Posts filed under Cabin Life

Winter Travels and the White Mountains part. 3

GOPR8947-3.jpg

Flashback Friday

Winter travels

    Last time I wrote about our winter travels in the White Mountains I left you with the story of our time at the first cabin, and the fact that it slowly started to snow, something that turned into a windy snowstorm during that night. If you want to read more about the beginning of this trip you can click on the below pictures.

Cold Snowy Wintermorning

As we awoke the next morning a thick blanket of snow was covering the cabin and all the forest surrounding us. We could not see the tracks we had made the night before. The wind had ben howling all night, to the point where I was wondering if the cabin would blow away or not. We made sure the day before to haul in enough wood for the next people to start a fire, and more wood for us to keep the cabin warm during the night. During the night we had taken turns tending the woodstove, but the fire was almost out once we woke up. It had been hard to keep the fire burning, and we burned through all the wood, and then some. The cold didn't bother us too much since we still needed to prepare for our next trip, the trip to Elezar's cabin. W had already waxed the skis the night before, and we started the fire again, and brought in some more firewood. Water is never an issue on these winter trips, since you have all the snow in the world surrounding you. You do need a small amount of water to start melting the snow though, otherwise it will burn and evaporate immediately. 

Leaving Lee's Cabin

    After a semi slow morning, packing and cleaning the cabin we were finally on the road again. There was a thick new layer of snow, and we kept breaking trail, which gets very hard after a while. Once we got to the turnout to go towards Elezar's cabin we started to doubt where we were going. It's not as easy to follow a trail if there isn't any trail. But a quick look at the map told us to go along the forest patch. So we did. We finally saw a man and his dog come up towards us on the trail, pushing his fatbike. He said he was suppose to meet his friend last night, but he had never showed. That made me worried. During the rest of our trip towards the second cabin we never saw this other guy, hopefully he made it to a trailshelter and was just resting up before continuing. 

Breaking Trail

    It was Sunday and no other person could be seen, well except the fatbike guy and his dog, that we had met earlier. We were breaking trail almost the whole way to Elezars cabin. There is a race that goes through the White Mountains, called the "White Mountains 100". That is a 100 mile race that you can do on foot, skis, or fatbike. It's very fun to follow, because each year is different. Some years the trail is more beneficial to skate skiers, whereas other years the fatbikers are the winners, and so on. All this BLM land allows for this enormous area, an area to roam free, to ski, skijour, dogmush or snowshoe if you are in to that. You can book these cabins to, for very cheap. They don't have any electricity or running water of course, but you don't really need that anyway. After about halfway towards the Elezar's cabin a couple of snowmachiners came through and broke trail for us. The first time ever I really appreciated the sound of a snowmachine. 

GOPR8888.jpg

Slushy Snow

    Some of the areas we ski over are semi submerged in water, because there are creeks that you can't necessarily see with all that snow. Scraping off that wet slush from your skis is a must, before it turns to ice and make it even harder to ski. But can we talk about the weather? After a pretty grey morning the sun started to peak through the clouds, and now we could actually see blue sky! Maybe we could even see some aurora in the evening....wishful thinking I'd say. 

Towards Elezar's Cabin

    And then finally we came to the turnout towards Elezar's cabin. There, up the hill is where it lays. We were again left with breaking trail towards the cabin, and this time we also knew that this meant the cabin would be cold. I admit, I was a bit tired. It's hard to ski far, and also hard to break trail. It's about seven miles between Lee's cabin and Elezar's cabin, so not that far after all. 

Sunset

    We arrived pretty early in the afternoon and got a glimpse of a beautiful sunset later on. After we got the fire going and some hot drinks we got the cribbage board out and started playing. It's a pretty nice feeling to be on your own, out in a cabin far from everyone else, a place with no cell service or electricity. I went out several times during the sunset to try to take some pictures of the beautiful light. 

