he will always return to the path which nature has prescribed for him.


And now we are in a covid time and winter is upon us here in Alaska. Thus far it is a wonderful winter. With the changing climate Alaska has really noticed the increasing warmth and problems associated with that. I say normal ski season use to begin the first of October. People laugh and questioned that, and the last time that happened was 1995. (I define skiing as open the garage door, put on skiis and go.) I have for the last years defined winter as being cold, snowy, and dark. The last years the cold and snow has often been missing or inconsistent, which leaves the dark. Biking or skiing in the rain at above freezing temperatures is not a huge amount of fun. But this year is proving great. We have had snow on the ground for nearly 3 weeks now. Anchorage has some of the best ski and bike trails anywhere, and they are groomed exquisitely, primarily volunteer effort and volunteer contributions. Makes for a very fine community.

As for the covid thing well yes we are not socializing as much, not traveling, not getting together. But life is constantly changing and I am finding the new challenges can be exciting. Whereas we would often have a trip planned somewhere exotic or not, it was somewhere, but then I think, people spend a lot of time and money to come to Alaska to vacation, visit or whatever. There are some great things here. And we are enjoying them now, not that we did not before, but in a new light local stuff can brighten up.

Hence for the past 3 weeks, actually for the past 249 days since we went on “lock down” (not a true lockdown) I have been outside everyday. The past weeks exploring the trails has been delightful. Anchorage over the past 4 years, since I last really went mountain biking has developed some awesome single track trails. They have been building them for the past 10 years, but the past 4 years have really taken off. As I volunteer at the ski jumps I hear the near constant whooping of bikers on the trails below going through the woods. A trail called Jeff’s whoop whoop seems to create a lot of noise, and I now know why.

Trail Forks map of trails near my residence

But we are in full blown winter and delightful as the sun is low reaching a peak altitude of about 9 degrees above the horizon. One is required to stop whenever there is an opening amongst the tree which will allow you to stop and just stare at the sun. Sure feels good this time of year.

Sunshine stop
Tour of Anchorage trail Bicentennial park

With temperatures a very pleasant -10 C (14F) the world is quiet and serene. Anchorage has a large variety of micro climates sometimes ranging over 29 degrees C (50 F) over a 16 kilometer radius (10 miles). Most of the riding I find is in the colder areas. From our house it will be -10 C (14F) and we drop down a hill a couple kilometers and the temperature is -17C (4F). But as the saying goes “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear”.

Winter biking
Sunshine through alders