Outdoor Explorer

On "Outdoor Explorer" from KSKA-Anchorage we invite you to step outside into Alaska. Follow us to a new trail or fishing hole, learn what to pack, when to go and most importantly, how to stay safe. Learn about life-long fitness and get inspired to go outside in the back country or on the bike trails. We’ll hear from the people who know the land best - outdoor guides, park rangers, coaches, authors, lodge owners, bush pilots, educators and you, the explorer. Listen Thursdays 2:00 – 3:00 pm on KSKA FM, streaming live at alaskapublic.org.

KSKA: Thursday, Sept. 24, at 2:00 p.m. Our region of Alaska happens to be the best place in the world for ordinary people to get out in the woods and see lots of gigantic bears. While the coastal brown bear are gorging on the salmon that make them so large, they don’t pay attention to anything else. Visitors to certain streams can get very close. We’ll talk about that experience, and the life of the bears. LISTEN NOW

KSKA: Thursday, July 21, at 2:00 and Thursday, July 28, at 8:00 p.m. Probably everyone has imagined flying like a bird at one time or another. But these days, you can do more than dream. Paragliding makes soaring up in the sky into a regular weekend activity. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’re going to learn about what paragliding feels like, how you do it safely, and ways to gain entry into the sport. LISTEN NOW

Nancy Lake Recreation Area is 23,000 acres of boreal forest and more than 100 lakes to explore less than 90 minutes from downtown Anchorage. On this edition of Outdoor Explorer, we’ll share two trips to the Nancy Lake system. We recorded the first half of the show in a canoe on an end-of-season overnight paddle. In the second half, we’ll talk about skating. You can’t do it every year, but when you can it is amazing. KSKA: Thursday, Nov. 5, at 2:00 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 12, at 8:00 p.m. Listen Now:

One of the first signs of spring in coastal Alaska is the appearance of gray whales, who pass our way on their annual journey from Mexico to the Bering Sea. Along our uninhabited shores, the whales get a lot more privacy than they do down south, but you can see them from boats and coastal towns, and tour boats from Seward go out to view the whales through April. On today’s show, we’re talking about going out to see the whales this spring, and the biology of the whales and their amazing migration. KSKA: Thursday, April 9, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen Now:

Chugach National Forest, and especially Prince William Sound, takes in some of the most extraordinary scenery and protected wilderness in Alaska. Charles Wohlforth shares what he learned when he attended a public meeting on changing management of the Sound, and you'll hear from people who think that’s both a good and a bad idea. LISTEN NOW

Coastal communities are the best thresholds to the wilderness for most of us who live in urban Alaska. That’s because a short boat ride can get you from the small boat harbor to a wild beach many, many miles from the nearest road, a place that likely is inaccessible any other way. On today’s show, we’re going to talk about using water taxis and where they can take you for hiking, paddling, or just setting up camp and enjoying incredibly beautiful, biologically rich places. KSKA: Thursday, April 30, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen Now:

Taking kids on an outdoor vacation can be the most rewarding and memorable time of your life. And the most stressful. Ever been without a campsite with hungry, tired kids when its getting past bedtime? Now THAT’S an extreme sport. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’re talking about family trips. Host Charles Wohlforth wrote a book on the subject and he is joined by two other authors of advice on family travel in Alaska and taking kids outdoors. KSKA: Thursday, April 24, at 2:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Listen now:

Fly fishing is not the easiest way to catch a fish, by a long shot, and most fly fishermen let the fish go after they catch it, anyway. Does that make sense? On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll find out. KSKA: Thursday, July 9, at 2:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Listen Now:

If you really love what you do outdoors, its natural to want to document that with pictures or video. Outdoor filmmaking is exploding as young people deploy equipment that is much less expensive than it used to be. This week on Outdoor Explorer we talk to adventure filmmakers. It goes beyond strapping a GoPro to your helmet. KSKA: Thursday, Dec. 11, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen now:

KSKA: Thursday, Feb. 16, at 2:00 p.m. One of the biggest and best events of the Anchorage winter is a ski race that crosses the whole city, held the same weekend as the Iditarod start. It’s the Tour of Anchorage, and it’s coming up soon, with some of the nation’s best skiers and plenty of regular folks who just want to go the distance. LISTEN NOW

KSKA: Thursday, July 07, at 2:00 and Thursday, July 14, at 8:00 p.m. Charles Wohlforth

It’s a fair bet that the stampeders who flowed north during the Klondike Gold Rush never thought of mining as recreational, but the hunt for gold is something people do for fun, as well as profit. We’ll find out how and why modern recreational miners persist in sifting Alaska’s streams with pans and other obsolete equipment, going after glittering flakes of gold, and hoping for something much richer. It's a hobby that gets them outdoors, and it's a treasure hunt. KSKA: Thursday 9/5 at 2:00 pm and 9:00 pm Listen Now

If winter defines us as Alaskans, as skiers and outdoor enthusiasts, what happens when we start to lose winter? Strange weather is becoming the new normal and we’re forced to adapt to climate change, because we don’t have a choice. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we'll look at what that means from scientific and a practical perspective. KSKA: Thursday, Jan. 22, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen Now:

The Eklutna traverse is a popular spring trip for local and visiting mountaineers. But the 38-mile trip is changing. Host Annie Feidt and her guests will explore whether changing glaciers means a changing adventure on the next Outdoor Explorer. KSKA: Thursday, March 20, at 2:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Listen now:

Alaskan geologists, biologists, archaeologists and lots of other kinds of -ologists cover the wilderness in their work, in search of knowledge but avoiding something many outdoor folks are looking for: adventure. On this show, we’ll hear from field scientists about their challenges studying Alaska, and how they keep safe and work effectively in places where other people go to test themselves against the elements. KSKA: Thursday, Oct. 8, at 2:00 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 15, at 8:00 p.m. Listen now:

Why and how we take risks is a constant topic on Outdoor Explorer. On this edition, we take it head on, with Craig Medred, the controversial and outspoken outdoor writer who has often commented on others' backcountry mishaps. In particular, we'll be discussing the Chris McCandless story, which is the subject of another new book and a PBS film. The topic is risk, reality, media fantasy, and how they interact. Join us for a lively hour of radio. KSKA: Thursday, Nov. 20, 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen now:

The night sky is infinitely interesting, and, like any experience in nature, knowledge only makes the experience deeper. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’re going to learn about the stars and watching them as an outdoor Alaskan activity. KSKA: Thursday, Dec. 18, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen now:

They say the most important piece of safety equipment outdoors is your brain, and that is particularly true with staying alive in avalanche country. We'll address the most dangerous backcountry hazard with an avalanche prediction expert and an educator who specializes in tuning up that safety gear inside your head. We’ll talk about how to recognize danger, how to prepare for winter travel in the backcountry, and when to stay home. KSKA: Thursday 12/12 at 2:00 pm and 9:00 pm Listen Now

Ski swap time is upon us. It’s become a season in Anchorage, when used gear comes out of the garage and goes on sale in these giant rummage sales, which can be as competitive as a Walmart on Thanksgiving. But is this really a good way to get quality gear? KSKA: Thursday, Oct. 16, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen now:

Backcountry skiing opens more of Alaska to access by muscles alone than any other sport, and can take you to the most awesome and fearsome spots, too, for self-reliant adventure. But it’s complicated. We’ll learn about the several kinds of backcountry skis and techniques -- telemark, randonee, touring -- what each is best for, and the most reasonable route to find your way into the sport. KSKA: Thursday, 2/27 at 2:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Listen now: