Posts filed under Madison Life

A Very Dark Fall?



    This fall has been very very different for me. This year I moved from the woods in Alaska to Madison, Wisconsin. It took a while for me to find a job, but I did, I found a job after a few months which was probably the best thing that happened to me this year, well except receiving the green card this spring. Then fall happened, I got hit by a car while biking, I survived obviously, but my bike got a pretty bad hit and I am still waiting to get the bike back form the bike shop. Then Trump won, which was such a sad evening, W got so upset and sad that he cried and wondered what we were going to do. And then, mom died. 



    When I am sad I always listen to this Swedish singer songwriter, Lars Winnerbäck. He puts words on your feelings, when you can't. I have been listening to music a lot these past days, wanting to find some music for moms funeral. It still feels so unreal, I think the problem here is that I am here in the US, and I haven't had mom living right next to me, right here, the past 7 years, so I feel a bit detached to the whole situation. I haven't seen my mom in real life since September 2014, which is very very sad under these circumstances. I am just so happy I got a chance to show her my Alaska not only once, but twice!


Sweden and Alaska   

    If I had all the money and time in the world I would have gone home to Sweden several times a year, but back when I lived in Alaska it was so hard to find cheap tickets to go that far, and with W's family being in MT it was easy to get there instead. It was impossible to go home in the summertime, because of my fieldwork and research. This summer I was alone for more than a month while W was doing research in Yellowstone, I talked to mom almost every day, and now I wish I had gone home to Sweden, but I didn't have the money to do that. And now, we thought about going to Sweden for Christmas, not that it would have helped anyway, but still. 



    The winter has not arrived in Madison, WI yet, we had about 70 degrees F (21C) the other day, today however it's right around freezing. Maybe we will get some snow soon. Fairbanks already has cold temperatures and snow of course, so does Sweden to a certain extent, well, at least they had snow, because my mom was so excited about the snow that she sent me pics. I guess we will see how much snow Sweden has in less than 2 weeks. 


Real Winter

    I really miss snow, aurora, and skiing right now, but I am very very happy I was not alone in my dry cabin when I got the news about my mom. I do hope we will receive some snow here pretty soon though, I love wearing warm sweaters, dresses and tights during cold weather. There is a reason why most of my clothes consist of synthetic down and fleece material or merino or SmartWool. 


    Do you like wintertime? Or do you just like every single season the same?


Why you should look for Adventures in your "Backyard"


Adventure Tuesday


    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? 


Camping at Perrot State Park


Adventure Tuesday


    We decided to go camping and to do some exploration in an area close to the Minnesota state line. We ended up going to Perrot State Park because the camping at the other state park in Minnesota (which we originally wanted to go to) was already completely full (Great River Bluffs State Park). We really wanted to get a campsite next to the water, but those were first come first serve so we decided to reserve a different one instead. Here in Wisconsin, and probably other states you have to reserve your campsite through Reserve America, which add on an extra cost of a delightful 9.65$ on top of the already ridiculous cost of 18$. Either way, we did have a nice time, but I do wish these places were more accessible and cheaper..


    And I think we were pretty lucky, because the mosquitos were kind of bad and probably would have been worse if we stayed closer to the standing water. 


    We hadn't been camping since the big roadtrip and had to figure out where we had put everything. The more you car camp the more things you figure out how to organize, and we have even more ideas now on how to further organize our stuff before next camping trip.


    I really like camping, in any way. It's a nice way of getting out from the city and just relax. In the US it's really common to go camping during the weekends. A lot of people have RV's of course, but a large amount still uses tents. In the evenings people start fires at their respectively campsite, a bundle of firewood is between 4-5 dollars. After dinner we were relaxing in front of the fire and ate smore's. I came up with the amazing idea of adding banana slices to the mix. If you haven't already you have to try it! it's AMAZING!


    What do you like best, car camping or backpacking and camping?