Hints of Spring

Hints of Spring

I’ve written several blogs recently about the joy and special gifts that the winter season brings. I love to hike and snowshoe in the fresh snow and I always marvel at nature no matter what time of year.

Having said that I gotta admit that like most of you I’m pretty much done with this particular winter. It seems as though it’s been with us since Thanksgiving with little or no break and regular snowfalls that continued to build up around us. It’s also been a colder than normal winter, which after a while simply wears us out.

Two weeks ago I headed down to Ft. Myers Florida for my spring break. I’m fortunate enough to have a friend there that lets me use his house and car. What a delight it was to be able to shed the fleece and base layers and rediscover shorts, t-shirts and sandals. Sometimes I forget how nice it is to simply not have to put on so many clothes just to go outside.

I didn’t do a thing for 10 days other then go to the beach, read books, eat, sleep and rejuvenate. My hope was that the February thaw would begin while I was there and I would come home to melting snow, sunshine and warmer temps.

HA!!! I got off the plane on Sunday the 2nd to a fresh 6” snowfall and temps well below freezing. I had to plow snow, dig out my car and warm up the seats to get back to my house…. welcome back!

CC.Waterfall copy

However, in the past week or so despite winter’s attempt to hang on we’ve enjoyed several warm and sunny days. The snow continues to melt away as the sun gets higher in the sky and gathers seasonal strength. I can actually see grass and mud where snow has lain for weeks….what a pretty site!!

The passing of the seasons is a remarkable phenomenon and they are all special in their own way. I find the first hints of spring, the longer days the strengthening sun, the rains that will come to cleanse the earth of winters debris to be very special. It is a time of reawakening and renewal as we come out of hibernation and reconnect with spirit.

Spring seems to always holds a promise….of warmer days, lots of fun, activity and the opportunity to travel new paths of our lives. This year in particular I embrace the first hints of spring and look forward to the glorious rebirth in nature that is sure to follow.

Be well and enjoy

“The seasons pass but they never change”-Julie Miller

Hi All,
I wanted to share a recent article about us as published in our local paper. I thought it did justice to our message and our passion for attracting more people to join us for the adventure of a lifetime. Comments and feedback are invited.

Click here to see article.


You can access article by clicking on photo as well

Winter’s Gifts

Winter’s Gifts

Winter’s gifts? No I haven’t lost what’s left of my mind. Sometimes it’s difficult at this time of year to feel good about the winter season. The beauty of the first snowfall, the excitement that comes with the holiday season is gone and we are left with the reality of several more months of cold, snow and ice.

Our normal reaction is to spend time at home with food, fireplaces, TV, good books, hunkering down and “getting through it” til’ Spring. If we’re fortunate maybe we can take a trip somewhere warm.

Or…. we can begin to view winter in a different way…. an opportunity to get outside and enjoy the gifts that winter provides. I’m an outdoors person so I have been experiencing the beauty of winter for a long time and it’s amazing, inspiring and uplifting.

First and one of the most important things to think about when we start to head outside is how to dress. We’re fortunate today to have great clothing and gear available that allows us to be outside for prolonged periods while staying warm and dry. Once we’ve got a handle on the proper gear, we can head out and experience our winter wonderland.

I love to be out when the snow is falling, as it was last Sunday. I decided to head out to Le Roy Oakes and do some snowshoeing. The snow was falling gently but was enhanced by some strong winds when I was out in the open areas, less pronounced as I headed into the tree line and down towards the creek.

As I moved along the trails I stopped frequently to feel the snow on my face, to hear the wind as it whistled through the pines… truly on of the magical sounds of nature. I was filled with peace as I watched the winds gently blow the soft dry snow from the pines and tree branches…it was like nature was whispering “be still and enjoy my show.”

20140118_163743As I moved along the tree line and down towards the creek, I was met with the beauty of a partially frozen, ice covered stream. In a number of places the flowing water held the ice at bay so the cold, steel colored water was revealed. It’s a perfect scene when viewed from the ridgeline looking down.

As I continued my trek, the snowstorm moved on thru and the skies cleared. Small animals and birds that were in their nests began to emerge as they searched for food. As I crossed the road and headed to the open space by the Western Trail, I spotted a beautiful hawk…it had found it’s dinner and was fully engaged in enjoying it’s meal. Startled by my presence it took to the trees until I moved on. I felt so privileged be present for the miracle of the cycle of life in nature.

