The days here have grown shorter, as the first days of autumn seem to dawn here in Alaska, which most of all paints the world in the vivid pallet of the Indian Summer. Especially here it is most beautiful, a decent, somber metaphor for the coming end of the campaign as well. It appears that our instruments are slowly waning, with minor issues with the equipment becoming more and more frequent. Nothing you can’t fix, mind that, and in recent lights our instruments and personal have performed admirably.

It is the last flight we will be undertaking here in Anchorage, one last encore, one last mission into the skies. Now it is safe to say that the campaign was an astounding success, with a rich harvest of data.

Most of all, it was a good time. There’s little left unsaid, and I fear I no longer can find the words that you would need to truly comprehend the depth of my words. I had hoped to capture it, but it cannot be

Before I leave for today, though, there is a couple of anecdotes that may be worth your time to read. It is about a rare coincidence that we stumbled upon in the wilderness of Steward, and a story about the rural life of Anchorage. I might add in some more impressions of lesser significance for your enjoyment. There is a young gal here in Seward, a town to the south of Anchorage, who appears wander the heights of the Mount Marathon Trail. Oddly specific, you might think, and I swear that is is no clever deception on our part, how unlikely this might seem. This gal appears to have a special someone, who appears to have create a little mural for her atop the mountains, to express his love for her. Fittingly, you might have guessed who’s name it was our people found nestled within the rocks:

A one in a million chance – but a welcome one. Copyright Markus Retzlaff @ Forschungszentrum Juelich

That this little gals name would be Gloria as well, and this shrine be found by the scientists of team GLORIA – it cannot be but a sign! Or maybe not, that name isn’t too uncommon. But the coincidence is remarkable. This really happened, and we left the mural untouched. I wish the best to you, unknown Gloria, and know that your love really did made our day!

The second anecdote is a little bit … less heartwarming. Yesterday I went to a mall with a colleague of mine. In a strange chain of events, we found a girl throwing up right after leaving the mall when we tried to enter, some missionary of sorts approached us to talk with us about the good lord, and when we left a black cowboy with jewel-clad teeth told my colleague that his shoes were no good, and he’d rather wear some like mine (I was wearing tracking shoes). Only in America, folks!

Anyway, this shall conclude this weeks post. Please enjoy some more pictures of the local beauty, and be thrilled for the coming publications. You will certainly be able find them by searching for the campaign name PHILEAS in about a good year. Also, there is a little hidden message build into this post; nothing too fancy, but if you can find it, a quick comment would be appreciated. Will see you once more…

About Jan Kaumanns

Jan Kaumanns is a PhD student at the Institute for Energy and Climate (IEK-7, Stratosphere) and a HITEC fellow. During his PhD he is researching isentropic mixing processes in filaments in the middle atmosphere. He is responsible for forecasting, flight planning and data processing during the PHILEAS campaign.

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