Out of the Office

Michael Armstrong is properly outfitted for an Arctic summer hiking trip in this photo taken in 1989 along the Wulik River in northeastern Alaska. (Photo by Charles Barnwell.)

Out of the Office: Living in Alaska is a lifetime in learning

From boots to parkas, there’s lots to figure out about surviving in the Last Frontier

 

The author gets caught off guard while working at the Peninsula Clarion in 2016 in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Ben Boettger)

Out of the Office: For good, for now

“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes.” If that figure immediately transports you to the famous number from the musical “Rent,” you’ve caught my drift.… Continue reading

 

The author gets warm with a mask at Alaska’s Matanuska Glacier on Sunday, March 7, 20201. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Warming up to masks

A March 3 lead paragraph in a news story in The New York Times asked, “When can I throw away my mask?” For me, the… Continue reading

 

A day on Kachemak Bay (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Water taxi talking

Reporters spend a lot of time talking to people: people they don’t know, people they do know, people who really don’t want to talk to… Continue reading

A day on Kachemak Bay (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Fletcher runs through the snow on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, on Diamond Ridge near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Out of the Office: How all the dogs in my life have kept me sane and happy

From Ginny to Fletcher and all the dogs in between, furry companions provide friendship, healing.

Fletcher runs through the snow on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, on Diamond Ridge near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
The author looks across Eklutna Lake on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020 near Eagle River, Alaska. (Photo by Tim Rockey)

Out of the Office: Good riddance

When I first saw my turn in the rotating schedule for writing this column would fall on New Year’s Eve, my mind jumped to a… Continue reading

The author looks across Eklutna Lake on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020 near Eagle River, Alaska. (Photo by Tim Rockey)
Bottenintnin Lake, Nov. 24, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: More questions than answers

The only place life makes sense anymore is the outdoors. How do we balance the needs of students and parents with the safety of school… Continue reading

Bottenintnin Lake, Nov. 24, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Moose are seen eating on the shoulder of Kenai Spur Highway on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Moose are seen eating on the shoulder of Kenai Spur Highway on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
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Out of the Office: Two weeks

I’ve been thinking a lot about the 1986 film “The Money Pit” lately. If you’re around my age, I’ve probably lost you already. But if… Continue reading

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A section of the Diamond Creek beach has built up, with plants growing where 10 years ago there had been bare mud, as seen here on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Out of the Office: Annual CoastWalk beach trek reveals changes, transformation

Volunteers in annual Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies program clean up, monitor beaches

A section of the Diamond Creek beach has built up, with plants growing where 10 years ago there had been bare mud, as seen here on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
The climb up April Bowl provides expansive views, seen here Aug. 3, 2020 in Hatcher Pass, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
The climb up April Bowl provides expansive views, seen here Aug. 3, 2020 in Hatcher Pass, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
The Kenai River curls to Skilak Lake, as seen from the Hideout Trail on July 5, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Burn it all down

The plastic paradox and rockwork on Skyline Trail

The Kenai River curls to Skilak Lake, as seen from the Hideout Trail on July 5, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
A sign welcomes travelers to the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
A sign welcomes travelers to the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Out of the office: Checking items off the list
Out of the office: Checking items off the list
Sun dapples the mountains near the U.S. Forest Service Trail River Campground on July 22, 2020, near Moose Pass, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

COVID camping is about slowing down and relaxing

Recreating during a pandemic presents some challenges. Is the great outdoors great enough? How do you social distance on a narrow wilderness trail? How toxic… Continue reading

Sun dapples the mountains near the U.S. Forest Service Trail River Campground on July 22, 2020, near Moose Pass, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Out of the Office: There and back again

Out of the Office: There and back again

In a recent display of tenacity, mediocre coordination skills and a deep love for the outdoors, some friends and I strapped on our packs for… Continue reading

Out of the Office: There and back again
The view from Slaughter Gulch trail in Cooper Landing, Alaska, on June 20, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Life on the Edge

Are you a planner? An organizer? A list-maker? I’m not. I love not knowing what tomorrow will bring, and when it comes to taking a… Continue reading

The view from Slaughter Gulch trail in Cooper Landing, Alaska, on June 20, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Dunlins, western sandpipers and a dowitcher feed on Saturday, May 2, 2020, on the Homer Spit near Green Timbers in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Out of the Office: In the midst of a pandemic, birds are constant

Scattered on my desk I have three journals: my bullet journal, the daily planner that sort of keeps my life in order; my bird journal… Continue reading

Dunlins, western sandpipers and a dowitcher feed on Saturday, May 2, 2020, on the Homer Spit near Green Timbers in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
A wheelchair accessible path leads to the Russian River Falls on Sunday, May 24, 2020 in Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Out of the Office: Trails that wind, hearts that find

As with a lot of things, Alaska has been lucky to be far removed and largely untouched by the disastrous health effects of the novel… Continue reading

A wheelchair accessible path leads to the Russian River Falls on Sunday, May 24, 2020 in Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
A morel mushroom grows in disturbed gravel on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo credit: USFWS)

Out of the Office: Morels surge confidence

I’m writing this in the car on the drive to Anchorage. My boyfriend, Nate, and I are in the process of moving back to the… Continue reading

A morel mushroom grows in disturbed gravel on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo credit: USFWS)