Out of the Office

Michael proposes to Sarah at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Falling in love one snowflake at a time

Do you want to know what I’ve been looking forward to the most since moving to Alaska? Snow! I love snow. Driving in it? OK,… Continue reading

 

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: Clearing the trail

One of the benefits of growing old is waking up and, despite having done nothing particularly noteworthy the day before, feeling as if you’ve been… Continue reading

 

Kenai Lake sparkles under the sun on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 near Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: To everything, there is a season

We don’t really have “seasons” where I’m from. It stays an amicable 75 degrees and sunny pretty much all year, even in January. A temperate… Continue reading

Kenai Lake sparkles under the sun on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 near Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Anthony Botello fishes for halibut off the coast of Homer, Alaska, on Sept. 6, 2021. (Camille Botello)

Out of the Office: Fish on!

I was pretty spoiled as a kid. The chest freezer in our garage was almost always stuffed to the brim with real Alaska salmon, and… Continue reading

Anthony Botello fishes for halibut off the coast of Homer, Alaska, on Sept. 6, 2021. (Camille Botello)
The afternoon sun makes birch leaves glow yellow on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the Hidden Lake Campground in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge near Sterling, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Fall in Alaska is subtle but fabulous

On my mother’s side I come from a long line of New Englanders, the kind of people for whom fall leaf peeping can be something… Continue reading

The afternoon sun makes birch leaves glow yellow on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the Hidden Lake Campground in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge near Sterling, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Michael, Sarah, Pete, Becky, Will and Margaret take a picture in front of Exit Glacier in Seward on Aug. 21.

Out of the Office: Finally feeling at home

My partner’s family came into town recently. While the thought of hosting in-laws would make many people I know fearful of the rest of this… Continue reading

Michael, Sarah, Pete, Becky, Will and Margaret take a picture in front of Exit Glacier in Seward on Aug. 21.
A waterfall flows at McCullough Gulch in Colorado on Aug. 5, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak)

Out of the Office: Best-laid plans

The plan was for the family to meet in Colorado to try and summit one of the state’s famous 14ers, or mountains that rise higher… Continue reading

A waterfall flows at McCullough Gulch in Colorado on Aug. 5, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak)
The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge’s July 3 discovery hike was at the Vista Trail. (Photo by Camille Botello)

Wishing y’all well

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be “well” lately. Like, what does that actually mean? Is it realistic for someone to… Continue reading

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge’s July 3 discovery hike was at the Vista Trail. (Photo by Camille Botello)
Camille Botello reaches the Skyline summit near Cooper Landing, Alaska with dirty ankles on June 27, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: The view from Skyline

In some ways, the isolation of the pandemic has proved even more harsh for me. I’ve spent the majority of it — actually, this week… Continue reading

Camille Botello reaches the Skyline summit near Cooper Landing, Alaska with dirty ankles on June 27, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
Kayakers paddle across Kenai Lake on Saturday, June 12, 2021, near Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Kayakers paddle across Kenai Lake on Saturday, June 12, 2021, near Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Homer News reporter Sarah Knapp (kneeling) is pictured with the Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park volunteer group who cleared South Eldred Trail during National Trails Day on June 5. The group was able to clear half a mile of the trail. Pictured left to right are Kristine Moerlein, Amy Holman, Kathy Sarns, Lyn Maslow, Ruth Dickerson and Kris Holderied. (Photo by Michael Singer)

Out of the Office: Finding Home in Alaska

“The story is it’s dark, it’s cold, it’s unfriendly and there are wild animals that’ll eat you.” That is the story of Alaska, or so… Continue reading

Homer News reporter Sarah Knapp (kneeling) is pictured with the Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park volunteer group who cleared South Eldred Trail during National Trails Day on June 5. The group was able to clear half a mile of the trail. Pictured left to right are Kristine Moerlein, Amy Holman, Kathy Sarns, Lyn Maslow, Ruth Dickerson and Kris Holderied. (Photo by Michael Singer)
Eileen Sorensen taunts her dog, Hana, with fresh caught and cooked blue claw crabs in New Jersey. (Photo courtesy Kat Sorensen)

Tangled Up in Blue: Good Grief

They say that grief washes over you in waves, but I just jumped in.

Eileen Sorensen taunts her dog, Hana, with fresh caught and cooked blue claw crabs in New Jersey. (Photo courtesy Kat Sorensen)
This is me standing in front of the Denali National Park and Preserve sign on Saturday, March 20, 2021. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: The weekend

By the second week of March, I had pretty much forgotten about the dry cabin I’d booked for the next weekend. I’d made reservations from… Continue reading

This is me standing in front of the Denali National Park and Preserve sign on Saturday, March 20, 2021. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
The Alaska Highway on July 15, 2020. (Photo by Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Up the Alcan

Five days and nearly 2,500 miles: That’s how long I traveled to get to Alaska. I grew up in rural Idaho, 5,000 feet up in… Continue reading

The Alaska Highway on July 15, 2020. (Photo by Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
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

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

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