Outdoor Diary: Worth the Risk

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Listen to this installment of Amy’s outdoor diary to hear about how she got outside last week. Hint: it involves snowshoes and a pretty darn remote cabin.

Some of the good stuff:

[:54] Amy does not like trying new things
[1:45] Fighting to do new things
[2:45] About snowshoeing into a public use cabin in the winter
[4:05] What we learned by trying something new
[4:50] Outdoor hero: Alaska state parks

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Mentioned in the show:

Alaska State Parks

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Here’s an edited transcript of this entry of Amy’s Outdoor Diary. Listen to the episode on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

It’s all about attitude. 

In theory, I like trying new things. In my mind’s eye I am adventurous, setting out to do something never before attempted with only the exact amount of care and planning warranted. Nervous? No! Not me. I am relaxed. I am ready to go. I am definitely not overplanning or fretting about forgetting stuff or getting wrapped around the unknowns or thinking maybe let’s just not go. 

OK so I am.

I am a creature of habit. I eat basically the same thing every day. I’d rather buy four pairs of the same shoes and use them over time than risk my favorite style being discontinued or no longer available. I like to go on vacation, not to just to the same location, but stay in the exact same spot. I go to bed at the same time daily. I like to re-run the same routes, watch the same TV shows, re-read the same books… you get the picture.
For someone who really likes habits as much as I do, I think I’ve actually done pretty well. Who has two thumbs and was brave enough to leave everything and move to the most wild place in the country, on purpose, where she had never even been before, gambling on it being a safe bet ? That’s right, it was me. 

But I have to fight for it. Every day I have to fight to want to do something new. 

Doing things outside in the winter is still pretty new for me. I grew up on a beach in California. When the weather is bad, you stay home. And by bad I mean “cold.” So up here in Alaska, I have to make a really big effort to head outside when it’s not exactly comfortable. 

And then there’s wanting to camp or sleep anywhere but my nice, warm predictable bed. I’ve gotten over it for the summer. But for the winter? That’s still harder. 

Last month we had our first-ever adventure at a public cabin. You’ll remember that it was a comedy of errors with broken stoves, and if you want to hear about it you can go listen to Episode 19 from March 30th. We had a good enough time that I booked another cabin in an even more adventurous place, where we had to hike into. I had never been to it, never hiked in like this and it was definitely beyond my level of comfort, experience, or control.

But I was determined to do it anyway. 

We headed out on Friday evening, way too much stuff packed, ready to carry in in backpacks and on sleds. We had snowshoes because we had heard the snow was deep and soft, and we had plenty of wood because the other things about these cabins is that they are wood heated, and it’s cold outside still, about 40 during the day and low 20s at night. 

We went to the parking area, unloaded and started to head out. I felt like we looked like absolute idiots, hauling all sorts of stuff we didn’t really need in on two sleds for which we had forgotten the hip straps — so all we had to pull them was a cord as we sweated forward on snowshoes for me and skis for Luke. The only saving grace to any of this was encountering two different groups of people who had not read the same warnings I had about the need for snowshoes and who were suffering forward towards even further away cabins while post holing past their knees every other step. 

After a lot of sweating we made it to the cabin. It was a gorgeous location, a rustic but cozy little place and just the break from reality we needed, just like it always is. We spent the evening and Saturday reading, sitting in the sun, walking on the still frozen lake, hiking out for view of Denali and playing cards. It was awesome. 

We learned some important lessons about hiking into a cabin — how you can take more than you would backpacking thanks to the sleds, but how maybe you should think about it more like backpacking than anything else so you don’t bring way too much stuff. I learned – AGAIN – that really it is going to all work out at the end and I should stop worrying about it. Because the reward for trying new things – the beauty we saw, the peace we experienced, the solitude we soaked in – is still worth the risk. It’s all about attitude.

The snow is all gone here where we live, though there was more than enough where we were staying. At the risk of tempting a very late season snowfall, we’re washing the mittens and putting away the winter boots and sub-zero jackets until next year. Spring is about to happen here, and I’m so excited to see it coming. 

This week’s Outdoor Hero is the Alaska State Parks system, which provides those incredible public use cabins for us and pit toilets that are so not the worst ones I’ve ever seen. Alaska’s state parks are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, too. Thanks for being awesome, state parks. 

I know you’ve had some adventures recently despite all this craziness in the world, and we want to see them. Share your daily outdoor time on Instagram with #humansoutside365. We’d also love to share your adventures with our listeners — and if we do, you’ll win a free decal. Interested? Send us your photo by email to [email protected]

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

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