File--In this Feb. 6, 2012 photo, with Mount Bachelor in the distance, from left, Denny Knowles, 29, and his wife Natasha Knowles, 28, enjoy the view from the top of Tumalo Mountain, Ore., during a snowshoe trip.  Snowshoeing does not require as much gear and as many logistics as other wintertime sports such as cross-country skiing or downhill skiing and snowboarding. You basically just strap on the shoes and go. (AP Photo/The Bulletin, Andy Tullis, file)

Snowshoeing offers solitude – if you can find snow

BEND, Ore. (AP) — First of all, I must admit that I have never snowshoed simply for the sake of snowshoeing.Until last week, my only… Continue reading

File--In this Feb. 6, 2012 photo, with Mount Bachelor in the distance, from left, Denny Knowles, 29, and his wife Natasha Knowles, 28, enjoy the view from the top of Tumalo Mountain, Ore., during a snowshoe trip.  Snowshoeing does not require as much gear and as many logistics as other wintertime sports such as cross-country skiing or downhill skiing and snowboarding. You basically just strap on the shoes and go. (AP Photo/The Bulletin, Andy Tullis, file)
Quaking aspen continue to photosynthesize in their greenish-tinged bark even after their leaves have dropped in winter, a season when other deciduous trees are completely dormant. (Photo by E. Bella/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: The lively winter life of quaking aspen

From the warmth of my office, the view includes a magnificent stand of quaking aspens along the ridge near Headquarters Lake. During particularly frosty days… Continue reading

Quaking aspen continue to photosynthesize in their greenish-tinged bark even after their leaves have dropped in winter, a season when other deciduous trees are completely dormant. (Photo by E. Bella/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

An Outdoor View: Dream fishing

A couple of weeks ago, I had a dream about fishing. Upon awakening, I was smiling and feeling good, unlike my usual early-morning feeling. I… Continue reading

After nights of cold, clear weather, hoar frost decorates most surfaces near Peterson Lake Cabin, north of Juneau, Alaska, in this Dec., 2014, photo.  The winter of 2014-15 is not one that has yet brought large amounts of snowfall to Southeast Alaska, but even so, winter outings require attention in areas  where summer outings do not. (AP Photo/Juneau Empire, Abby Lowell)

A winter’s night at a cabin in Southeast Alaska

JUNEAU (AP) — There was a collective sigh of relief as our group reached the Peterson Lake Trail parking lot. A few inches of crusty… Continue reading

After nights of cold, clear weather, hoar frost decorates most surfaces near Peterson Lake Cabin, north of Juneau, Alaska, in this Dec., 2014, photo.  The winter of 2014-15 is not one that has yet brought large amounts of snowfall to Southeast Alaska, but even so, winter outings require attention in areas  where summer outings do not. (AP Photo/Juneau Empire, Abby Lowell)
Bruce Edgerly, vice president of marketing and sales with BCA, a Boulder, Colorado-based company, holds their float avalanche airbag at their exhibit at the Outdoor Retailer Show Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Salt lake City. "It makes you a bigger object. In an avalanche, the biggest objects, like the biggest pieces of debris, end up on the surface." Air bags become more affordable and easy to use in recent years, Edgerly said. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Technology improves avalanche gear for backcountry skiers

SALT LAKE CITY — As outdoor recreation companies increasingly cater to skiers and snowboarders who like to venture beyond the groomed slopes at ski resorts… Continue reading

Bruce Edgerly, vice president of marketing and sales with BCA, a Boulder, Colorado-based company, holds their float avalanche airbag at their exhibit at the Outdoor Retailer Show Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Salt lake City. "It makes you a bigger object. In an avalanche, the biggest objects, like the biggest pieces of debris, end up on the surface." Air bags become more affordable and easy to use in recent years, Edgerly said. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Hikers in pursuit of the Alaska Dream looking over Doroshin Bay and the Skilak Glacier outwash plain in Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Following the Alaska dream

When I was 6 years old, my family traveled the Alcan Highway from California to the Arctic Circle in Alaska. We visited relatives who lived… Continue reading

Hikers in pursuit of the Alaska Dream looking over Doroshin Bay and the Skilak Glacier outwash plain in Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

