"It's like the Iditarod with a chance of drowning," says Jake Beatty, one of the organizers of a bizarre, crazy race called the Race to Alaska. The course traces 750-miles of Alaska's Inside Passage through complicated currents and tides, busy shipping channels and bear-ridden coastlines from Port Townsend, WA to Ketchikan, AK. In June. The most unpredictable month of the year for weather. There are two rules: no support and no motors. First place wins $10,000. Second place gets a set of decent steak knives. 

What's crazier than trying to race from Washington to Alaska on a boat without a motor? Karl Kruger's decision to enter the race on a stand up paddle board. 

We've got one for you today about a ridiculous goal, about stepping over 'the line' and the unexpected places you can wind up physically and mentally. 

 

Want to learn more about the Race to Alaska? Visit R2AK.com

Want to sail with Karl? Check out krugerescapes.com

Direct download: Over_the_Line.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:42pm PST
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For our eighth annual Tales of Terror episode, we have not three, but five stories that span the range of things to fear--from angry men with shotguns, to bears and mountain lions, to things that really don't have any explanation in the world of science. 

First, we visit an abandoned Pennsylvania town with Joe Shearer. Then, we'll wander the overgrown Forest Service roads of the Sierras with Drew Villeneuve, join Maria DeBari on a spooky descent from Washington state's Mt. Stuart, jumpstart a dead car battery at a trailhead on the edge of Colorado's Weminuche Wilderness with Same Whitley, and finally, travel off the map in Iceland with Sal Zullo. 

Happy Halloween!

Direct download: Tales_of_Terror_Vol._8.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:23pm PST
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"On a typical day, I taught farmers how to snowplow and chased foreign exchange students through the parking lot as they careened toward diesel pickup trucks," Tyler Neese remembers from his winters in college at an Iowa ski hill. "While skiing is never a bad way to earn a back, at the the end of the day, I found myself dreaming of powder days and places where Carhartt overalls were not standard ski attire."

So when Tyler and four friends loaded up the truck for a spring break ski vacation in Colorado, the stoke was high. Until, just minutes form the base of Keystone, black ice and a distracted driver flipped their trip--literally--upside down. But, sometimes, it's not about what happens to you, it's about how you react. 

Direct download: Yard_Sale.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:13pm PST
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Raising awareness. It seems like every day, someone embarks on a new project to 'raise awareness' about a particular issue, cause, disease, endangered species or threatened public land. But what separates the projects that cut through the noise and the ones that get drowned out in the static of issues competing for our attention? 

For our third Endangered Spaces episode, we travel to Northern Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to follow Dave and Amy Freeman on "Paddle to D.C." and "A Year in the Wilderness," two adventures that had a real impact in advocating for the protection of the place they love most. 

 

To learn more, visit SavetheBoundaryWaters.org,

get a copy of Dave and Amy's new book, A Year in the Wilderness,

watch Duct Tape Then Beer's film, "Bear Witness" about the Freeman's year in the Boundary Waters, 

and watch Nate Ptacek's film on "Paddle to D.C."

Direct download: Boundary_Waters.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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"If you're thirsty, you're probably already dehydrated. That's what they say. Those perfect people who always have a clean, happily-colored, reusable adult sippy bottle on hand," says Anya Miller. "Most often, I only realize that I'm thirty when someone offers me a drink. My friend Jesse Bushey brought up climbing El Cap. I didn't even know I wanted to--until he suggested it."

Duct Tape Then Beer's Director of Brand and Creative Strategy extraordinaire shares the story of her first big wall attempt, selective memory and different kinds of thirst. 

 

Want more? Listen to Anya's other Short, "Sleeping Bag Metamorphosis" or follow her on Instagram.

Direct download: Thirst.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:56pm PST
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"When we were living in a house, we were always compromising because we had the weight of a mortgage, of doing what we thought we should be doing," remembers Kathy Holcombe. Until, the day she, her husband, Peter, and their daughter Abby moved into a Winnebago to travel and work from the road. "I want her to see that she can do that too: whatever her wildest dreams are, to chase them and not stop until they come true," says Kathy. 

Abby's dream? To kayak the 280-miles of the classic Grand Canyon run. But how does a 12-year old arrive at a place where this goal is even conceivable? First, lots of kayaking. But, as in any sport, Abby must learn to walk up to her fears and pick them apart before deciding whether to go or not go. 

Follow the Holcombe's adventures at famagogo.com

Direct download: Winnebago_Warriors.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:24pm PST
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"I looked like some mountain man's girlfriend, and sometimes, that's all I felt like," remembers Andrea Ross. "It was easy to hide in Darren's shadow--to let the world knock on his door first." 

But after an accident on Mt. Humphreys forced Andrea to draw on her EMT training and courage to coordinate a rescue, she reached a turning point in her relationship and the way she imagined her life. 

 

You can find more of Andrea's writing on her blog

Direct download: Double_Vision.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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081

"Picture walking through a parking lot with a ski mask rolled up on your head and a pistol in your pocket. You're getting closer to the bank, your heart's beating faster, adrenaline's starting to rush through your head, and you can't believe you're about to do what you're about to do," says Roland Thompson. "When you're climbing a route you've never done before, it's a grade or two above what you're comfortable with, you're a few feet above that bolt you've got a dynamic move coming up--that adrenaline is definitely the same intensity, it's just cleaner." 

