I'm back in Colorado now after a week in Juneau. I've written numerous times in the past about how much I love Juneau. This trip did nothing but further reinforce my love for the Juneau community and the land surrounding the area. It's easy for a place to feel like "home" when it is the place you are spending most of your time, but when a place that you are only spending 3 or 4 months a year (as I currently am with Juneau), feels so much like home the minute you fly into town, I think that is a good indication of a more permanent and definitive "home."
My visit was pretty typical for the first 2 days: seeing friends, wandering around town, getting reacquainted with the nuances, heading out onto the quick access trails for short runs, and generally just easing back into the unique experience that is life in Juneau. By my third day in town though I was getting the bug to really re-connect with the mountains. I was feeling pretty much 100% recovered from my recent race effort, and the forecast was for a pretty decent day of weather. Around 9am that day my friend Dan and I started up into the mountains with our snowshoes and enough food/water to be out most of the day. Despite the forecast for some afternoon sun, the morning was typical Juneau December weather: cloudy, drizzly, breezy, and really quite dreary. Things however began to dry up and calm down as we went higher. Eventually, as we rose above 2,500 ft, the air became eerily calm and gradually clear. We had climbed above the clouds into one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen anywhere in the world. This combined with the amazingly firm and stable snow conditions made for one of the most inspiring and satisfying runs I have ever been on. I think I'll just let these photos paint the rest of the picture, lest my words diminish something which felt almost too perfect to be put into words: