Is it really May already? As I sit here with my little one who is snoozing while the spring showers are an actual torrential downpour pounding on my freshly power washed porch, I ponder how our impending summer will be. Will it be a good berry season? Will the bugs be bad? And most importantly, will we get some sunny days? I am really looking forward to this summer as my little one nears a year old. I cannot wait to share with her all the childhood activities I grew up doing in Southeast Alaska. Here are some of my favorites:

The beach: I was lucky enough to grow up a short walk away from Lena Beach and boy did I spend a lot of days there in the summer. We did all sorts of things at the beach from rafting and swimming, to fishing and beach combing. Beach combing was always fun because it went hand in hand with fishing. It was always exciting to find lures that were left behind by a caster who had snagged some seaweed and cut their line.

Fishing and boating: Ah yes, my first love. I started fishing and boating at a very young age which developed into one of my favorite past times. We spent a lot of time on the boat and also a lot of time with casting rods at the beaches. Typically during our casting sessions we only caught double uglies, and seaweed, and we certainly lost more lures than fish that we caught on the beach but it was fun all the same. 

Wild and garden edibles: as an out the road kid who also grew up next to a Master Gardner there was always wild and garden edibles to be picked and/or eaten, or thrown at each other during an occasional blueberry war. We loved the typical wild edibles such as blueberries, huckleberries, and salmon berries. We also had an enormous raspberry patch full of buzzing bees and delicious fruit! When we got bored with that we had our choice of rhubarb, apples, cherries, peas, chives, and one sunny summer we even had corn! The garden wasn’t always fun and games though, we always had the option to earn a little money weeding which was a nice way to do a chore outdoors.

Tree climbing and bushwhacking: not always the safest childhood activity as we all learned in our own way. There is always risk when climbing, and a number of neighborhood kids, including myself have found ourselves covered in mud after a tree tumble. And of course when exploring in the forest there are sticks that can scratch and devils club that can poke. I spent a number of evenings soaking devils clubbed hands in hot water to be tweezed out later. I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by acres of undeveloped land. My brother and I, along with the rest of the neighborhood kids, spent countless hours in the woods. We would create imaginary worlds while collecting rocks, moss and anything we thought was unique. We created our own landmarks for ponds or meadows we discovered and our own paths to get there.

These are just some of the things I remember doing to pass the time in the great outdoors. It was a wonderful world of no cable, Internet, or smart phones. Our creativity and imaginations ran wild and I attribute those experiences to my creativeness in adulthood. So please, go out and enjoy the outdoors, because before we know it, we will be complaining about winter again.

Anna Hoke is the graphic designer and owner of Southeast Living Magazine. She can be reached at