As I was winding down my time this day, I was treated to a beautiful winter sunset…. one more reminder of the beauty, peace and magic of winter’s gifts.
These wonderful sights and sounds are there for the taking. They require no special skills, training or expense. We can have them by simply heading outdoors and most importantly slowing down, observing what’s around us and learning to be still.

Enjoy….. and please feel free to share your favorite winter experiences with all of us in the comments field below.

Fall’s Bounty

Fall’s Bounty


I was riding my bike on the Great Western Trail about a couple of weeks ago, one of those sunny, warm beautiful fall days that I love. As I got west of town I was taking in the sites and smells of the crops in the field. The corn stalks turning brown and the soybeans turning red and gold, signs of the harvest about to begin.

As I was drinking in all this I noticed a grain truck parked at the edge of the road and as I looked further I could see a combine making it’s way out of the field. I watched until it came to the side of the truck swung out its boom and the freshly harvested corn flowed for what seemed like forever into the grain hauler. It was amazing.

Ever since I can remember the sights, sounds and smells of the fall harvest whether it was hay, corn, beans or alfalfa have always had an almost spiritual impact on me.
My grandfather had a farm in Indiana that I remember spending time on as a young boy and in my early teens I spent part of a summer working my uncle’s farm in Dodge City Kansas so I’ve had some hands on experience with that lifestyle.

After a winter of maintenance of equipment and tools it takes the farmer time, money, sweat and sacrifice to get the seed into the ground and fertilized. After that it’s really up to nature and the right mix of sun and rain to get the job done. Usually nature cooperates but it still can be a crapshoot as the drought last year showed us.

When I see the harvest taking place or see films or photos of the magnificent wheat fields being harvested by multiple combines at the same time I can’t help but be amazed at the miracle of the earth and it’s ability to produce so bountifully the food that we eat.

It is a time of the year that I am so grateful that I live in the most prosperous country in the world. a place where as a result of the farming process I can walk into any number of stores, restaurants etc. and buy any kind of food that I desire.

How fortunate we are……I hope we all can take pause to reflect and in gratitude for our gifts, “take some time to thank the food”.


Jim Robertson

The Bounty from the Sea

The Bounty from the Sea

Getting Still


In my last blog I wrote about the inability of many people who, while being out in nature, can’t seem to let go of the need to be connected to their headsets and cell phones. As I said this inability to be quiet and still and to detach from the music and noise of our daily lives does not serve us well.

As a long time business owner and family man I lived in the chaos of busy everyday life. Like most of you there were always schedules, meetings, events, family issues and all the other stuff that happens in life.

I spent a lot of my time on the emotional edge, feeling somewhat lacking in control and anxious about life’s events and what’s going to happen next. It was exhausting to say the least. After a while I realized that I didn’t want to continue to live that way. But what needed to be done.

I still had to run a business and earn a living, at that time I had to take care of a home and family and those obligations were not going to change anytime soon.
I began to understand that if I wanted to live in a different place the changes were going to have to be internal…in how I viewed and reacted to the daily challenges so that I didn’t have to get so emotionally tangled up.

The first step for me was to recognize the detrimental affects that living in the chaos, a lot of which I was creating, was having on me and those around me. The next step and I feel the most important was to make a decision to change.

I had always been in love with nature and realized as I was reviewing my life that when I was in it I was at total peace with the world. I saw that even in times of pain and great stress in my life I found refuge in the outdoors. It didn’t matter if it was a sunny beach or out hiking in a severe winter storm, being in nature seemed to put it all in perspective.

I begin to realize that I have little or no control over many of the things that I was allowing to disturb me. When in nature even when in the storms and rough weather I began to see that there was an order to all that was happening around me and that it was going to run its own course with or without my input.

After making the decision to make changes in my life and realizing how powerful the connection was to nature and its energy I knew that I had to make the time to be in the outdoors as much as possible. I know what your going to say….”how the hell can I take time to be in nature when there’s all this stuff in my life??”

