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General travel, North America, soul searching

Redefining Sexy by Brooke Edwards, Wild World Wanderings

September 15, 2017 • By

This is the first post as part of a new series featuring strong and determined women travelers and guides. Today’s guest author is Brooke Edwards of Wild World Wanderings on “redefining sexy”.

Fantasy aisle, Brooke Edwards in deep snow redefining sexy

Redefining Sexy

Alaska Girls Kick Ass reads the hot pink bumper sticker donning many a vehicle in the 49th State and beyond.  And it’s actually true, Alaska girls DO kick ass.  I truly feel honored to be a woman amongst some of the strongest, most athletic, interesting, hard-core, sexy, feminine, beautiful, talented Renaissance women of Alaska.

Being sexy here is not the curve of your breasts, nor is it what ridiculous amount of money you spent on designer jeans. Alaska Sexy is how a woman skis a more jaw-dropping line than most dudes. It’s how she rows the rapid and pulls over to catch, fillet and cook her salmon over a fire.  It’s how she owns the dance floor with wild confidence, secure in her own skin and extra tufts.  Alaska Sexy is a goggle tan and sunburned lips.

Alaskan women are wilderness guides, hunters, fisherwomen, carpenters, adventurers, endurance athletes and more. They build their own homes, catch their own fish, chainsaw their own firewood and fix their own trucks.

Fantasy Aisle, redefining sexy by Brooke Edwards, Brooke with skis on a mountainside

Photo Courtesy of Heather Thamm. Brooke

In 1998, life presented me a quandary: move to Montana to chase a boy, or embrace the wild unknown of my lifelong dream to go to Alaska and guide.  I chose the wild unknown, and, with what little savings I had, managed to purchase my first home: a small hippie shack dry cabin in a bog on railroad ties with the address Toadstool Turnpike, Girdwood.  Hearing that I would have to heat my cabin with wood and haul my own water, my dad gifted me his 25-year-old Stihl chainsaw with a big red bow on it as an early Christmas that year.  He wanted to provide me with the gift that heats you twice: gathering your own wood and burning it later.

Fantasy Aisle, redefining sexy, The Girls Gone Girwood logo on a t shirt

The Logo as part of Girls Gone Girwood

When I first moved to Girdwood, Alaska, I was expecting to find a bunch of dudes who fit the state saying “The odds are good, but the goods are odd.”  I steeled my resolve to keep my independent status while I survived being the fresh meat in town.  Instead, I found an incredible group of inspiring women, from boat captains to bush pilots, heli-ski guides to firefighters.  They took me in, taught me real skills that in 20 years of wilderness guiding in Alaska have proved invaluable.  Namely, skills that are hard to define, such as perseverance, tolerance for adversity and following your passion over money.

Fantasy Aisle, redefining sexy, girls of Girls Gone Girwood in skis on a mountainside, photo courtesy of Ralph Kristopher

Photo courtesy of Ralph Kristopher. Girls Gone Girwood

I am grateful for my Girls Gone Girdwood, the funny name we called ourselves back in the day.  Without the GGG, and other phenomenal women getting after it, I would still be struggling to redefine sexy from what society has stuffed down our throats–the airbrushed, manufactured, far-too-skinny magazine model female–to the different vision I embrace today; of strength, power and inner beauty shining from inside out.

To get a sense of what I’m talking about, check out this short 9 minute film highlighting two of my favorite girlfriends and mentors: Leighan Falley and Kirsten Kremer.

The last two summers, I was lucky enough to guide Colton Smith and Jack Steward with the TV show Rock The Park on ABC Saturday mornings.  One year, I took them on a remote river trip on the Aniakchak River where you fly into a lake in the crater of a volcano and raft it out to the ocean.  The next year, they asked me [to join them] for another adventure and this time we ventured on foot deep into the heart of the brutally rugged Arrigetch Peaks in Gates of The Arctic.

Their show is an educational TV show aimed at families with the mission of inspiring more folks to get out and enjoy our National Parks.  Their motto is “If we can do it, so can you!”  To me, this couldn’t have rung more true as I pondered the impact on little girls nationwide watching me, a woman, guide these young fit men in some of the wildest corners of our planet.  I thought to myself, “pay attention, girls: If I can do it, so can you.”

Here’s to redefining sexy and owning our power in the wilderness and at home, ladies.  Let’s Do This!

–Brooke

Brooke Edwards of Wild World Wanderings hails from the Great Pacific Northwest, where her passion for all things outdoors was born. Alaska has been her home for the last 20 years. You can find her year-round exploring mountains and rivers in both the vast wilderness of Alaska and international wild locales.  Brooke has an M.S. in Environmental Education with a primary focus on Ecotourism from The Audubon Expedition Institute. She’s spent over 2 decades incorporating these principles in her guiding.  Brooke would love to share her passion for all things travel by custom designing the perfect itinerary for you.

