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 at 2:00 & 8:00 pm on KSKA FM, streaming live at alaskapublic.org. We're looking for your show ideas! Please send your thoughts for upcoming shows to: cwohlforth@alaskapublic.org

Rockwell Kent was one of the most important artists to picture Alaska. And the legendary winter he spent with his son on Fox Island, in Resurrection Bay, happened 100 years ago. On the next Outdoor Explorer we’re joined by an expert on those events, and on Kent’s colorful life in general, to learn about landmarks in fine art and writing about nature that were created right here. Thanks for listening!
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Gardening without chemicals turns out to be the right way, according to our next guest. Jeff Lowenfels has been growing things in Anchorage for a very long time, and through that experience he learned to get rid of anything that doesn’t naturally belong in his garden. We’ll also hear from a longtime beekeeping expert in Anchorage, who is even breeding bees able to make it through our cold winters. Thanks for listening!

As the summer winds down, Outdoor Explorer looks at one of the worst years of salmon fishing in memory in southcentral Alaska. We’ll review what happened, why it happened, and talk about the impacts on anglers and communities. Thanks for listening!

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’re talking about about remote power. Solar panels are small and portable enough now that it makes sense to take them into the backcountry to charge batteries, extending your electronics and communications indefinitely. My guest is also an expert in setting up remote power systems at cabins, technology that is advancing to make power in your remote site much simpler. Also, we'll hear about climbing and rafting on and around Spencer Glacier. Thanks for listening!

We’re talking about cycling on the next Outdoor Explorer. We’ll chat with a physical therapist and a bike fitter to learn about getting the perfect fit for your health, as well as your performance. And we’ll have an interview about the Texas 4000, a cross-country bike ride for cancer arriving soon in Anchorage from the University of Texas in Austin. Thanks for listening!

Sue Mauger is a scientist and conservationist who studies Alaska’s streams to learn the impact of climate change. So why did she go on a voyage to Antarctica? On the next outdoor explorer, we’ll discuss the unusual reason. Sue was invited to join a ship full of women scientists with the goal of learning about themselves and how they can be stronger in their work for the benefit of knowledge and the earth. Thanks for listening!

On this next Outdoor Explorer, meet Mikah Meyer who traveled to every national park. And not only the big ones, but also all the historical parks and the obscure places, a trip that has taken years. We’ll also be chatting with legendary Alaska hiker Shawn Lyons, who is publishing a completely encyclopedic set of books covering every route in southcentral Alaska. Yea parks!

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we'll meet an 11 year old girl and her mother who made a huge change in our city. When Anna Boltz was a toddler, her mother Leah realized that the city’s playgrounds, although meeting the law, were not truly accessible to a child like her who uses a wheelchair. Nine years later, Anchorage has a dozen inclusive playgrounds, with facilities that invite and engage people of every ability. We'll also hear about summer activities being hosted by the Anchorage Museum and about training to race in the Boston Marathon in a wheelchair. Thanks for listening!

If you’ve gotten a little sedentary over the winter, the next Outdoor Explorer will have the information you need to up your level of fitness. Host Charles Wohlforth will be joined by a coach, a physical therapist and a dietitian to talk about how to safely and successfully start a fitness program, to control weight, improve health or just enjoy life more. For those who already work out regularly, we’ll talk about how to take it to the next level, and even to endurance competition. Thanks for listening!

On this Outdoor Explorer we're revisiting an important topic: “Leave only footprints.” — It’s an ambitious philosophy. Most of us who recreate outdoors like to think we do a good job of this. We pack out our trash. We travel across landscapes with a light footprint. But how good are we? We’ll hear experts talk about what it really means to leave no trace — from scattering your fire circles to packing out human waste. Thanks for listening!

On the next Outdoor Explorer, meet Justin and Wella Jay. They met in Anchorage while serving in the Army. They were both deployed to combat in Afghanistan. They both came back with trauma from their wartime experiences. But as a couple they supported each other and found a way to walk off the war--on a six month hike over the Appalachian Trail. It helped them, and they think nature therapy could help other veterans. Thanks for listening!

The summer season is here and Alaska’s waterways beckon.  We’re taking the topic from four perspectives. An interview with a pioneer who made a lifelong career of floating remote rivers with inflatables. A story by a Minnesotan who got in some trouble on an Alaska river. A buyers guide to pack rafts. And a bear story that comes from an epic float trip. Thanks for listening!

The town of Whittier is surprisingly close to Anchorage. With luck on hitting the tunnel schedule, you can be there in an hour. That hour puts you on the edge of one the the world’s largest and modest spectacular marine recreation areas, Prince William Sound. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’re going to talk about going to Whittier. It’s not just for tourists, it’s a threshold to the ocean and the wilderness.

On the next Outdoor Explorer we have a variety of stories about organized sports and kids. We’re starting with a discussion of Ultimate Frisbee. If you thought it was a disorganized hippie activity, you have much to learn. We’ll also talk about biking for girls, a triathalon that benefits a sick child, and much more.  

We Alaskans have a unique way to get into the backcountry, on our state-owned railroad or ferry system — two of the most fun forms of transportation around. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll celebrate how the train and ferries can get families out to adventures hiking, skiing, paddling, floating and exploring in some truly exotic places. Thanks for listening!

We humans can live a long time, long enough to do a lot and see a lot. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we have a climber who topped some of the world’s greatest peaks... 50 years ago and then never stopped. We’ll also be joined by one of Alaska’s toughest runners, who completed more than 60 marathons and helped start some of Alaska’s biggest races. In both cases, they’re fun and inspiring for any age. Thanks for listening!

The Chugach Mountains behind Anchorage might be as familiar as your bedroom wall, but they’re still big, rugged peaks with plenty of hard miles in them. Our guests on the next Outdoor Explorer have done those miles. We'll talk with mountain runners who have completed the 12-peak challenge, an incredible ultra-marathon that links a dozen summits in the front range on a single very long day. We'll also hear some personal stories about the local trails we cherish so much. Thanks for listening!

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll talk about otters and try to understand how they may have changed the coastal ecosystem. We’ll also meet a tribal leader in Sitka who is doing something about it, with a sea otter hunt that also provides furs for Native handicrafts, which seems to be bringing back shellfish.  Thanks for listening!

We have two visions of wilderness a bit different than the gritty version you’re used to hearing. In the first half, we’ll hear from an author and photographer who created a new book about Prince William Sound. We'll also hear about new ways for people with disabilities to get out and enjoy nature. Thanks for listening!

On this Outdoor Explorer we’re talking about art. Alaska’s nature is a powerful inspiration for many artists, like painter Steve Gordon.  Steve’s vivid images of birch trees and stream banks are among our favorites, capturing the light and grace of quiet places and somehow heightening the feelings they create. Steve will talk about how he makes those paintings and how his many years of boy scout camping trips influenced that work. Thanks for listening!