As consistent readers and friends may know, I have been running nearly every day out here. At this point my runs have taken me on all the roads in town, the one road that goes out of town, and all the trails that encircle the town. The quantity and variety of the routes had been quite satisfactory so far. But it has now been two months of daily running in Koyuk. This week my running had been in a lull, there is a monotony in running the same routes each day.
But today! A new route was run today! As soon as I had finished kneading my bread and had set it aside to rise, I suited up: fleece pants, a long underwear shirt, a track jacket, fleece headband, and thin black gloves. Aside from the blue headband that was keeping my ears warm I must have looked a bit ninja-like, attired in tight all black clothes. From my apartment, I ran down to the beach and headed west. Until now, when heading west on the beach the maximum distance I could go was about ¼ of a mile. After that the beach turned into a swampy tundra. Squish is never a good sounds to hear while running, so I had avoided running that way. Yet today, I reached the end of the beach proper, and happily continued running. The ground has frozen solid! Former squishy swamps are now solid, snow-free stretches of land that are perefect for running. Well, perfect save for one detail…. Truly, I brag when I say that I “ran” today. True runners run every single mile of their daily run. Today I cheated a bit during my run. It was out of necessity, I swear! Every few hundred feet I found myself walking gingerly. This was an attempt to carefully bypass the numerous patches of ice that scattered the trail. And, I must admit, every so often I stopped and walked simply to admire the view. The edges of the Koyuk River were completely frozen over! In fact, early this morning when the temperature was in the teens still there was a thin layer of ice on the entire river- all the way across!
The arrival of the ice was swift, as of this past Wednesday there was none. Given that the temperatures this week are not expected to rise above 32 degrees, I expect that the ice will only continue to grow. Brrrr, those of you in the lower 48 are probably saying. But for me, the more ice, the more options I have! Every day, I peer out my classroom window, looking at the Koyuk River and desiring to explore the tundra and mountains on the other side of it. When I run, I often stop wishing that I could go further, but am blocked by a small stream that I can not cross. Soon, I will be able to walk out my door and travel in any direction without being obstructed by any body of water (including the ocean!).