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Posts Tagged ‘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.

Namaste

Jim Robertson
More To Your Life
Alaska Adventures
Moretyourlife.com

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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

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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.

Namaste,

JIM

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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!

Namaste,

JIM

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The Natural Order

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.

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Hi All,

It’s been so long since I posted and I’m glad to be back. I will be posting on a regular basis and hope you’ll follow along. Since starting the Alaska Adventures segment of More to Your Life it had been my desire to immerse myself more deeply into the Alaskan culture hence my decision beginning in 2012 to spend the summer months up north. I moved out of my apartment, put most of my belongings in storage, loaded the rest of my gear, kayak and bicycle in my Subaru and headed out on May 13th.

It was quite an advneture driving the 3400 miles, seeing the vast changes in landscape, weather, traffice and the personalities of the people in the various areas in which I traveled. The large cities and countryside in the lower 48 and into and thru Canada were very similar in traffic, agriculture, industry and  the energy of the people. It was fascinating to watch and feel the changes as I moved north and west into British Columbia and the Yukon territories.The landscape went from flat and agricultural to moutainous, rugged, absolutley breathtaking beautiful terrain. The population lessend, traffic got thinner and less frantic and the people more grounded and peacful, that slower movement that makes the wilderness and semi wilderness so remakably special.

I got to see the beautiful Canadian Rockies, a wide range of wildlife including black bears, Bison and extremly large species of moose, especailly in the Yukon Territitories. It was a special treat to hike trails along the famous Yukon River just outside of Whitehorse and get a small taste of the historical develpoment of that area following the dicovery of gold back in the late 1800’s.

The trip took me about 12 days with some stops along the way. I stayed in some very unique places such as the Toad River Inn and met some fantasticly interesting people. It never ceases to amaze me that no matter the geograhical separation of folks how simlilar we all are at our cores. While we are driven by different needs and desires , living our lives at differnt levles we all are connected thru  Spirit and Universal Energy.

For those that live in the cities with the concrete and steel, the nonstop lifestyle, stresses of the workplace it is so important to get into nature and experience that connection, that oneness with Spirit. It so puts everything in perspective when we’re able to see and feel the significence of our being so insignificent. It is wonderful to see and feel that which we can’t connect with  in the cities and suburbs; the world in perfect balance.

I’m looking forward to continuing my summer adventure in the coming weeks and to your comments. We are already booking our Alaska Adventure trips for 2013 and will be posting itineraries soon. New activities for 2013 include whitewate raft trip thru Keystone Canyoi and hiking on the Worthington Glacier. Our standard offerings of kayaking, camping and fishing will all be availble as well. I’ll let you know when the new picutures from 2102 have been posted.

Until next time,

Namaste

JIM

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