After serving 10-years in state and federal prisons, Roland discovered that he could satisfy his adrenaline craving and use his ability to stay calm in high-intensity situations by rock-climbing and snowboarding--instead of robbing banks. The outdoors also gave him what he had really been looking for all along: a sense of community. 

 

Roland is currently writing a book and doing public speaking events. Learn more at Iam081.com

Direct download: 081.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:06am PST
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"The reason that I was able to do it is because I was incredibly naive," says Lucas St. Clair. "I had no idea how much work it was going to be, when I started. Not a clue." 

The thing Lucas did: work to establish Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in the North Woods of Maine. 

We started this "Endangered Spaces" series for two reasons. First, we want to take a deeper look at a handful of important, active land battles. Second, and every bit as important, we want to follow the stories of a handful of people who, in their own, quirky ways, have stepped up to protect the threatened spaces they hold dear.

For Lucas, the endangered space wasn't the land he was working to protect, but the communities that surround it. 

 

The comment period for the 27 monuments on Zinke's list ends July 10th. Outdoor Alliance makes it easy to speak out for the places that are important to you

To plan your trip to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, visit Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters.

Direct download: Katahdin_Woods_and_Waters.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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"Three days from the end of the trip, I started to panic," writes Emma Walker. "I still didn't know what to do with my summer, let alone the rest of my life. Inspiration, as I'd imagined it, hadn't struck. Now, I had to face the realization that I didn't have an exit strategy. This had been it, and it would inevitably end."

The summer after her first year of graduate school, Emma enrolled in an Alaska Pacific University Expedition Mountaineering course. She told her family she signed up because it meant she'd earn graduate credits to traipse around the Harding Icefield. But she also hoped the trip would bring some clarity on the bigger questions, like whether or not grad school had been a mistake and what she was still doing in Alaska.

No lightning bolts of clarity struck during her trip, but looking back a year later, she could see that, perhaps, her month in the Alaska mountains had given her the inspiration she needed after all. 

 

You can find more of Emma's writing at myalaskanodyssey.com or listen to her first Short, "I Poo: A Love Story"

Direct download: Exit_Strategy.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:34am PST
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"As a brown woman, I stand out," says Mary Ann Thomas. "People came up to me just because they were curious, just because they were like, 'There aren't a  lot of strangers here, we're just interested in who you are as a person-- as a whole person.'"

Mary Ann is the daughter of Indian immigrants, she's queer and she had always lived  in the liberal bubble of big cities on the East Coast. When she embarked on a six-month, 6600-mile bike tour across the country, she worried most about the prejudice she might encounter as she pedaled through middle America. She was surprised to discover that the stereotypes she had to confront in a profound way were her own. 

Check out the blog from Mary Ann's trip, or find more of her writing here.

 

Direct download: Pedal_Strokes_and_Perspective.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:14pm PST
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When a bad breakup sent him spiraling into a deep depression, Tom Ireson fixated on an unconventional way to get his head straight:

"I really needed something to focus my mind on to pull me out of that," Tom says, "and about the biggest thing I could think of was to try and do a new route on a big wall." 

Not just any big wall, a big wall on the other side of the world in the remote and wild valley of Cochamo, Chile. When he latched on to the idea, Tom had never been to Cochamo and never climbed a big wall, much less established a new route on one. 

Today, we've got one for you about how, if you find yourself at the bottom of an impossibly deep hole, sometimes it takes an equally impossible goal to pull yourself out of it. 

 

If you want to hear more from Tom, check out his 2014 Short, 'Go For It'.

Direct download: Picaflor.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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"I used to go climbing in the same way people would go to a well, a source of life equally routine and sacred. It would fill me up--leave me refreshed and full after a hard day in the mountains," writes Keith Erps. "After Ryan's death, climbing appeared dark and ugly. I wanted to love it, but had to find a new answer to the 'why' questions."

For many of us, the relationship we have with the outdoors stretches back longer than most of our friendships. But what do we do when what should have been a type one fun day in the mountains turns into the worst day of our lives? How do we redefine our relationships with the activities we love?

 

Ryan's family started a scholarship in his name to help underserved youth get outside. You can donate here

You can find more of Keith's writing here

Direct download: Let_Joy_Rule_Your_Life.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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Matt Muchna and Peter Journel are best friends, and complete opposites. Matt is spontaneous. Peter is a planner. Matt is an idealist, Peter in a realist. And a few years ago, they made a bet: Peter bet that Matt couldn't climb one of the highest continental peaks for less than $3,000. If he did, Peter would pay him back for the trip. 

"When I made this bet, I had maybe two or three pairs of cut off pants that were now shorts--or jorts--a pair of sandals, and maybe six or seven pretty nice Hawaiian shirts," remembers Matt. "And that was it." 

Today, producer Francesca Fenzi brings you a story of mountain climbing on a budget, friendship, and idealism versus realism. 

 

You can find more of Francesca's work at: francescafenzi.com

Direct download: The_Bet.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:35am PST
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"Every day on the mountain and every night at the bar, drinking and partying was as much a part of my life as skiing," remembers Paddy O'Connell. "That is until, of course, they became the only part." 

We've heard the stories of addicts who found salvation in the outdoors and the outdoor community, but that's not the way the narrative arcs for everyone. For Paddy, recovery looked less like slashing pow turns with his ski-bum buddies, and more like a game of catch with his dad on the back lawn of a treatment facility in Minnesota. 

Direct download: Catching_Hope.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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