An Outdoor View: Together again

Author’s note: A loyal reader recently noted that it has been two years since I bamboozled readers into learning about fish by slipping a little… Continue reading

Roger Phillips rides down a snowy trail near Eagle, Idaho, Jan. 2, 2014, in this self portrait.   Regular mountain bikes can be ridden on trails with hard-packed snow. Dropping tire pressure by about 5 pounds improves traction. (AP Photo/Idaho Statesman, Roger Phillips)

Don’t let winter keep you off your mountain bike

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — I used to think winter mountain biking was a stunt you did once to say you’ve done it. That was before… Continue reading

Roger Phillips rides down a snowy trail near Eagle, Idaho, Jan. 2, 2014, in this self portrait.   Regular mountain bikes can be ridden on trails with hard-packed snow. Dropping tire pressure by about 5 pounds improves traction. (AP Photo/Idaho Statesman, Roger Phillips)
A fourteen-spotted lady beetle from Headquarters Lake, one of the species identified in samples processed by next-generation sequencing methods. (Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Futuristic method to identify insects becomes reality

Last week I actually lost sleep in excitement over receipt of our first set of “next-generation sequencing” data, our latest step in a years-long effort… Continue reading

A fourteen-spotted lady beetle from Headquarters Lake, one of the species identified in samples processed by next-generation sequencing methods. (Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS)

An Outdoor View: Trouble with gill-netters

For years, I railed against subsistence fishing in the Kenai. I dreaded that it would mean gill nets in the river. I feared that it… Continue reading

Robyn McGinnity leads her dog, Millie, and her daughter, Mia, on the family's first try at skijoring during a free clinic at Winterfest held on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, in Mount Spokane State Park. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Rich Landers)

Winter enthusiasts with dogs discover joys of skijoring

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Cross-country skiers are harnessing their dogs’ pent-up winter enthusiasm in a fast-growing sport that’s finding a niche in the Inland Northwest.Skijoring… Continue reading

Robyn McGinnity leads her dog, Millie, and her daughter, Mia, on the family's first try at skijoring during a free clinic at Winterfest held on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, in Mount Spokane State Park. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Rich Landers)
This image released by Fox Searchlight Pictures shows Reese Witherspoon in a scene from the film, "Wild."  A big, bad pair of hiking boots and the bloody hurt they inflicted on Cheryl Strayed's feet were co-stars in her book "Wild," as they were for Reese Witherspoon in the popular movie adaptation that earned the actress an Oscar nomination. A newbie to thru-hiking, Strayed's story of her 1,100-mile trek has not only boosted her profile but reinforced the importance to novices of protecting and supporting their feet. (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight Pictures, Anne Marie Fox)

Going ‘Wild’ on your first long hike? Consider your feet

NEW YORK — A big, bad pair of hiking boots and the bloody hurt they inflicted on Cheryl Strayed’s feet were co-stars in her book… Continue reading

This image released by Fox Searchlight Pictures shows Reese Witherspoon in a scene from the film, "Wild."  A big, bad pair of hiking boots and the bloody hurt they inflicted on Cheryl Strayed's feet were co-stars in her book "Wild," as they were for Reese Witherspoon in the popular movie adaptation that earned the actress an Oscar nomination. A newbie to thru-hiking, Strayed's story of her 1,100-mile trek has not only boosted her profile but reinforced the importance to novices of protecting and supporting their feet. (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight Pictures, Anne Marie Fox)
Residents from the village of Shageluk on the Innoko River assist ADFG and USFWS staff in constructing a holding pen as part of the wood bison reintroduction effort.  100 wood bison are scheduled to be released on the lower Innoko River in March 2015.  Photo by Tom Seaton, ADFG.

Refuge Notebook: What do caribou and wood bison have in common?

Last weekend on a drive back from Anchorage, whizzing by the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center at 57 miles per hour my daughter pointed out a… Continue reading

Residents from the village of Shageluk on the Innoko River assist ADFG and USFWS staff in constructing a holding pen as part of the wood bison reintroduction effort.  100 wood bison are scheduled to be released on the lower Innoko River in March 2015.  Photo by Tom Seaton, ADFG.

