Many Things Change With Time, and Some Things Don’t

I used to tell people that I’d love to live in the wild west of the 1800s. But then there was this scene in a movie with a guy in a little prairie town getting his teeth pulled out by the blacksmith, because there was no dentist. No thanks. Some change is definitely good.

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Unanimous Approval: Gold Star Peak

In early February 2018, Eagle River’s Kirk Alkire travelled to Washington D.C. to seek approval by the Domestic Names Committee (DNC) of the U.S. Board of Geographic Names on the naming of “Gold Star Peak” in the Chugach Mountains. His hard work paid off on February 8th when his proposal received a unanimous vote. Gold Star Peak is no longer just Alkire’s passion. It’s a place.

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2018 – Aspirations are better than resolutions

I’ve often thought our shift from one year to another is as meaningless as the concept of “up” and “down” in outer space. Time is a human construct. But with the use of calendars based upon astronomical movements we can precisely mark the point of one year advancing to another. And that demarcation often compels us to make self-promises, or resolutions. Resolutions seem rather binding, like contracts. I know I’m not alone in feeling guilty for breaking resolutions over the years—you know, the difficult ones that might actually improve us as human beings.

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A Snowman to Summon Snow

With ice once again invading Eagle River, and insufficient snow for skiing, a kid in the Baker household (Echo Team member Frank Baker) decided to build a snowman--who has been dutifully instructed to ask the Snow Gods for more snow.

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Our connection with nature is universal

It doesn’t matter who we are or where we live, we are drawn to nature because we are nature at the molecular level, or as the late astronomer Carl Sagan opined: “our bodies are composed of the same elements in stars …we are essentially star stuff.”

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Eklutna Lake becomes a 3,200-acre skating rink, at least for a few days

On the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, skaters with colorful parasails tacked hard into a steady southeast wind.

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Twin Peaks – Abruptly uplifted mountains

On an April 2010 climb, MCA’s Brent Voorhees is near the 4,236-foot summit of POW/MIA peak in the Chugach Mountains. Peaks from left: Pioneer Peak north summit (6398); Pioneer Peak south summit (6349); East Twin Peak (5873); and Goat Rock, 5282. West Twin Peak (5472) is hidden behind Goat Rock. These mountains are all part of a geologic complex that lies within a west to east running fault called the Border Range Fault.

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Where is winter? Ice dominates Eagle River’s landscape

These days you hear people at the post office and grocery store: “I hate this! No skiing or snowshoeing. No fat-tire biking. It’s dangerous just to walk on my driveway. I would take Fairbanks’ cold or Ketchikan’s rain over this!” Actually, I lied. I haven’t encountered anyone who said this except me. This tenacious advance of ice has finally gotten to me. According to The Alaska Almanac by Nancy Gates, ice covers about three percent of Alaska’s landmass. But with recent weeks of rain-freeze-thaw-rain caused by a stationary jet stream bringing warm air from farther south in the Pacific, I estimate that ice now covers about 3.4 percent of the state. It cakes our driveways, it’s on our roads, it covers our parking lots and glazes our trails. It’s as if 500 people got on Zamboni machines and drove around in the cover of darkness and fiendishly coated every space they could find with ice!

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Commitment to Climb: One family completes the “ Baldy 50 ”

65,000 feet - more than two Mount Everests, or the distance to the outer edge of the earth’s atmosphere: That’s how high Peters Creek’s Yorisha “Rish” Harty and her nine-year-old daughter Riley will have climbed in 2017 during their year-long quest to complete 50 summits of Mt. Baldy. Rish says she launched the project in early January 2017 at the behest of Riley as a way of enhancing the home school program for her and sister Skyler, age 10. “Riley wanted to get in some rigorous outdoor exercise as a way of adding physical education to the program, and to also have some fun,” Rish says. “From the very start, Riley was ‘all in’ with the idea of climbing Baldy 50 times in a year, and Skyler joined us a bit later. It’s been a blast.”

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Chilling on Mount Guadalupe, the highest point in Texas

As winter deepens, we Alaskans traditionally spend a lot of time taking steps to stay warm. But I recall a climb of Mt. Guadalupe in Texas several years ago when upon reaching the mountain’s 8,749-foot summit, I discovered something extremely rare in my Lone Star State experience: Cold. For half an hour I sat goose-pimpled on a rock and shivered, enjoying every single moment!

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