Outdoor Diary: Pausing to Remember the Good Things in a Season

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Winter seems to be just dragging on and on in Alaska, and to pull herself out of a late-winter funk, Amy spent a week reminding herself about the things she actually likes about Alaska by doing some of her favorite winter activities.

Listen to this week’s edition of Amy’s Outdoor Diary to find out what those winter things are and be inspired to make the most of whatever season you’re in.

Some of the good stuff:

[:30] 1000th Winter

[1:00] Amy’s attitude adjustment

[1:45] How Amy got outside this week

[4:38] All of the winter things

[4:58] Pausing over wallowing

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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.

Hello from what is definitely the yuckiest time of year in Alaska – 1,000th winter.

OK, it’s not quite that bad, but it feels like it at the time of this recording. That’s because as I speak we’ve got a real wintery mix falling from the sky. It’s 37 degrees and raining, and I have to say that of all the weather in the world, really cold rain is my least favorite. It gets in your very bones. It makes me want to crawl under my desk.

I am definitely, definitely ready for spring to arrive finally. And that’s why, with a week of off and on snow in the forecast I decided last week that the very best thing I could do was give myself a little outdoor attitude adjustment. After all, I know that the weather will not stay this cold and this snowy or icy for long, just like I know that when things I don’t like happen they will eventually pass. I just need to find the good attitude to acknowledge the things I don’t like, and move through them to the other side.

And so I decided that I would spend the week doing things outside that reminded me of all the things I do actually like about winter weather. There really are so many activities I love in the cold. I just had to go hunting for them a little.

First, as the snow fell on day one, I headed outside into my hot tub. You know what’s magical? Sitting in a hot tub as fresh snow falls on your head. It’s like being in a very warm and happy snowglobe and I love it. I stretched my time into 40 minutes and enjoyed every second of it.

The next day I headed out for a ski. That fresh snow had provided a nice new layer to ski through our woods. It was also warm enough that I got to do my time in a medium jacket and no hat. That’s right, no hat. Big day, you guys.

On day three of this I went back out into the woods again, this time for a walk. I decided to bring snow shoes to deal with the deep and soft snow, and I was glad I did. If we’re being honest I wanted to encounter my favorite winter thing of seeing moose back there, but we didn’t find any. What we did find was sunshine, trees worth noticing and some really interesting mushrooms growing up a tree trunk. It was a reminder to never take for granted the little things around me.

The next day we headed out for a favorite winter activity that we don’t do nearly enough — sledding with friends. We stood in the sun in some chilly breeze for over an hour as the kids enjoyed sledding down a huge hill. I didn’t join the sledding this time because there were huge bumps, and I’m not going to lie to you that I did not need that kind of butt pain in my life. I had fun watching them, though. There’s just something about a good sledding experience for your kids that is so very enjoyable. Also, apparently kids don’t care about butt pain the way I do.

Day five was another hot tub time, this time with my husband, Luke, and my kids. One of my favorite and unexpected benefits of having the hot tub has been all the winter outdoor family time it’s given me, time to just check in with each other and enjoy each other’s company. It’s a lovely benefit.

When I started the week of winter favorites, I knew I had a 5k run planned in the snow for Saturday, and it’s definitely a top favorite thing. I love our community, including our local running company Happy Malamute Running, and all of the incredible people that show-up for these events. And I think one of the lessons of COVID is to not take any of them for granted. Running and running people are some of my favorites. We had a fun few hours at the event, and I won second place among the women. That’s a favorite, too, if we’re being honest.

The final day of my week of winter favorites was less ideal. I had been looking forward to an outdoor Easter service in the mountains for months, but it was relocated to a different area thanks to avalanche danger, but then ultimately moved inside at the last minute. We didn’t catch that event details changed until we’d already arrived for the service, only to find an empty parking lot. It was pretty disappointing, but we redeemed the time – no Easter pun intended – with a family walk on the frozen lake.

Even though I spent 7 days doing 7 distinct winter favorites, I realized at the end that there were many, many more winter things I love and did not have time for in seven days. There’s nothing quite like hitting a mountain peak in the winter, downhill skiing, checking out the northern lights in the middle of the night, or a winter bonfire.

I really, truly am glad that spring is coming, because I am ready for a new season with new activities and lots and lots of not quite this cold weather. But the week of winter favorites was a good reminder that all seasons have their strong points, we just have to pause to remember them.

I hope that whatever season you’re in right now — whether that be the nature season or a season of life – you take the time to pause and remember what you like about it, especially when all you want to do is wallow in the bad things.

Until next time, we’ll see you out there.

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