Carol Bontekoe

This blog has been keeping track of my adventures since 2004. The stories and the adventures have come from my college dorm room to Uganda, Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan, learning Dutch in the Netherlands to living in the wilds of Homer, Alaska. I went back to school in Amsterdam to study Theaterwetenschap (Theatre Science) at University of Amsterdam. And now my adventures as a Fruit Fly, a Sexy Unicorn, and creating a movement with Team Sparkle in Chicago.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Growing up in Michigan I would often spend my winters imagining myself in some far off land. As I grew older the imaginings became more sophisticated. I imagined myself in a Paris bistro, African safari even strolling along the great wall of China. However, when I was very little my world of imagination wasn't that grand and I got through winter imagining myself in as far off of a land as I could imagine: Alaska. I had seen a documentary about it on PBS. Growing up PBS was my window to what was "out there."
I know it seems a bit odd to imagine yourself in an even colder and harsher environment than you are already in. I did it because it made me feel tough. Rugged in fact. A real bad ass. There was a ditch at the end of our yard that would freeze and become my entery into my Alaskan Adventures. I would trudge through the snow and by the time I had gotten to that icy ditch I was in Alaska. I had places to explore. Animals to see. Dangers to survive. By the time I reached the end of my icy path I had survived a plane crash, fought of grizzlies, and now found myself desperately trying to find a civilization of some sort to let them know I was alive. The journey normally came to an abrupt end as the short winter sun settled in for the night and I was forced to make a B-Line for home, before any real dangers set in.
Although I eventually stopped pretending I was in Alaska every time I went out in the snow I still couldn't help but imagine myself moving to Alaska and proving that I could be a rugged as the best of them. So, here I am in Alaska. Homer, Alaska-a place that is considerably less rugged than the environment I grew up in in Northern Michigan. Between my wireless Internet, the little coffee shops, brewery, art galleries, winery, all-green library, meadery, Chinese buffet, respect for performing arts, bicycle shops, yarn store and a respected museum it can be difficult to remember that I'm in Alaska. It was very dark when I first arrived but there is more sun everyday and I never had a nicer day(weather wise) on my birthday than I did up here.
I sometimes need a reminder I'm in Alaska, the mountains are great at reminding me. Fisherman in a shabby saloon help, so do the eagles. However, the other day I needed and activity to remind me and to connect with something I often imagined myself doing on those wintry days of my childhood- snowshoe walking.
In town they will rent you snowshoes for free. I rented a pair for myself and the five year old I take care of(I only rented some for her because she was with me and assumed she was getting some too). I decided we should use them to go for a walk along the trail system around Homer. We were warned over and over again to be careful of moose- YES! Dangerous Moose! Look at me being rugged in Alaska- and to have fun.
We didn't seen any moose but we saw some Austrian Skiers-almost as dangerous. We may have been on a trail system and never very far from other people or our car, but I didn't know that. I thought we were no where near our car, until our walk back and I could see it was rarely out of view. Also, I was on the look out for moose-rugged.
While snowshoe walking with a five year old maybe not even make the rugged meter it made me feel like I was that kid again, only this time I actually was in Alaska.

Somethings that help remind me I'm in Alaska:

Something that made me forget surfers on my birthday-February 20th:


  1. Anonymous said...

    I still can't believe there were people surfing in Alaska. That's about as badass as you can get!