Ink and Light: “Winter Hunt” and Shakespeare’s Poem for Runners


Winter Hunt: Saker Falcon, Kustai National Park, Mongolia

Prized by falconers for their beauty and power, Saker Falcons are endangered due to black market trading and habitat loss. They are the national bird of Mongolia.

           (From) The Winter’s Tale 
      Jog on, jog on, the foot-path way,
        And merrily hent the stile-a:
      A merry heart goes all day,
        Your sad tires in a mile-a.
William Shakespeare – lines from The Winter’s Tale, 1623

In otherwise good health, Shakespeare (1564-1616) died 3 days shy of 52. Many of his plays were published posthumously. According to one source, Shakespeare’s death followed a night of heavy drinking with Ben Johnson and Michael Drayton. An apocryphal tale or not, all of his plays contain references to drink.

Pre-Workout Almond, Craisin, Chocolate, Honey Granola Bars

Granola Almond Energy Bars_n

Soft and chewy granola bars packed with helpful protein and complex carbohydrates are a tasty, energy-packed pre-workout snack.

At this time of year, many people are re-tooling their workout program or starting a new one. Two hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle, that part of life is no different. We mostly confine ourselves to the weight room and gym at our school for workouts. With typical days featuring windchill below zero, running means treadmill workouts. Jack likes running workouts on the treadmill. I am slowly becoming accustomed to them. Running gives us a little cushion in terms of burning calories so we can enjoy all the sumptuous meals we cook, and it keep us in shape for our active lifestyle.

The most convenient time for our workouts is after school – a time of day when we often need an energy boost. I thought about making some kind of cookie that was filled with nuts and raisins, envisioning something soft and chewy. I also wanted to use up some of the staples in our pantry. What resulted was a chewy bar stuffed with craisins, coconut, nuts, peanut butter and honey. A homemade version of sweetened condensed milk is the binding agent. We snacked on them before our workout today and thought they came out great: tasty and energy boosting!

I imagine that any dried berries or nuts could be used in this recipe. I’m already planning on baking up a few batches to take with us on our summer adventures hiking, fishing and boating around the Kenai Peninsula.

Granola Bars


  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup powdered non-fat milk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • honey


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish with parchment paper. Paper should go all the way up the sides of the dish.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together oats, nuts, cranberries, chocolate chips and coconut. Set aside.
  4. Using a blender, (I prefer an immersion blender), blend sugar, boiling water, and non-fat milk powder.
  5. Add butter and peanut butter to milk mixture. Blend until fully mixed.
  6. Add enough honey to bring liquid mixture to 16 ounces. Blend until fully mixed.
  7. Pour milk mixture into oat mixture and thoroughly mix.
  8. Press dough into baking dish.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Allow bars to cool for 5 minutes in pan.
  11. Lift bars out of pan by holding parchment paper. Set on a wire rack to continue cooling.
  12. Allow the bars to cool completely on parchment paper on a wire rack before cutting.
  13. Store cut bars in an airtight container.

Running North of the Arctic Circle

7 Mile Road pictured above is one of our Arctic “rave runs.” Our other choice is running along the frozen shore of the Arctic Ocean. Brrr!

Before moving to Alaska, Jack and I took part in about three “destination” half marathons each year. These runs took us to places such as California’s wine country, San Diego and vicinity, and the coastal redwood forests of northern California. But it’s now been two-and-a-half years since our last half marathon–the Salmon Festival Half Marathon in Cordova, Alaska in the summer of 2009. After that first visit to Alaska, our life became consumed with moving up here. Then, when we moved to Shishmaref, we managed to sit on our rear ends for the majority of the school year. We were painfully reminded of our lack of exercise during an embarrassing mile-and-a-half walk from the Nome airport into Nome last spring which was way more taxing than it should have been.

Fast forward to the present.

We both really enjoy the challenge of half marathons, a race just long enough to be physically challenging and mentally rewarding without being so long that the preparation consumes our lives or we’re left feeling overly whipped after the event. Aside from running halfs, our secondary goal has always been to stay fit enough that we are able to run five miles at the drop of a hat, or take off on a reasonably strenuous hike. With those goals in mind, we vowed to make changes in our fitness regimen when we moved to Point Hope.

Prior to the start of the school year, we managed to get in a couple of runs outside. But our options in a town paved in unforgivingly hard concrete and situated on a point of land carpeted in small rocks proved to be quite limited. And then there’s the weather… Luckily our school has a decent weight room equipped with two treadmills and an elliptical trainer.

Jack used his years of running experience to draw up a running schedule for us–one that would get us back in shape quickly without risking injury. I’ve always liked having a goal event to shoot for–a road race of some kind–but our summer schedule is still up in the air, and there aren’t a lot of races up here. The event we’re most likely to take part in is the Mayor’s Marathon and Half Marathon in Anchorage on the summer solstice. Otherwise, we might get out our maps and GPS, measure off our own course, give it a name and reward ourselves with the traditional beers and t-shirts once we’ve run it!

Even with goals set and schedules printed, honestly, running on the treadmill is BORING! We’ve loaded our iPod with podcasts and music, and one of our colleagues positioned the treadmills so people can run side-by-side and talk (just like the old days when Jack and I used to run the trails along the American River in Sacramento!). I also have audio books ready to upload to help combat my new nemesis. The other challenge (and this one is kind of ironic) is that I’ve always hated to run in the heat; our weight room, kept at a constant, breezeless temperature of 70 degrees means minimum running attire and lots of water. Ugh! The tiny fans on the treadmills put out a barely perceptible stream of air.

All that being said, it’s time to pack my workout bag, make sure my iPod has my latest running playlist and get ready to pretend I’m running on a cool morning in Maui!