It is an entirely perfect evening out. The sun’s setting (at 8pm, wah, winter is coming) and the sky is gold and blue and gorgeous. I wish we’d get decent weather like this for a few weeks. The entire population of the island is depressed. Thursday was half decent, but that made yesterday’s misery all the worse. I’m going to cry like a little girl if tomorrow’s awful again. Moop. (Obviously I expect it’s going to be bad.)

Autumn’s actually my favorite time of year. It’s the best time to be outdoors in Alaska. September and October are crisp and cool and frequently clear. It gets down to 29 or 30 degrees at night, so the ubiquitous mosquitoes are dead, but it warms up to the thirties and forties during the day. If you go biking early enough in the morning, you get to crush the thin-thin ice skimmed over the puddles, and it makes a great satisfying crackling sound, as do the leaves when you rush through them. Everything’s got that wonderful cold-but-not-quite-frozen smell, and the trees are gold and then black, as the leaves fall. You catch more glimpses of the bald eagles, particularly, with the leaves fallen, and somewhat more of the moose and the occasional bear, though they’re generally retreating by then. In a few more weeks there’s snow and dark, signaling months of no biking–I haven’t got the fortitude for snow biking–and what passes for spring in Alaska is far more unreliable than autumn, full of broken piles of slush and potholes opened up by the heaving earth, so by the time it’s really worth getting outside into the long days, the mosquitoes are back. Summertime is worth the bug dope and sunscreen, of course, but still, autumn’s my favorite time of year.

miles to Isengard: 276.7
ytd miles swum: 15.5