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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Historically, Caribou Creek drew considerable interest from gold miners, hunters and trappers. And to this day there are active mining claims in the drainage. Mining property and equipment are to be respected. In more recent times, the area has become a popular haven for ice climbers who have identified about 20 ice falls that they’ve assigned evocative names such as, “The Abomination of Sublimation,” “Night Moves,” “Polar Shrimp,” “Ragtime,” and “Barrel of Monkeys.”

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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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Do you want to build a snowman and other youthful questions

Certainly, there are aches and pains. There are doctor visits and prescription drugs. There are topical creams, glucosamine, daily stretching and exercises, a knee brace and even a joint replacement. But I hearken back to Rod Stewart’s song. And when I think of it, I want to go outdoors and build a snowman, or go sledding. Maybe, one of these days I’ll find some other kids who want to play “Kick the Can.”

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Kids and families take over Kincaid Park at Ski 4 Kids

Ski 4 Kids – it’s a fun, festive and free family event! The annual event at Kincaid Park provides local children up to 14 years old the opportunity to explore and enjoy various winter recreational experiences.

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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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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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