How I Found my Frontier, an Ode to Alaska

Hello there! I am writing to you from 37,000 feet, watching Alaska, my home, recede below.   Glaciers, mountains, and water just tinged with the pinks of this early morning sunrise spread in unending waves to the horizon.  Watching, I fall in love with this land all over again.  Whenever I leave the state I get nostalgic for it.  I am moved to try to convey my love for this wild place which grew out of my lessons from the land.  Alaska teaches me who I am and what I can do.

The wild calls us to ourselves 

These times are asking us to rise and stand in our best selves

We all live together on a magnificent planet.  I know earth’s power and I want you to know this for yourself and to celebrate it with me as I head to yet another beautiful part of earth– the central coast of California.  Our beach house in California has become a gathering spot for family and friends and one more place to learn from.  I know there is immense beauty and unique treasures in the place that you are right now.  I know this.  You can do many of the same things in other parts of the world that we do in Alaska.  It is only that Alaska is where I found my own frontier.  And Alaska is all of ours, it is not a disconnected place from you.  The name and the borders are a manmade fiction we have created for ourselves.  All of the land is all of ours.  I know the more wild we surround ourselves with, the more we can come into our authentic selves.  This is important, especially right now.  These times are asking us to rise and stand in our best selves.  Here, in photos I will show some of the things that connect me to the great peace I feel in the wilderness and I hope to move you to experience a bit more wild for yourself.

Sultana with her morning shroud out my front door

I read a book when I was 12 years old and it inspired my life.  First I heard of Alaska, was in this book so named by one of my heroes, the great naturalist, John Muir.   It is a slender volume outlining his adventures here is 1915.  I read it and I knew that I would come.

“When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty. “
Travels in Alaska by John Muir

Denali Wilderness

I was born in California, I traveled and played upon this earth for 24 years, marveling.  In 1990 the Tongass National Forest offered me an Archaeologist position in southeast Alaska.  The job came with a series of warnings; the rain was measured in feet here not inches, this was not an easy place, I would be out in the wild for weeks at a time, and not a lot of women worked here.  It was like they didn’t want me to take the job.  Then, they let me know I would be given floatplanes and helicopters and boats to travel the land looking for prehistoric sites!  Oh yeah baby, I was so in!

I am not going to tell all my 27 years of adventures here, I could palaver on and on.  But here is how the grandeur of the land seeped into me and has helped me truly find myself, know myself and feel connected to our earth and at peace with it.

I fly over the Susitna River Valley to get to my Homestead and it is always glorious

 

 

Mountains, Glaciers, Lakes, Rivers, Oceans

Yeah, you already know this part of Alaska, even if you have not yet been here, you have seen the pictures and the reality shows.  But, it is way more than you can imagine.  I love knowing that I can step off that thin 2-lane highway running through the middle of the state, and walk for hundreds of miles in most any direction before running into a town or a homestead.

 

Matanuska Glacier creating new land daily

Animals

There are more of them than there are humans.  We are all just beings here, living together.  We are not other, we are a part of it all.

 

 

Moose calf off the back deck

 

 

I swim here in the summer months with my Common Loon friend

 

I am just as wild as bear.  Because nature is bigger here than humans and our buildings, we are forced to listen more, notice more, and learn from her.  I find joy in communicating with animals.  In school, I was only mildly interested in learning French or Spanish, I have always been more keen to learn the language of other species.

We love our Brown Bears, their magnificence is felt everywhere

Weather

Dramatic, always changing.  Summer’s midnight sun sings your blood alive all night long and winters’ dark lulls you to deep dreamtime under dancing aurora magic.

Record breaking 90 degrees on August 1. Too Hot.

 

85 degrees July 1. Luzy learns to paddle board and swim.

 

 

 

A warm 20 degrees March 5. Into the storm. Blizzard ahead, and temps will drop to -50 in the next 4 days.

-50 on the Yukon River is not a good day to ski!

 

 

 

 

Freedom

This applies to doing what you want as well as dressing as you like.  I like to dress as the mood strikes me which can mean wearing my cute suede booties with fringe out to dinner that are wholly inadequate for 10 below zero and icy walkways.  Or, I don jeans and homely snow boots which are very functional and cozy to a fancy downtown restaurant the next night.  Oh, and I feel sexy in my overalls too.  Alaska’s dress code suits me, wear what you like when you like.  You learn quickly that people are much more than their clothing.

Freedom is Being YOU in a magnificent landscape doing what you like.

Stand Up Paddle boarding Resurrection Bay on May 12th.

You can venture out on your paddle board suspended between otherworldly realms.  Hovering over a thousand feet of mysterious sea life which bubbles and rocks you while peaks rise around you thousands of feet into the air exhaling their glacial breath down onto you.  I love being dwarfed and insignificant yet feeling POWERFUL.

 

Heading straight for Rainy Pass and over the Alaska Range, yahoooo

 

Whatever it is that calls to you, do it.  The earth asks this of us.  Nature extends her hand beckoning us to venture, to experience, and find our best selves.  You may want to skijor with a good friend over the Alaska Range, running with glorious huskies to see what you can see.  Laura Wright and I were stopped by a ground blizzard for 2 days and were still smiling when we tumbled down the Happy Steps of the mountain pass, laughing all the way to the bottom.  Yeah, that.

Homesteading

Building with your own two hands.  Flying into a remote wilderness, choosing a house site, falling trees and figuring out how to repair the chainsaw while battling mosquitos.  Since the age of 12, I dreamed of building my home in the wild from the trees I cut.  Many Alaskans still build their own homes.

Building a foundation in the wilderness entails fixing broken chainsaws in a cloud of mosquitos

 

All the work and adventure pays off with a cozy shelter from which to embark on more adventures.

 

Alaska and other quiet places give us opportunities to see bigger ways of being.  We can test ourselves.  It attracts independent souls and beautiful characters who build special communities of caring.  We can hear the legends whispering from the bogs, the wood, the aurora…

The one thing I know is that nature wants to help us.

Spend time in nature and you can come to know yourself and love yourself.

I can also sit quietly upon the land and smell the wild roses and watch and breathe and be, in order to find my own frontiers.

The Plants grow in summer so fast you can see their leaves extend each day

 

An invitation

I found myself here.  My frontier, my edges, my soul, my true self.  I believe wild nature helps all of us – the wild calls us to ourselves, no time for BS or avoidance, here you are this is you.  And nature wants you to succeed.  I love to show people this Alaska and let them have the opportunity to find their frontier and harness that power that is within them to create great things in their lives.  My FIND YOUR FRONTIER Retreats are in February (with dog mushing!) and in July (Adventure under the midnight sun).  If this calls to you, I hope you will join me and click here! 

I have 2 spots still available for Feb 26-March 3, 2017.

 

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