Living in Alaska definitely changes your perspective about mountains (coming from Stockholm, Sweden) and distances to places. It's amazing to have the Alaska Range as your own view every day you come to work. It's not weird to drive 544 miles (875km), through the Alaska Range, to attend a festival during 2 days and then drive back that same distance after the weekend is over.
Nothing is Impossible
People do this all the time. Another thing that I really liked about the community in Fairbanks was that no one would ever question you and your adventure plans. If you said you were going to run or ski a marathon people got excited, no one would ever question your decision to do that. As far as I know, in Alaska nothing is impossible, and anyone can do anything if you put your mind to it. The world is yours to have if you want it so go and take it!
Madison Adventures Anyone?
When I moved to Madison, WI from spectacular Fairbanks, Alaska my expectations were to find absolutely nothing that could fill my longing for the outdoors. Most of Wisconsin is flat as a pancake, ok maybe not that flat but there aren't any mountains and the highest point in Wisconsin is a hill called Timms Hill at a whopping 1951 feet (595m). The highest point in Fairbanks that I easily could get to within 10 minutes would be Ester Dome, at 2171 feet (661m), a great "hill" to run up and down. Now of course in Alaska the highest peak you could possibly climb would be Denali at 20310 feet (6190m).
Deep Forests and Dry Cabins
I do miss the mountains, the deep forest, the log cabin I used to live in...even though it came without running water and the propane stove stopped running if the temperature was around 35-40 below for too long. It's something really real about living in a cabin in the woods. Ok, my cabin was maybe not that far away from the "city" of fairbanks, but still, you could have thought it was. So coming to Madison, WI, and now living in an apartment/house, really changes your perspective of things.
Instead of the forest I now have neighbors and houses surrounding ours. I guess it's ok, but it's definitely not the same. I had to explore Madison and get to know a new perspective of adventures in my new neighborhood.
Moving to Madison has definitely tested my ability to satisfy my need for adventures. What is even an adventure? I don't think the adventure should be about the highest peak you climb or the longest ski you do, I think it should be about your feeling about what you are doing. If it makes you happy and you do something you might not do on a regular basis it can also be an awesome adventure. There aren't any peaks to climb here but there are a lot more urban wildlife for instance, or different plants, tons of small parks tucked into the city. The first weeks I lived here I would go for long walks around the neighborhood, and I would find all these small parks I talked about. I found a park with a lot of old trees and at least five wood peckers in that small park, that consisted of like 10 trees tucked together. We have a lot of insects I have never seen before, many many beautiful butterflies of course and a few months ago i discovered a Possum in the yard.
If you can't go on a big adventure, go on a small adventure, at least that is how I am surviving, at the same time as I am looking forward to future adventures of course. But it's not the end of the world to live in a city after living surrounded by the mountains, there are many many more things to discover in this world. Every weekend we have tried to go on a day hike, most of the places are pretty close (1-2 hrs from Madison) and although they do fill some satisfaction to me, I still want more. But I think the best thing is to learn to be satisfied with less sometimes, otherwise we will never be happy in this world, day and age.
Where do you go for small adventures? Do you like visiting cities or would you rather sit in a tent in the middle of nowhere?