Sunday, February 21, 2010

Winter Trails Day

The Campbell Creek Science Center and REI put on the Winter Trails Day every year. This involves an introduction to the Alaskan outdoors, and features instruction on basic snow survival skills and a chance to try out several different winter sports, all free to the public!

On arrival we were given a survival kit in case we ever get stuck out in the wild. The cool little pack included headgear, hand-warmers, a leatherman, safety lights, an emergency blanket, a water bottle, energy bars, a map, lip salve, and a mini first-aid kit. It's incredible that they can just give these out for free, but safety on Alaska's trails is a huge priority here. We also explored the ice-shelters (digloos) and snow trenches, which was pretty interesting. I hope we never have to resort to one of these!

Our main aim was the winter sports and we finally attempted some cross-country skiing. We settled for skate-skiing over classic skiing, even though it looked like harder work. After receiving instruction on how to stay upright and move forward at the same time, we practised skate-skiing round a short, icy track.

Once we were confident enough, we headed out on one of the trails in Campbell Creek Park. It was exhilarating to move through the forest at speed, and we got a good workout and had great fun at the same time! We'll definitely be trying this again soon.

Later on in the day we managed to borrow some "fat bikes". These are mountain bikes which have been specially adapted for riding on snow, and are punted as the ultimate Alaskan trail bike. They are fitted with tires that are three-inches wide, and these enabled us to plough through the snow and ice with relative ease. Bigger leg muscles would have helped my cause, but I managed to keep up with Daniel most of the way!

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