An Outdoor View: Fishing for halibut

Author’s note: This column first appeared in the Clarion on May 23, 2003.For years, most anglers fished for halibut in Southcentral waters with the same… Continue reading

In this photo, Beth Ipsen takes a selfie showing her clothing and snowmobiles before heading out in the wilderness near Cantwell, Alaska. Alaska State Troopers are suggesting outdoor trekkers take a "selfie" right before heading out into the backcountry as a way to account for their whereabouts. (AP  Photo/Alaska Dispatch News, Beth Ipsen)

Alaska troopers encourage selfies for backcountry travelers

ANCHORAGE (AP) — Alaska State Troopers are looking for your selfies — those ubiquitous self-portraits, usually snapped with smartphone cameras, that make up countless Facebook… Continue reading

In this photo, Beth Ipsen takes a selfie showing her clothing and snowmobiles before heading out in the wilderness near Cantwell, Alaska. Alaska State Troopers are suggesting outdoor trekkers take a "selfie" right before heading out into the backcountry as a way to account for their whereabouts. (AP  Photo/Alaska Dispatch News, Beth Ipsen)
Ice blocks are lined out for the Kids Park Maze as work begins on this year's Ice Alaska Ice Park in Fairbanks, Alaska Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 in preparation for the 2015 BP World Ice Art Championships. The park opens Feb. 23. (AP Photo/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Eric Engman)

Ice playground construction underway in Fairbanks

FAIRBANKS (AP) — Workers are building an ice playground in a city in Alaska’s interior, including a pirate ship slide made from 65 refrigerator-sized blocks… Continue reading

Ice blocks are lined out for the Kids Park Maze as work begins on this year's Ice Alaska Ice Park in Fairbanks, Alaska Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 in preparation for the 2015 BP World Ice Art Championships. The park opens Feb. 23. (AP Photo/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Eric Engman)

An Outdoor View: Avoiding cabin fever

If you’re staying indoors a lot this winter, here are some ideas for staving off cabin fever. Plan and book fishing and hunting trips The… Continue reading

Now-retired Doug Newbould stands next to his Fire Management Vehicle. (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Fire Management Officer heads off to new adventures

After 17 years of service, Doug Newbould retired from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge will feel this loss as Doug has contributed substantially… Continue reading

Now-retired Doug Newbould stands next to his Fire Management Vehicle. (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 10-11 - In this photo taken on Dec. 20, 2014, Oregon State student Ty Atwater, right, puts makeup on Molly Steiber's leg to simulate a bruise from a broken leg for the final exam in the wilderness first responders class at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore. The students took turns role-playing as a hiker with an injury while the other student examines them and treats their injury. (AP Photo/The Corvallis Gazette-Times, Andy Cripe)

Students learn wilderness first response skills

CORVALLIS, Ore. — It’s a cold and wet morning and Oregon State University student Alex Funk is hiking through the woods when he comes upon… Continue reading

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 10-11 - In this photo taken on Dec. 20, 2014, Oregon State student Ty Atwater, right, puts makeup on Molly Steiber's leg to simulate a bruise from a broken leg for the final exam in the wilderness first responders class at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore. The students took turns role-playing as a hiker with an injury while the other student examines them and treats their injury. (AP Photo/The Corvallis Gazette-Times, Andy Cripe)
ADVANCE FOR USE SUNDAY, JAN. 11 - In this photo taken on Dec. 28, 2014, Cassidy Saunders, front, and Corey DiRutigliano get to the bottom of the hill covered in snow during a sledding trip to Ester Hill in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Picking the right hill and to a lesser extent the right sled, makes the difference in sledding. (AP Photo/ Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Sam Friedman)

Cheap thrills: backwoods sledding

FAIRBANKS — A cheap plastic sled, some fresh snow and gravity make for refreshingly simple fun.Sledding is a classic family-friendly activity, but it was fun… Continue reading

ADVANCE FOR USE SUNDAY, JAN. 11 - In this photo taken on Dec. 28, 2014, Cassidy Saunders, front, and Corey DiRutigliano get to the bottom of the hill covered in snow during a sledding trip to Ester Hill in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Picking the right hill and to a lesser extent the right sled, makes the difference in sledding. (AP Photo/ Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Sam Friedman)