How Alaskan's Survive Winter

It’s February. The temperature outside reads 16 degrees F and feels like 2 degrees F. Today is warmer than it has been. What do you do with a sunny day that raises the spirits? You go out and have an adventure. The winter sun combined with the cold is magical and transforms the landscape into a peaceful winter wonderland. I have come to appreciate the peace and calm of winter.

Most of Alaska is tundra, rain forest or bog. There are so many places unreachable in warmer months. In winter, for the most part, the extent of your ambition and power are your limitations for where you can explore. Rivers, tundra, bogs all freeze making what is impassible 70% of the year possible now as one is no longer restricted by trails and roads which, by August are overgrown.

There are a few favorite fat tire bike rides that locals do every winter when the conditions are right. Fat tire biking to Kink Glacier is one of them. This is not for the faint of heart nor the ill prepared. This ride requires patience, perseverance and the proper equipment as a round trip ride can easily total forty miles.  If you go at the right time and know the right trails, you can make it there and back in just over 20 miles. For the most part the bike ride is leisurely and flat as you bike up a frozen river to the face of Kink Glacier. Knik Glacier itself measures 5 miles wide and 25 miles long which provides endless exploring and amazing photography opportunists once you reach it.

I enjoy the power of my own two legs, the steady and methodical peddling along flat terrain. My saddle bags are full of snacks, extra layers and a stove for a warm drink once I reach the glacier. This is a journey, one to be savored. I set in at a pace that keeps me warm and comfortable but not one that breaks a sweat. Stopping when I want to take pictures and capture moments that, once the ice is melted, I will not see again.

This is what winter in Alaska is all about, this is how we survive. Waking up before the break of dawn, in January and February is not hard to do, drink coffee and eat a hearty breakfast before heading out for the day. I get excited about the adventure and opportunity of the mountains and landscape in which I live. Granted, I also have the gear to be able to go out in 2 degrees and stay warm. I have learned a few lessons, some the hard way, one of them is that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear. I live in Alaska because I love to play, I love to go on adventures and I love to be outside. Therefore, there is no off season.