Posts filed under Cabin Life

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? 


Winter travels and the White Mountains part. 2


Flashback Friday

Winter Travels and Cabins

    Last year in late November W came to visit in Alaska and we went on a 3 day skitrip through the White Mountains. The White Mountains is about 1-2 hr drive from Fairbanks, and of course there was a snowstorm the morning of day one, of our adventure, but we still drove towards the White Mountains. I wrote a little text about part one here. We only did a small part of all the trails that are available. There is at least 100 miles of fairly untouched wilderness out there with cabins along the way. 


  Into the Wild ? 

    When you go into the backcountry in Alaska, well I would argue anywhere I suppose, you have to be prepared for anything. A big difference though between Alaska and most other places is that there is no cell reception (most of the time) when you go out into the backcountry, or very spotty. Even driving on the highway you can loose reception for big chunks of the time. There are a few trail shelters in the White Mountains that are first come first serve, but as the name implies it is only a trail shelter. The cabins have to be reserved online ahead of time, and they are all dry cabins of course. So getting water mean that you have to melt snow.


Cold Car    

    Our biggest concern during this trip was that my Subi wouldn't start when we got back to the car after two nights out, after all we had pretty cold weather during the night (around -5 F, -20C, or so could have been lower) and there was of course no plug in at the trailhead.  



    We managed to get the cabin closest to the trailhead rented for the first night. It's a short ski (7 miles, about 11 km), and when we arrived the cabin was still warm from the previous visitors. These cabins are more like a shell, not too much insulation but a working wood stove and a place to sleep. You have to make sure that there is enough dry firewood when you leave so the next person can quickly start a fire when they arrive. Most of the time there are a lot of wood in the wood shed, but other times you have to get out and find some dead trees, saw some wood up and bring back to the cabin where you can split the wood. Most trees are black spruce so they are very thin and don't really supply that much mass, but they burn well. And you can't just go and chop down any tree, you have to find a tree that has fallen over and is dead. 



    A lot of times when snowmachiners are out they will have a chainsaw and prepare lots of wood, or even leave wood that they bring in from outside. It's incredible how much wood you sometimes go through if the night is cold and the cabin isn't that well insulated. 



    Actually, you can fit quite a lot of people in these cabins too so a lot of people tend to do large trips with a bunch of friends. A lot of people also celebrate thanksgiving out at these cabins, but mostly they have at least one person who has a snowmachine, or they have dogs so they can skijour or pull sleds. 


Guest Log  

    Once at the cabin there are guest logs, which is awesome. It's great to read about other peoples adventures and what they saw and how the conditions were. We, of course, also left a little blurb there. 



    During the evening a snowstorm came in and it was very very windy. The next day we woke up to cloudy conditions and about 17 inches (45 cm) of fresh snow in some places...made for an interesting ski to the next cabin since not that many people are out there on a Sunday...more about that next time I write about the winter travels in the White Mountains. 


    Do you have any winter adventures to cabins like this one to share? What do you do for fun during the wintertime?


In a Different World


Flashback Friday

Temperatures Dropping

    Last year around this time I lived in Fairbanks and the temperatures were way below freezing. We had already received the seasons first snowfall of course, and the sunsets and sunrises colored the sky beautiful every day. During the night, aurora colored the sky.


    Halloween was around the corner, just like now, and I made an awesome pumpkin carving, a moose of course.


    I do miss Alaska and its awesomeness!


    Do you have a place you miss?