The September shift

by • September 9, 2013 • ToastComments (0)791

Shoulder season stacked with things to do


Standing in our shop, I looked at the inflatable kayaks that I never got around to using, the mountain bike that sat collecting dust in the corner and the float tube that never got paddled around a fly-fishing lake. In just a few days, our kids would be going back to school, we’d be shifting gears from our summer jobs to our winter occupations and we’d have to start battening down the hatches for yet another winter.

Oh, to have more time.

Hannah Claytor and Zach Bonham take a shoulder season hike at Hatcher Pass. Melissa DeVaughn

Hannah Claytor and Zach Bonham take a shoulder season hike at Hatcher Pass. Melissa DeVaughn

Of course, that is the thing about September; you never know when you might wake up to an unseasonably warm day, a reminder of the summer past and a beckoning of just one more adventure before it’s time to move on to skis and ice skates. Those days are so vital, offering a last-chance moment to hike a favorite trail, go for a long ride or even spend the day in the yard, clearing the gardens of summer’s bounty in preparation for winter. September might be a shoulder season, but with its ever-changing temperament, folks sure don’t seem to be slowing down much.

For example, the annual Bonny Sosa Tuesday Night Race Series kicks off this month, with an affordable and fun way to race your way through autumn, so you can greet winter fit and ready for fun. Running in one of the races last year, I marveled at how many people – hundreds – showed up on a work night to test themselves in the dwindling daylight. As I approached the finish line behind throngs of ruddy-cheeked runners, I felt part of something special, sensing that, yes, in Alaska, the weather does not slow us down at all.

There’s also biking – the Arctic Cross Cyclo series kicks off in early September and continues into October. Here, cyclists simply switch gears – literally – from their skinny-tired summer madness to beefier, sturdier bikes, made to handle early autumn’s rigors.

Even mountain runners can test their stamina this month – and help support cancer research – at the annual North Face Vertical Challenge Climb-a-thon at Alyeska. Read about all of this in this month’s pages of Coast magazine.

As for my kayaks, they will likely stay stored for yet another season, awaiting my attention come spring, when the snow thaws and the open water beckons. While there might be a few days left to enjoy what’s left of summer, I doubt I will get to it. This transitional season has me looking back at what we did accomplish – running, swimming, fishing, hiking and backpacking – fondly, yet also anticipating the snowy days ahead, when the cross-country skis get pulled out, the studded running shoes are unearthed and the sled dogs get to run again.


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