Well as I looked at all the “stuff” that I thought would keep me from spending time connecting with the natural world I clearly saw that there were things I was doing or how I was spending my time that could be eliminated or changed to allow me to slooooww waaaaay down. Just this realization brought a new measure of calm and when added to the fact I could now schedule a run, bike ride or just a walk in the woods was the beginning of permanent changes in my life.

As I said a good portion of the chaos I had in my life I was creating. I finally realized I was not in charge of the world; I did not have to supervise everyone else’s life nor was I responsible for their happiness, unhappiness on anything else. Most of the time my clients didn’t need the quote that day or the sample the next day.

I will admit that at first learning to respond instead of react, saying no, putting me first when appropriate was very uncomfortable as I was always, to a greater or lesser extent, a pleaser.

But I will tell you that the results of being in and embracing nature in my daily life has allowed me freedom in so many ways. I have learned to be still inside and to keep the chaos outside. When I’m still inside I see and feel things in a totally different way then before. I can participate in life in a calm reasonable way instead of reacting.

If you want to have stillness in your life, first know that you CAN. Then make a decision to change…be clear about what you want and don’t want in your life and write it down, keep it handy and read it everyday until you feel the changes taking place.
Make a decision each day a to spend at least a few minutes in nature….a 10 minute walk after dinner at night is a good start.

It was important for me to understand that I have a choice in how I live my life; after all it is my life. No matter the obstacles that are real or imagined we can make decisions and changes and learn to be still………it is a glorious place.


Jim Robertson.
More To Your Life
Alaska Adventures

Tuning Into Nature

Tuning in Nature

I was reading an article in the paper the other day and it really struck home with me. The author was relating how, being tired of the noise and high energy of city living, he decided to move to a place that was in nature, quiet and peaceful.

However it wasn’t long before that peace was being interrupted with noise from hikers, bikers and others with their talking, singing and portable music makers. And guess what……….these folks are also getting away from the noise and high energy of the urban setting…or so they think.

It seems that we have become so accustomed to noise, visual stimulation and the chaos created by being constantly in touch with the world thru cell phone, computers and huge entertainment centers that we are not comfortable in their absence.

I was at my health club last year and after a workout decided to use the steam bath and relax. If you’re familiar with these you know they employ hot moist air to make you work up a sweat to loosen the muscles in a relaxing, quiet atmosphere. I was in there and relaxing for about two minutes when in came a man in his late twenties with nothing but a towel wrapped around him and anMP3 player plugged into his head with the sound way up! REALLY???

I spend a lot of my time hiking and biking the many trails in the Fox Valley area. It is rare to pass another biker or hiker who does not have a headset plugged into their ears. They are totally unaware of any activity or sound going on around them. They are oblivious to any warning that you are approaching and going to pass them which can get a little dicey when you surprise them or they suddenly decide to move into you’re path.

But the thing I find saddest is the adventure they are missing by shutting out the sounds and sights of the nature they are visiting. I say sights as well as sound because it’s difficult to focus on visual when you listening intently to something else. And many times it’s the sound of nature, a bird’s call or a rustling in the leaves that is needed to draw our attention to the miracles around us.

Alaska...Where I began to learn to be still

Alaska…Where I began to learn to be still

Sometimes I feel that many of us just can’t seem to be alone in our own company and with our own thoughts and feelings. It’s seems to make many of us uncomfortable…I know because there was a time when that’s exactly how I felt.

I had to begin to make some changes and one of the biggest changes was learning to go still inside…to shut out the chatter and static that surrounded me. A large part of this was going outdoors, looking, listening and feeling the energy and the miracle of nature.

One of the most amazing discoveries is that when you go into nature to be alone you come to realize that it is so alive in a totally different way that you are not alone at all.

We’re surrounded by living creatures, plants, water, color and smells that are so captivating that it’s difficult to head back to the what we’ve been taught is reality ……our day to day life.

If you see yourself anywhere in this writing then maybe it’s time to plan more nature into your schedule. It doesn’t happen, you have to make it happen. And when you head outdoors leave all the noisy stuff at home. Allow your self to feel, think and be…it’s an amazing journey.


