When I checked my weather app yesterday, it “felt like” 114 degrees. Anchorage, Alaska, however, was 64 degrees. Our current heat wave is the only thing I can think about. I am on the verge of collaging pictures of glaciers. I carried a manuscript three blocks, and it started to fuse with my sweaty arm. I guess I have to take it on faith that cold places still exist, even if I am slowly melting. That’s where this reading list comes in: six stories about all the nuances of Alaska. Alex Tizon investigates a bizarre missing persons case. Eva Holland goes snowshoe-to-shoe with some of Alaska’s boldest babes. And newly minted memoirist Blair Braverman talks about her writing process and her team of sled dogs. Stay cool out there, readers.
By all accounts, Richard Thomas Hills and Richard Bennett never met, though they did not live far from one another. So how did their lives–or rather, their disappearances–become so tragically intertwined? Read more…
When I was 17, in my last year of high school, I took a statistics class. Notoriously bad at math, I braced myself for a semester of angst. Instead, I found that I understood the course material, loved my classmates and had great rapport with my teacher. Encouraged, I signed up to take the Advanced Placement statistics course and corresponding exam the next semester. My parents were understandably wary; they’d witnessed a decade of temper tantrums and failed math tests. But, I stood my ground. I wanted to take this class, and I did. The class was tough, but not impossible. I passed the exam. Now, almost a decade later, this is one of my proudest moments. No one thought I could do the thing, and I did the thing anyway.
My recent fascination with hiking is ridiculous: I am an indoor kid. I love Netflix, snacks, sleeping, that Bubble Spinner game and owning a thousand books. Sweating makes me panic. I have never gone on a run for fun. I’m scared of bugs and the dark. I’ve never peed outside. What possible success could I have on the trail?
I want to prove to myself that my soft, pale, weird body can do hard things. I want to rise to the occasion of living. I want to learn to love the outdoors before I get some life-altering injury, or become too addicted to my phone, or die, or something else. I want to be able to say, I did that. I can do that, too. I am strong. I am capable. Honestly, I don’t know if I’m stable or hardy enough to learn to love hiking, but I want to give it a fair shot. I owe myself that much.
I can’t hike right now (excuses, excuses) because I’m out of town for a wedding. So I’m reading about hiking. Below are seven stories about the outdoors, outdoor apparel, hiking buddies, bodily transformation, body image, abuse and sufferfests. Read more…
I need to tell you about the Cirque of the Unclimbables. Ever since I went there, I’ve tried to describe it to friends and family, tried to explain its power and its perfection. It is, I tell people, the best natural campsite I have ever visited. It’s also among the most beautiful eyefuls of landscape I’ve ever seen — its rock walls more overpowering than Zion’s, in Utah, its evening light more perfect than Hawaii’s, its peaks more menacing than Denali, and its stillness more complete than the deep rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula. It’s a place that forces me to reach for comparisons from fiction: It’s “Lord of the Rings,” I tell people. It’s Mordor crossed with the Shire.
Their friend had died while climbing, they said, and now here they were: climbing. They weren’t here because of his death, and they weren’t here despite it. They would continue to live their lives in the face of risk, just as he had lived his. But it was clear that the avalanche that had taken Cole’s life added another emotional layer to their journey, another bit of weight on their shoulders as they climbed.
–In SBNation, writer Eva Holland explores what it means to comprehend and embrace your limits — to know yet avoid the precipice between courage and humility — on a climbing expedition to the Yukon Territories’ famed Cirque of the Unclimbables.
“Football is a very simple barometer of a society,” says Paddy Agnew, an Irish Times correspondent and former RAI television commentator who has covered Italian soccer since the 1980s. “And if the red light is flashing in society, the red light is flashing in football. That’s what it is here, they’ve run out of petrol. This is a society — and it is not just football — that has stood still for 30 years.”
You can see many the troubles of Italian life through a lens of Italy’s favorite sport. A struggling economy exerts pressure on the country’s social fabric. High unemployment means plenty of young men living in their parents’ homes with little to do. To cope, many simply dive deeper into their calcio [Italian for football].