Monday, September 27, 2010

The Seasons they do a Change (quickly)

A week ago we were sitting in the office with the windows open and enjoying a nice breeze on a reasonable hot September day. The coming holiday was going to mark the mid-autumn festival and we would be amongst the revelers dancing and eating moon cakes and hopefully enjoying a beautiful autumn evening. Sadly this was not the case, in fact on Tuesday it decided to rain, letting up long enough for us to for a bike ride which was a bit chillier than we had expected. While enjoying some post exercise noodles at the Jiuzhaigou's Number 1 noodle house, we pondered the current change in weather and thought about the leaves changing color and the amount of green still covering the landscape. Wednesday was a little bit better, still with some rain but not so bad and some occasional breaks in the clouds. Thursday marked the end of the mid-autumn festival, celebrated outside of our building with a display of singing and dancing from one of the many cultural shows that plays nightly in the towns around the park entrance. Friday seemed to be a mark of an overall change in the weather. It was a little bit colder and there was some rain but it also just felt different. I don't know if it was the chill in the air or clouds constantly surrounding the higher peaks but I could feel that the weather was about to make a statement. That statement came on Saturday morning with long bouts of rain through out the morning. In the afternoon we decided to head out for a 80 km ride. The ride actually lasted 50km since it was cold and we were a little under dressed for it. It was however about 10 km into the ride that we decided that the mid autumn festival is aptly named even though it does not fall in the middle of what we traditionally refer to as autumn. It turns out that autumn in Jiuzhaigou is actually only a few days long and the mid autumn festival occurs right in the middle of it. The deciding factor being that there in front of us was snow atop the peaks that tower a few hundred meters overhead.
This being a sub alpine area we expect to see some early snow but the dramatic change in temperature and overall weather leaves us to only conclude that the weather will only get colder and colder from here on out. The fortunate side effect of this is that we should get drier and drier weather as fall tumbles on. This being a monsoonal climate the rain begins to subside at the end of September and tapers off through October. This means for us an increase in drier trails and roads but at a sacrifice of enduring colder temperatures.

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