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September 7, 2015 Air Force, Alaska, Kayak, Sailing, York River

The Zen of the Great Outdoors

Here’s what the Zen of the Great Outdoors can do for you. Amy and Jeff Guyer look like newlyweds but have been married 25 years. They spent nine years in Alaska and enjoyed it all. Now they’re taking lessons to learn how to sail.

“We were in Anchorage, where the sun comes up around 10ish and goes down around 3ish, so it isn’t that dark,” Amy said while sailing the York River with Corinna Caldwell. “And the sun doesn’t completely set, either, it’s more like dusk.” Jeff added, “Fairbanks is more north and much darker and colder, down to 40 below. Anchorage is quite civilized. We have office buildings and Home Depot and restaurants and many of the stores you find here.”

They supported the idea that sunlight is a big factor in one’s attitude. “You find a summer day completely filled with activities,” Jeff said. “You wind up flipping burgers and realize it’s 10 pm and need to go to bed.” “By contrast,” Amy added, “in winter some people won’t go outside because it’s so dark. You’ve got to get out there and live.”

Here’s a list of what they participated in outdoors: skiing, cross country, fishing, kayaking, hunting, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. I was showing them how to find a marina by following other boats. Jeff recalled, “We saw that once on a frozen lake to go ice fishing. We followed a guy in a pickup truck until he crashed through the ice. Then we stopped following him.”

Amazing but true, the capital of Juno is still only accessible by air or water – no roads. “They’ve talked about moving the capital, but in a way it’s a good thing because they’re trapped there during the political session. So they have to get something done, and they have few distractions.”

Amy is a realtor and Jeff is retired Air Force specializing in locomotive mechanics. He works for Everett Railroad in central Pennsylvania. “It’s a small railroad with 21 miles of track that does freight work and tourism, with emphasis on steam locomotion.”

Amy and Jeff took to sailing quickly as they adapted to heeling in stiff winds gusting to 20 mph as the waves pushed the aft of the boat into a surfing condition. She sat in the catbird seat while on a long run and pondered the Zen of sailing, the moment of present time that ignores the past and future. “There’s so much water around us,” Amy said of the Virginia Peninsula. “It seems a waste not to go out on it. It’s very relaxing, and yet you’re busy doing something all the time.”

They’re looking to buy a sailboat once they get the hang of it. They’re ready.

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