Jim Robertson
More To Your Life
Alaska Adventures

Bears and Us

Bears and Us

Football season is upon us so why not talk about da Bears?
Of course, the kind I’m talking about are grizzlies. One of the first questions I’m usually asked by people who are considering coming to Alaska is “what about the bears” meaning of course what kind of danger will I be exposed to if I travel there?
My normal response is that the bears live here and as long as we all respect that and understand that we are visitors in their habitat there is really very little danger.

Whenever there is an incident where someone is injured or killed by a bear it is almost always the result of someone doing something they shouldn’t do or being someplace they shouldn’t be. There are attacks that seem to be unprovoked but they are fairly rare.

I’m certainly not as expert as some, but I’ve been coming to Alaska many years and have read many books on the subject, listened to others with a lot of experience and had my own encounters.

This year I’ve been given a number of opportunities to observe both grizzly and black bears in their environment. Most of these had one or two cubs and the mama grizzly I wrote about in a recent blog from last year had four yearlings.

They love to come down to the streams and waterfalls around Valdez to feed on the salmon that come here to spawn each year. I have been paying closer attention to their behavior this year as the moms protect and nurture the young ones during their feeding.

The mom’s main mission is food for herself but also she is teaching the cubs how to fish and it’s an incredible sight to see how they coax, lead and sometimes, as one did the other night, simply push the cubs into the water to find the fish.

I think the most important things for me or any visitor to the wilderness to remember is that wild animals in many ways are just like us. By that I mean they instinctively want to feel and be safe, they want to be able to feed and live in their environment without being harassed and they want to protect and raise their young. Sound familiar?? Pretty simple.

I’ve decided in the future that when asked the question “ what about the bears”? I will clearly let them know we won’t be watching television. Seriously, I think I will be sure to add that I hope they will get to observe these magnificent animals in their natural habitat when they visit. To experience first hand bears, moose, sea lions, seals, whales and birds is a joy and a privilege that not everyone gets to experience.

These encounters will create a lifetime of memories and hopefully give thrill seekers a new perspective and appreciation of wild animals…..as we like to say “only in Alaska

Mama grizzly teaching cub to catch salmon

Mama grizzly teaching cub to catch salmon

Glacier Hiking

HI Folks,

I’ve been very busy in the past few weeks working with new and existing outfitters to provide different, exciting activities for upcoming trips that I hope you’ll join us for next year.
One of the adventures we’ve added is the opportunity to actually hike on a glacier. There are literally tens of thousand of glaciers explored and unexplored in Alaska and we’re fortunate to have several here in the Valdez areas that are accessible by land or water.

One of these is the beautiful Worthington Glacier located 30 miles from Valdez in the Thompson Pass area. A relatively young glacier, Worthington is like most other glaciers currently in retreat, moving steadily back more than a mile from it’s maximum distance while continuing to build up depth as huge snowfalls come to the Chugach Mountains each year

The glacier is situated so that a moderate hike will get you to the face, where you can observe beautiful blue ice, numerous water falls that come from mountain snow melt as well as the streams that surge thru and under the glacier.
With a little more effort we take a steeper rock trail up the east side until we are in position to put on our helmets and crampons and step on to the ice.

We slowly begin our hike up as we get used to the crampons and begin noticing the beautiful formations and crevasse’s that make up the glaciers surface. Ever careful of where we’re stepping we ascend to where the people below on the observation platform or hiking to the face look like ants

On the Glacier

We enjoy stunning views as guides explain how glaciers are formed, the complex nature of a glacier and the ebbs and flows that occur over the millennium with sun, rain, wind and snow. They are truly amazing, living entities that can tell a story even to the untrained eye.

As my clients and I were making our way back down the glacier one of them spotted something is a small stream of water. It turned out to be a Go Pro camera the type that’s worn on the body to record all the action.

That night we took out the card and put it in the computer to see what it contained. It showed folks whitewater rafting and then shots of the glacier. They were apparently putting the camera under water into a crevasse to see what was there when it came loose and sunk to the bottom. The camera records they’re efforts to retrieve it but they fail as, finally, does the battery.

The really interesting thing is that the date shows that all this took place four years ago in 2009. The glacier activity was such that over that period of time the ice around the crevasse was changed in such a way that the camera was brought to the surface, and washed down to where my client picked it up.

This was a totally unexpected event and we were really excited about the find. It also gave us a deeper insight as to the behavior of the glacier over even a short time frame. I’m looking forward to hiking there again in the next few days to see what has changed since just week ago.

