Happy New Year!   |  By Anna Hoke

I say Happy New Year, because it is thrilling that we are in a new year, full of possibilities. Unfortunately I find myself a little gloomy during this theoretically exciting time. The excitements of the holidays are over yet winter and darkness are still here as we grimace at our credit card bills and bank accounts.  The house is likely a disaster zone with wrapping paper and presents scattered about, and leftovers overflowing the fridge and making their way to the back deck for “refrigeration.”  If you have kids, you’ve probably stepped on a Lego or a misplaced screw, or something similar every day since Christmas and it smarts! Oh, and it’s time to take all those lights and decorations down that we so joyfully put up and nailed or stapled onto the house. Yes, grumble grumble…

So, during this time of year I try to focus on positive thoughts, make resourceful resolutions and get excited about the future year ahead. If all else fails to brighten my day, I just think of all the winter activities I can still partake in and then imagine that Spring is right around the corner, after I get my fill of cross country skiing, however long or far that might actually be. After all, there are an array of outdoor sports and activities that can make the short winter days go by even faster. A few times a year I like to ice skate or even walk around on the ice at the glacier starting at the Skater’s Cabin location. This provides brisk exercise with distractions such as the incredible views of the glacier, but be very careful when getting on the ice as there can be rockslides and glacial caving that can break the ice or leave it weak in places. As I mentioned earlier, cross-country skiing is an activity that I do all winter and also in the spring. I usually bring a small pack with some food and hot tea and have a winter picnic. There are many great locations to ski in Juneau and in Southeast and the same goes for snowshoeing!  Sledding is another activity that is fun for the whole family, unless of course you have a little too much excitement and end up with bumps and bruises or find yourself in a creek. There are some great sledding hills and communities here in Southeast, it gets the heart pumping and can lead to some great photo finishes and can end with a cup of hot cocoa.   Winter will end, so why not try to enjoy what’s left of it. Pull on those xtra tuffs, skis, skates, or shoes, don a hat and mittens, and go for it!

• Anna Hoke is the graphic designer and owner of Southeast Living Magazine. She can be reached at anna@seakliving.com.