I concealed my displeasure when my lovely wife switched the television channel from the NBA basketball game to Oprah Winfrey. As I started to rise from the sofa to do something “constructive,” such as go out in the garage and think about reorganizing things — you know, just the thinking part — something on the program caught my attention. Oprah was in Mumbai, India, and in this segment she was visiting its poorest inhabitants.
Prudent travelers make a concerted effort to match fitness and skill levels among members of a group on backcountry excursions. It’s common sense, promotes safety and adds to everyone’s enjoyment. But do we use the same amount of discretion with our pets? On an early summer climb in the Chugach Mountains several years ago, I severely miscalculated the endurance of my dog — a two-year-old standard poodle — and put us both in jeopardy.
April is almost gone and the small patch of ground that was to become a garden in my front yard is still covered by a foot of snow. My back yard, which receives about as much sun as the inside of the Whittier tunnel, has three feet of snow that will probably not melt until July.
This week I’d like to take you on an excursion to a glacier theatre...a theatre of eternal ice...a theatre surrounded by dizzying, snow-encrusted peaks, sheer granite walls, a restless theatre of echos, rumbling avalanches; a pensive, brooding theater of silence...a theatre where time suspends itself into an endless beginning.
I greet spring earlier than just about anyone I know — sometimes in late February — when the sun slowly begins to rise higher above the horizon, emitting a slight trace of warmth. Conversely, I hold onto winter longer than most. I’m not as winter-obsessed, however, as a guy who frequents the Lane Glacier in Hatcher Pass. In a log book at the Lane Hut, located just below the glacier, he reported skiing every month of the year for several years. That’s true dedication.
The first two lines of the Alaska Flag Song: Bold, evocative, an invitation to listen, to explore.
The evening of March 8, a Thursday, was nothing short of a celestial extravaganza. A full moon vied with the aurora borealis to create a spectacular light show across the skies, while Venus and Jupiter played tag as they crouched above the western horizon.
I don’t get into arguments over trail use by outdoor recreationists, because I feel there is room in Alaska for everyone — snowmachiners, cross-country skiers, snowshoers, dog sledders, hikers, mountain bikers, etc.
On the Hawaiian island of Kauai three weeks ago, the rain was coming down in buckets, turning small streams into raging torrents, causing mudslides and flooding that closed roads and schools.
Alaska is such a unique place that it isn’t difficult to compile a list of firsts...