Endless Mountains

    There is something about that calm, that calm you only get away from eveyrone else. I miss it. That absolute silence, no loud noises, no cars driving by your window. Absolute solitude, well, apart from being with your partner of course. It makes me feel more alive, to be able to be out there, in the wilderness. Disconnected from everyone. I miss it.

Nighttime

    As the darkness fell over the cabin on top of this hill I had high hopes, high hope of some northern lights. The night was a bit cloudy, and I left my GoPro out in case that aurora decided to stop by. It didn't. Still the moon casted a bright light over the cabin that night. A reminder that even in the darkest time there is always a light out there for us.

The Wall

    The final morning we woke up early. We had a long stretch back, well about 12 miles or so. Both of us were also a bit nervous. Nervous that the car wouldn't start, and we aimed to be back before the dark was setting, just in case we needed to get some help from any passing car on the highway. I managed to snap a few pictures before we started our journey. The final stretch of trail also includes what some people refer to as the Wall, its a 1 mile hill, including a climb of about 600 feet. It's a struggle. However, we were semi lucky since we got all that snow the other day. The way towards Elezar's cabin had been smooth traveling down the Wall. I can not imagine going down that hill in a luge like track, which I know is often created in these areas. 

    We finally arrived back at the car, and the final stretch we were passed by some other snowmachiners. W skied fast back towards the car, because if the car did not start, at least there were some other people there to get a jump from. But, we were lucky, my car started on the first go and we were happy, happy but tired. When were you last out on a winter adventure?

That Cabin in the Woods

September 13th 2015

Flashback Friday

    It has now been more than a year since I left Alaska and that cabin in the woods. Wisconsin has grown on me but it ain't Alaska. This will be my second fall away from that home. A second fall away from that boreal forest of mine, with blueberries, cloudberries, lingonberries, fireweed, birch and black spruce. There is nothing like a boreal forest in fall colors. It strikes me quite often how much I miss that place, too much for my own good. There is no benefit to constantly think about the past and miss things, we will probably live a pretty miserable life if we do. But then again, we might anyway if we can't live where our hearts do.  There is nothing like fall in the boreal forest!

To the Lover of Wilderness, Alaska is one of the most Wonderful Countries in the World  
- John Muir

In The Rearview Mirror pt.1

 

Flashback Friday

First Quarter of 2016

    2016 went by so fast, but oh so slow. It is hard to find the balance between work, free time and also research time, at least for me. This year we decided that I should move from Alaska to Wisconsin, which meant I had a ton of things I needed to finish, ASAP. But I did and I moved. The first half of this year I spent in Alaska, the second half in Wisconsin, well, I guess technically 5 vs 7 months, but who counts?

January

    I went back from christmas celebration in Bozeman already in December and celebrated the new year with Tycho in my little cabin in the woods. On new years day Tycho got sick, and I still don't know what happened but he's alright now! January had lots of Aurora of course, as always. I skied some and also tried out fatbiking for the very first time. Other than skiing, biking and hanging out in the cabin by the wood stove I of course worked on my own research to wrap things up.

 
 

February

    More winterbiking, more aurora and more of hanging out at the cabin. Winters in Alaska can be rough but they are absolutely stunningly beautiful, and cold. I also went and saw the start of the Yukon Quest again, had more fika, and even a beer or two!

 
 

March

    Finally March arrived and our Green Card Interview! W came to Alaska and we went down to Anchorage for the interview, with a pitstop in Talkeetna for a skirace and also to Homer for a short weekend adventure. These interviews are somewhat ridiculous but absolutely serious. Like when the guard to get into the building asks W if he has a hand-grenade or anything alike on him. Situations like that just makes me want to make a joke and say "ooh gee, I do have one in my back pocket", since you aren't allowed to bring any bags or almost anything into the meeting. On the way back we got a text saying that they started the production of the card! 

 

Why you should look for Adventures in your "Backyard"

 

Adventure Tuesday

Mountains?

    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.

 
 

Citylife?

    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.

 
 

Adventuring

    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?