the answers is in the first paragraph of "To Build a Fire"
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It's early morning and everything is cold and gray, "exceedingly cold and gray" A man leaves the main Yukon trail and climbs a high earth-bank, following a little-travelled trail that moves east through an area heavily covered in spruce trees. The bank was steep, and the man had hardly begun before he was short of breath. Glancing at his clock he sees is already 9:00, but there still isn't even a hint of the sun.
It was a clear day, but the darkness covers its clarity; it was gloomy and dark. But the man wasn't worried, as he was used to the lack of sun, and he was optimistic because the time was coming when the sun would provide extra hours of daylight.
To Build a Fire