Talkin’ trash is a rite of spring

This past winter the trash fairy returned to Anchorage and Eagle River. And as always, she gleefully deposited tons of refuse along our streets and byways. From May 1 to May 8, thousands of citizens will mount an assault on this miserable, mephitic, malodorous mess, asking themselves the same question over and over: Where does it all come from? Here’s a number for you: 4 million. That’s the amount of trash, in pounds, that was collected during one of Anchorage and Eagle River spring cleanups.

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We love our trails: Outdoor recreationists come in many types and styles

Generalizing about people is risky, to say the least. But after many years on our trails, I’ve observed several types of recreationists. I thought it might be fun to light-heartedly point some of them out.

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Chugach Park Fund supports trails and other park amenities

The park receives tens of thousands of visitors each year and attracts a steadily increasing number of tourists. The year 2020 will mark the park’s 50th Anniversary. With state revenues declining in recent years, budgets for park trails and other amenities have been severely constrained. Recognizing a growing need for maintenance of park facilities and development of trails, a 15-member group called the Chugach State Park Citizen Advisory Board created the Chugach Park Fund in 2016.

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What’s there NOT to love about Alaska

When he joined the Army in December of 1947, Alaska was the last place in the world this writer wanted to be sent. In fact, each of the 12 times he went through processing, he responded to the question of his preference of overseas assignments with, “Anyplace but Alaska.” You see, he was born and raised in Alabama. Just the thought of below-freezing weather was enough to make him shiver.

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It was a bluebird morning. There was no wind and the sun was warm on our faces as Pete Panarese and I skied into South Fork Valley, headed for Eagle Lake. It was my first major outdoor trip in more than a year after knee surgery, and in every fiber of my being it felt like a physical and spiritual rebirth.

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Taking to the Rivers and Trails

Come get excited for summer! You’ll hear inspirational people share tales of their backcountry exploits. You’ll pick up tips for launching your own outdoor adventures on public lands. And you’ll learn more about the National Trails System and National Wild and Scenic Rivers Acts - both of which turn 50 this year!

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Trial and error are good teachers in the outdoors

Much of my learning in the outdoors has come from making miscalculations and mistakes. Luckily, none of them have been life threatening--except the time I tried to float down one of the channels of the Knik River in a one-person raft with the chamber on one side entirely deflated. But that’s another story. Just as airplane pilots acquire weather information on their destinations, outdoor recreationists need to gather as much intel as they can on where they’re going – especially in winter. Much of the time if I’m headed north, I’ll call a lodge that’s in the area and ask about conditions. Or, if I’m headed south to the Kenai Peninsula, I might telephone one of the rangers with Chugach National Forest.

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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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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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