Thursday, September 20, 2007

cranberry wednesday

yesterday, i called my friend Brandy to see if she wanted to take a walk at Birch Hill and maybe pick a few cranberries. this is cranberry season, and for those who know me, little else matters while these little red gems are still available for the picking. Brandy met me up at Birch Hill, Fairbanks' x-country skiing center, a set of trails which in the summer make for great walking and in the fall, low-bush cranberry picking.

Brandy was game, as she usually is. Brandy is the woman for whom the battle cry, "I am woman, hear me ROAR" was made. A fisheries biologist by trade, Brandy moves seamlessly from hardcore, down and dirty, roll-up-your-sleeves-and-git-her-done fieldwork setting up fish weirs across Alaska's Yukon tributaries to a little-black-dress-evening out on the town, where good make-up and highlights really matter. Brandy just got back from a sheep hunting trip (yes, she got one) and we spent our lunch break talking about diamond engagement rings. oh, and picking cranberries.

meanwhile, Nuchie contemplated the universe - er..., i mean stood guard to make sure nobody else moved in our cranberry action.
afterwards, we went for a little walk to enjoy the fall colours. In Fairbanks, it's important to take time to do this since it only lasts about a week. here in the sub-arctic, the leaves turn colour in like, ONE day, then begin their descent to the ground, usually helped along by a windy day or two.
this trail is so wide to acommodate skate skiiers who ski diagonally across the trail and classic skiiers, for whom parallel tracks will be set to one side once there's snow. skiiers in Fairbanks share these amazing and meticulously groomed trails from late October through April.
the turning-yellow aspen and birch leaves made for soft and beautiful walking. it's a dilemma for us every fall: these beautiful falling leaves mean the coming of winter and snow and skiing and fun, but they do cover up the cranberries.

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