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Here’s an edited transcript of this installment of Amy’s Outdoor Diary. Listen to the episode on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.
If anyone ever claims that heading out for some exercise in the sun or exploring somewhere cool – in my case, literally – isn’t a wonderful attitude adjustment, they’re lying.
You know those moments where everything seems much more challenging than it really should be? People who claim to be pulling for you are actually pulling against you. The weather is doing exactly the opposite of what you really wish it would do. Everything just feels hard – so much harder than it should be – and it’s ridiculous.
That was my week and then some. I’ve felt like I’m pushing the rocks of life up a big hill. I’m not burned out, so much as just singed a little. And you know me. I hunt for the joy and find the good things in challenges. But whoa.
I knew, however, that if I just hung in there I would make it to a point where I could find enough of the good stuff to fuel me through whatever is going to happen next, and you know I did.
The first sign came in the form of some pussy willow buds, which the internet informs me are called catkins. It also tells me that these happen in early spring. That’s great news for me, since it’s mid-April and it was -5 degrees a few mornings last week. And if you think about it, that’s also kind of remarkable. -5 and the pussy willow catkins are still out there growing and doing their thing.
Next came one of my favorite things of the year, the annual Krrbrr run. What, you ask, is a Krrbrr. The Knik River Break-Up Ramble Run, aka the Krrbrr, is an annual loop run here designed specifically to be really hard and not that fun. Have you ever noticed that things are supposed to be hard and not that fun often create their own mystique and become, well, totally fun? That’s the Krrbrr. It’s held this time of year in an area primarily used by four wheelers with the idea that the trail could be 100 percent terrible, deep in dirty ice melt or rotten snow. Every six miles you get back to the parking lot where you get to decide if you’ve had enough of that garbage, or if you would prefer to go out and do it again.
But the other thing to know about this event is that it has both spectacular views — a stunning mountainscape that you have to see to believe — some of the best people in the world and raises money for our local youth center. All of those things are great.
And so I got to do my longest run since before my surgery with my favorite people, looking at the best views and having a spectacular time. So, it was really cold – around 10 degrees when we started. So, the trail was awful. But isn’t that the point?
I’m confident there’s some kind of lesson here about doing hard things and the reward there and the people you meet and how it is all cheering and empowering. And I’m confident about that because I know I’ve recorded multiple episodes of Humans Outside with experts talking about that very thing. It’s always great to experience it first hand.
And then, finally, was our trip to the Matanuska Glacier. After doing some reporting work on an ongoing access controversy – and by ongoing I mean decades – I wanted to drive the 90ish minutes to do some first-hand experiencing. It wasn’t to be my first time to the glacier, but it was my first time in the winter.
So I packed up the kids, bundled up against the winter wind and off we went to meet-up with an experienced guide to tromp around the Matanuska Glacier for an hour or two.
File the drive and the cost of that under: worth it. Our guide Michelle took my boys and I all over the terminus area of the glacier, winding up and over to an ice cave and over the moraine. It was stunning, other worldly and a fabulous way to spend a few hours on a Sunday. It was a reminder that no matter the temperature or the lingering winter, we make our own fun here and it’s all a matter of perspective. Sometimes you just have to step a little bit outside your normal day-to-day world to find it.
Meanwhile, April is one of my favorite months in the outdoor world because it includes National Park Week. National Park Week runs April 17 to 25, and we’re celebrating by bringing you not just one episode about National Parks, but three, hearing from four different incredible people who love and explore parks in each in their own way. And to make it more fun, we’re hosting two different giveaways in celebration of the week. Keep your eyes out for the first of those going live April 15.
I hope no matter what you’re doing or feeling today, you’re taking the time to get outside and enjoy the gifts of perspective nature brings. Until next time, we’ll see you out there.