 


General travel, North America, Travel Tips

A Sample Alaskan Itinerary

August 28, 2017 • By

Alaska Travel Recommendations

These are my Alaska travel recommendations if you plan on visiting the state. This sample itinerary will give you an idea of where to stay, where to eat, who to consult for tour info, what to see, and where to go in this rugged paradise.

Alaskan Guide Extraordinaire:  Brooke Edwards, Wild World Wanderings

Girwood/Mt.Alyeska

Distance from Anchorage: 45 minutes by car

StayMt. Alyeska Resort

Eat: Seven Glaciers Restaurant, Jack Sprat

Do: Summer – Hike Mt. Alyeska (In Winter – Downhill ski, cross country, snowmobile), Kayak or Surf Turnagain Arm

Fantasy Aisle, alaska travel recommendations, Sea Lion Sightseeing with Kenai Fjord Tours

Sea Lion Sightseeing with Kenai Fjord Tours

Seward

Distance from Anchorage: 2 hours 40 minutes by car

Stay: Airbnb

Eat: Cookery, Chinooks, Safeway (yes, the grocery store)

Fantasy Aisle, alaska travel recommendations, The Halibut did not disappoint the Cookery in Seward

The Halibut did not disappoint the Cookery in Seward

Do: Kenai Fjord Tour, Hike nearby Exit Glacier/(Harding Icefield), Fish, Kayak, Sealife CenterAlaska Railroad

Fantasy Aisle, alaska travel recommendations, Rafting on the Kenai River at Cooper Landing

Rafting on the Kenai River at Cooper Landing

Cooper Landing

Distance from Anchorage: 2 hours

Eat & Stay: Kingfisher Roadhouse

Do: Hike Russian River Falls, Rafting & Fishing

Soldotna

Distance from Anchorage: 3 hours by car – Good half way between Anchorage and Seward. A good spot to buy groceries and supplies.

Stay: Sterling Needle Bed & Breakfast

Eat: Mykels,  Buckets Sports Grill

Do: Kenai River Salmon Fishing

Fantasy Aisle, alaska travel recommendations, Sockeye Salmon, a specialty at Little Mermaid in Homer

Sockeye Salmon, a specialty at Little Mermaid in Homer

Homer

Distance from Anchorage: 4 hour 30 minutes by car

Stay: Airbnb

Eat (give up the diet): Fat Olives, Little MermaidTwo Sisters Bakery, La Baleine Café, Wasabi’s Restaurant, Captain Pattie’s,  Saltry at Halibut Cove

Bar: Salty Dawg Saloon – Buy a beer and T-shirt to prove you were there

Do: Hike surrounding trails – Grewingk GlacierSaldovia, Halibut Cove, Kayak, Fish – Book a year in advance

Fantasy Aisle, alaska travel recommendations, My favorite restaurant in Alaska, The Wildflower Cafe

My favorite restaurant in Alaska, The Wildflower Cafe

Talkeetna

Distance from Anchorage: 2 hours 15 minutes by car

Stay: Airbnb, Roadhouse

EatWildflower Cafe – my favorite spot in Alaska, Roadhouse – breakfast & cinnamon buns

Do: Flightsee/Fly over Mt. Denali/Glacier Hike, River rafting

Fantasy Aisle, Fantasy Aisle, alaska travel recommendations, Denali Visitor's Bus only way to see Denali National Park

Denali Visitor’s Bus only way to see Denali National Park

Denali

Distance from Anchorage: 4 hours by car

Stay:  RV, Camping, Tonglen Lake Lodge – Luxury spot, Grand Denali Lodge – great location, shuttle bus, rooms need renovations but are clean

Eat: 229 Parks, Prospectors Pizza

Fantasy Aisle, alaska travel recommendations, Prospector's Pizza at Denali National Park

Prospector’s Pizza at Denali National Park

Do: Hike park trails, take tourist bus to view wildlife and glimpse park offerings, Dog Kennels, Eilson Visitor Center, Rafting Nenana

Fantasy Aisle, alaska travel recommendations, Wild Scoops in Anchorage, Alaska fun flavors like cardamon

Wild Scoops in Anchorage, Alaska fun flavors like cardamon

Anchorage

(Kelly’s note: Please do not waste any of your valuable time in Alaska in Anchorage)

Stay: Clarion Suites, Sheraton, Hilton, Captain Cook

Eat: Simon & Seaforts, Bridge Seafood – only open for dinner, Wild Scoops Ice Cream

Do:  Walk or bike Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, Anchorage Museum, Alaska Native Heritage Center

Fantasy Aisle, alaska travel recommendations, Anchorage, Cook Inlet from the Coastal Walk

Anchorage, Cook Inlet from the Coastal Walk

Did you enjoy my Alaska travel recommendations? Would you consider visiting the state? Or, if you have, do you have any recommendations of your own? I would love to know. Comment and leave some of your favorite places to visit or things to do in the 49th State.