Hope all of you are well and enjoying your summer. I look forward to the opportunity to have you join us in the future.



Hi Folks,

I arrived in Valdez on Saturday the 8th after an 8-day trip thru Canada and the Yukon Territories, as usual a long trip with great scenery and wildlife.I really begin to reconnect with spirit as soon as I’m out of the large cities, it doesn’t matter what country I’m in they all have lots of busy, fractured energy.

Since I’ve been back I’ve been reconnecting with friends and my outfitters getting ready to host our clients on their fabulous Alaska adventure.

As you know from my last blog regarding nature and wildlife survival, I was looking forward to seeing how the mama grizzly with the four cubs that we saw last year survived the winter’s cold and deep snows. As I mentioned it’s pretty rare to see four cubs and one was very small compared with the other three. It was however the most active of the group but that doesn’t always mean survival.


My friend and I were heading up the road to the WorthingtonGlaciertoday and our route follows the Lowe River. We were about two miles from my cabin when we spotted them: Mama Grizzly and yes all FOUR cubs. What a sight they were as she led them down the fast flowing river stopping at small islands to let them catch up with her. Always aware of where they were and what was around them.

And, as he was last year, the little runt was way behind the others. His curiosity for every little thing kept him very busy. He would stop and all at once look up to see mom and siblings way ahead and then scamper to catch up. Kinda reminded me of me in grammar school, check marks on my report card for “doesn’t pay attention in class, doesn’t do his homework on time” etc. Guess we’re both a little ADD.

In any event it added much joy to another picture perfect day in this great place. We’re enjoying exceptional sunshine and warm temps for the area and looking forward to lots more activities and seeing mama and cubs feeding here in town when the Pink Salmon start to return.

Wish you could all be here to see these wonderful sights. Until next time, be well!



Mama grizzly

Mama Grizzly

Life in the Wild

I was sitting in Graham’s 318, one of my favorite coffee shops last week and noticed a robin’s nest in a fir tree outside the window. A female robin was very busy flying back and forth feeding four hungry babies. It was a joy to watch her and her young ones but I couldn’t help but notice that with 4 chicks, that was a very crowded nest.

A few days later I returned and asked Esther, one of the barista’s, how the young ones were doing. She said that one of them had fallen or been pushed out of the nest. When I asked her if she tried to get it back into the nest she replied that she believed in not interfering with nature. I was impressed that she made the right decision even though the young bird would perish.

For most of us, the inclination is to rescue wildlife that is injured or abandoned and get it back to its mama or take it where humans can care for it. In many instances I agree with that as I, like most of us, don’t want to see animals hurt or in trouble.

As a traveler and tour guide in Alaska however I get to witness animals of all species in their wild habitat. In the wilderness, as in populated areas nature is always ready to follow it’s normal path. The difference of course is in the wild, life and death so often go unnoticed that we tend to forget that it follows it’s own rules.

Last year there was a female grizzly bear near the town of Valdez where I base my trips. This beautiful lady had 4 cubs…. a very rare occurrence. While they all appeared healthy and active we noticed that one was much smaller than the others…the runt of the litter.

Given the harsh winters and other factors, there’s a good chance that this little guy did not survive and may not be around when I get back there in a few weeks. No one suggested that the cub be trapped so it could be safely raised in its first year and guaranteed its survival. It will survive or not as nature provides.

On another occasion we were kayaking and camping at Shoup Glacier. There was a large sea lion that had beached itself and was in the process of dying. It made loud bellowing noises on and off all through the night and we could here it all from our cabin.

At one point we thought that it might be being under the attack of Wolverines and we were tempted to check and help if necessary but we knew it was not what we needed to do. The next morning we saw the animal still alive, but in the water around her were 20 or so other sea lions that had come to keep a vigil in her time of need, an amazing example of the community that wild animals develop.

As humans interacting with nature we can never be quite sure if what we’re doing is helping or harming. We can feel good about what we’re doing in rescuing and protecting but that’s our stuff and not natures.

Among the many things I’ve learned is that in nature there are absolutely no mistakes. Everything that takes place in the natural habitat is exactly the way it’s supposed to be.