The leaves are all off the trees and piling up in soggy brown piles on the lawns. The snowline is slowly but surely creeping down the Chugach Range above Anchorage. And my husband has begun starting my car for me in the morning so it’s warm inside, and the frost is melted off the windows, by the time my son and I leave the house. It’s official; winter is on its way to Southcentral Alaska.
We almost always have snow on the ground before Halloween so it’s only a matter of a few days or weeks before the first flakes fall here (and knowing they have already fallen in some Lower-48 locations such as Salt Lake City makes me feel a bit smug).
I’m feeling conflicted about winter this year. I love cold, crisp, bright winter days when I can take my son and my dog to the park or up into the mountains for a romp. But I hate dull, dark winter days, and we’ll get just as many of those, I know. And I also know that, with an empty air miles account and my Permanent Fund Dividend already spoken for by bills this year, I won’t be going anywhere warm and sunny this winter to help break up the monotony of a long Alaska winter.
So, I’ve decided to commit to at least one long walk outdoors each weekend regardless of the weather, I’m planning a few outdoor trips for work so I can find some new ways to enjoy winter in Alaska (I’ll share those with you in the Travel Alaska column of the magazine), and I’ve begun collecting recipes for hearty, winter-warming foods from Alaskan chefs that I can cook when it’s really not worth venturing out (I’ll share those on Facebook).
Wish me luck, and you readers in the warm southwest states, think of me in December and send some sun up my way.
—Rebecca Luczycki is senior editor of Alaska magazine