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Archive for the category “alaska”

I Love Winter

Well, would you look at this: Hidden Valley Nature Center has a course that is sure to teach you to love winter. Notice that this course is inĀ Jefferson, ME, a place nearly as hospitable as Anchorage, AK in the winter. No one but no one in Anchorage, or anyplace else in Alaska, would presume that you could be taught to love winter.

Because you can’t. You can put on warm clothes, get a SAD light, take lots of vitamin D and get through winter. It will pass.

Now and then you’ll run into someone who will tell you they love winter but if you look at them sideways, from the corner of your eye, you’ll see they aren’t actually there at all. They are mirages sent through the darkness to make you believe everything is okay.

In a few months it will be.

Walking in the Woods

Chugach State Park - Hemlock Knob

Chugach State Park - Hemlock Knob

Yesterday Angus and I took a jaunt up Hillside and hiked (strolled really) for a couple of hours. There has never been a more beautiful late Summer day. We started out at the Upper O’Malley trail head and walked along Gasline Trail (a maintenance road) to Hemlock Knob. From there I’m not quite sure where we went but we ended up a ways down from the Upper Huffman trail head. I was a little leery about bears but we only saw one pile of evidence that a bear was present. Otherwise the most dangerous creatures we saw were squirrels. They didn’t get terribly aggressive.

Chugach State Park is an amazing asset for Anchorage and we (meaning John and I) don’t take advantage of it at all. The variety of trails, the views, the accessibility are something that any city dweller might dream of. But to me there is another dynamic. I grew up with 22 wooded acres for my backyard. The woods were my sanctuary from a turbulent home life and I would walk for hours, write bad poetry and enjoy the absolute peace that the woods had to offer. I think it would be fair to say that the woods probably saved my life, or at least my sanity.

Yesterday, as we walked through the well-kept footpath of Hemlock Knob I experienced that sense of peace, of being 100% present. Suddenly there was nothing nagging at me. I didn’t feel like I should be doing something else. I wasn’t making a list in my head. I didn’t answer my phone when it rang.

The thoughts that rush (sometimes quite painfully) around my head were momentarily vaporized. There was no worrying about Mother. There was no keeping up with Twitter. There was no last-minute project. There was just me and Angus. Walking.

In Case of Emergency

Although it took six flights and nearly 24-hours, I was grateful nothing interrupted my travel so severely as to bring it to a halt. After the snow in New York, ice at every airport and ultimately the question of whether or not Mt. Redout would erupt before I made it home.

Now I am home and Mt. Redout continues to rumble. I doubt Redout will blow but there’s nothing more comforting than being prepared. Any number of emergencies can happen in Anchorage, AK. Blizzard, earthquake, volcanic ashfall top the list of events for which we should prepare.

My husband and I have talked about emergency preparedness but we failed to take action until now. We’re ready with food and water and flashlights and we have resources to guide us in our survival:

http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/ash/todo.html

http://www.prepare.org

http://www.bt.cdc.gov/preparedness/

There are general guideline and instructions for specific disasters. Included is helpful advice for people with disabilities as well as caring for kids and pets during various crises. The Center for Disease Control has information on preparing for both natural and man-made disaster.

All the information can be overwhelming but take some time to break it down. Set your priority. What is the most likely incident to occur in the area where you live? How are you most vulnerable?

Prepare your household and your family. One item and one step at a time. Stick to it and in a short time, you will be ready for the greatest challenges that may strike.

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