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Back to the Grind Doesn’t Have to Mean Back Inside

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If you’re like us, you’re facing a harsh reality in the coming weeks. Summer vacations are behind you, school supplies have been purchased and it’s back to the grind. You can’t quite smell all things pumpkin spice in the air, but you know it’s coming. Summer — and that fine, warm outdoor life — is almost over.

We’re pretty sad about that. In Alaska the end of summer means the beginning of winter. None of this long Autumn stuff.

OK, sure, there’s a few weeks of Fall tossed in there. But as the yellow starts to creep onto some of the trees, you know that winter isn’t far off. Soon the “termination dust,” a sifting of snow high atop nearby mountains, will fall. Temperatures outside will drop. The wind will sweep through. And that’ll be that for the summer.

Back to the Grind Doesn't Have to Mean Back Inside
Termination dust on the nearby Talkeetna Mountains on Hatcher Pass.

We’ve made a strong, purposeful effort to get outside every single day this summer, regardless of the weather. (That’s basically the opposite of what we did last year, I fully admit). But we know our outside time doesn’t have to stop with the end of summer – and neither does yours.

It’s all about making getting outside a daily priority despite the back-to school-season. Here’s how.

Make the time. I am strong believer in the power of priorities. We have time for the things we actually want to do. If getting outside is a priority for you, I promise you can make it happen.

Decide what you’re doing ahead of time. It’s harder to put something off when you’ve made a plan for it. If getting outside is important to you — and it should be — plan for it. Build outdoor time into your routine from the start. For example, we plan to attend a weekly local pub run no matter the weather, already have a ski trip on the calendar for December and plan to camp a weekend in September while visiting Denali National Park. I’ve also got a running list out nearby outdoor hikes and activities to pick and choose from. That way if we’re ever just hanging out we can instead be, well, hanging outside.

Prepare for success. It’s easy to make excuses to stay inside as the weather gets colder. Eliminate those by making sure you own the right outdoor equipment. For example, in Alaska it’s all about layers, but you also need snow gear and a good pair of mittens to make things pleasant. We keep all of this stuff near the door in a bin so we don’t have to hunt for it when it’s time go outside.

Get ready to try something new. Summer sports are easy — or, at least, easier. But what about winter fun? For us, at least, that’s still a little outside our comfort zones. This school year we’re poised to try new things. Fat tire biking? Snowshoe running? Winter camping? Bring it on. We guarantee there’s a new sport or outdoor activity you haven’t tried yet. Get after it.

Be OK with going off script. For us Fall and the start of school means one thing: routine. We are creatures of habit, and we love that the same thing will happen at the same time every school day.

This year, however, we’re making a commitment to being OK with going off script. That means that we’re going take the kids out of school sometimes if the outdoor time is right. It means we’ll sprinkle those work vacation days throughout the year instead of letting them expire on December 31.

Ready to build outdoor time into your routine? Ready, set, go.

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