The many years of Arctic Glass

The best of "Arctic Glass"
As blogs go, "Jill Outside" formerly "Up in Alaska" url "Arctic Glass" is beyond ancient. On November 3, it will turn seven years old. With the exception of a few friends, family, and my cat Cady, this blog is the only thing that has been a constant in my life for that long. (Even bodies regenerate an entirely new batch of cells every seven years.) It was a snowy evening in Homer, Alaska, when I first launched my blog on a whim, planning to use it to stay in touch with friends in the Lower 48 (this was 2005, the now-almost-unimaginable-pre-Facebook-era.) I figured I would post pretty Alaska photographs once a week or so, and maybe my mom would read it. Arctic Glass has since amassed 1,548 entries, 19,910 comments, 3,317,930 direct page views, and 2,840 Google subscribers. I couldn't even begin to guess how many words and photos fill this space ... suffice to say it's a whole lot. This blog is quite the obese oldster, so to speak.

I never diverged from my original intention for this blog, which is — and only is — a simple online journal. I don't sell ads. I don't publish how-to articles. I don't comment on politics or current events. I don't do gear reviews. I do consider commercial blogs to be worthy ventures, and while I have received many requests and offers over the years, I decided not to venture down this path. Arctic Glass is really just the story of my life — truncated, for sure, due to the content being largely restricted to my chosen theme (outdoor activity), the blog's public status, and my own time constraints. But even with these limitations, this blog has helped me generate a rich and cathartic record of my day-to-day life, which is why I continue to enthusiastically pour so much time and energy into it (even though its sheer obesity means that not even my mom has read the entire thing.)

Still, I believe that some of the content on this blog is worth revisiting. Which is why, under the urging of a trusted colleague, I worked on putting together a compilation of blog posts — the "Best of Arctic Glass." As with other projects amid my adventure-distracted lifestyle, this one took much too long to come together. And while I've been working on designing a photo-enriched physical book that I can actually afford to publish, more and more time keeps passing. Now what started as a "Six Years of Adventure" project is quickly approaching seven. As such, I decided to release the compilation in eBook form, which can be read on Kindles, iPads, or your home computer.

"Arctic Glass: Six Years of Adventure in Alaska and Beyond" is a collection of 33 essays from this blog, along with short commentary. The main question I get when I tell people about this book is whether any of the content is new. The answer is no. Yes, technically these essays are available for free somewhere on this blog (the key word, of course, being "somewhere." Even I had a hard time finding many of the posts I wanted to include.) What the eBook offers is a succinct timeline, as well as a thorough culling of 1,548 posts to get to the good stuff. Photos are not a prominent part of the eBook, but there are a few. If you're a new reader of this blog and curious about the backstory, or a long-time reader of the blog who missed a few years here and there, I think you would enjoy this book. It's a measly $2.99 on Amazon and iTunes, and your purchase will help me stay gainfully funemployed long enough to finish my other writing projects. Or waste more time pursuing yet more adventures. Hopefully both.

As for the full photo book, I plan to keep working on that. Given all of the adventures I've been trying to cram into the remainder of this year, as well as renewed determination to finish my "A" project before the year is out — it might be a while yet. But for now, you can find "Arctic Glass: Six Years of Adventure in Alaska and Beyond" at these links:

Amazon Kindle
For iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch via iTunes
PDF and other formats via Smashwords


  1. Oh honey, I was heading over to Amazon to get it before you even had the link in the post. Reading your blog over all these years (I think I've been looking for 4? 5? who knows? years) has helped shape my hopes and adventures as a person, right along with Kent Petersen and Catra Corbett.

    You've always managed to write in such a way that I feel like I should go out there and do something no one has done before, and I have done some of that. I read portions out to my friends, and I read Be Brave, Be Strong at least 3 times cover-to-digital-cover when I was working on a particularly difficult project in Chile.

    Your adventures have inspired me through so many stages of my life- hopeful, married, divorced, working in a tech startup, working for a big company, living in Austin, living in Boston entirely too long, living in Santiago, Chile, now living in Sydney, biking, running, joining an amateur circus- all of this and it's all still relevant. I wish I could fly around the world and hand you a bag of peanut butter cups along a trail somewhere, because I owe a lot of this adventure to reading your stuff. Thank you.

  2. And so it shall be, just a story of a life. I find blogs loose once they change from this simple venue to something even a bit more complicated. Good luck with everything - including Bear!

  3. Awesome! Got it on my phone right now!

  4. Awesome! I think I've been reading your blog since you lived in Homer. Which is to say....a long time.


  5. Thank you! I really appreciate your support.

    Hellpellet — great to hear from you again! You probably don't remember this, but you were one of the readers who donated a few dollars to my sponsored miles Susitna 100 fundraising effort back in December 2005. I admit that whole thing was silly but it really spurred me toward both training and committing to that race, which changed my life in so many good ways. Plus I was able to donate about $300 to Livestrong. So thank you! I'm glad you're still around.

  6. Jill

    Great stuff. £1.53 well spent.

    Enjoy Bear.


  7. I already read it to make sure I was mentioned in there somewhere :p

  8. Everything Undersharing said.
    This blog is good stuff and amazing photos too.

  9. I've been reading your blog since you did that 24 hour race (I think it was) in Canada, and you arrived with fenders on your bike, which your friends promptly took off. I remember that, but not when it was. Go figure!

    Wanted to mention that your biography on Amazon says: "She currently works as a magazine editor in Missoula, Montana." as the last sentence. Figured you might want to update it. :)

  10. Just finished Ghost Trails so I'm happy to see there's another book!

  11. I think I mentioned recently that I'm reading your blog in two ways. I'm reading the current posts as they're made, and I'm also reading old posts, working my way from the start. I'm now at December 2007 in that process. (Actually I first went back and found and read the Tour Divide posts, and then decided that I liked your blog enough to read the whole thing.)

    So anyway, forgive me if I don't buy the new book, since it's a subset of what I'm reading anyway. I do have Ghost Trails on my Christmas list.

  12. I read this last month on a cabin trip and had trouble putting it down even though I had read all the blog posts before. There's something about your writing I just find so honest and inspiring.

  13. Thank you Jill! You don't know me but I feel I know you better than I know most (any?) of my (other?) friends. After reading your books (at least twice) I decided to go on my first multi-day bike ride since I was 14 (i.e. 30 years ago). As I read much of your blog I began to lose weight. During a business trip to San Francisco I was compelled to rent a mountain bike one afternoon to ride up Mt. Tam and through the Marin Headlands. I remember thinking "this could be the fire road where Jill had her accident before the TD." Then I enrolled in my first 12-hour bike race, bike-packed the Maah-Daah-Hey trail, and started trail running. Coincidence? I think not.

    I bought your new book last night and am loving it too. Who knows what it will inspire me to do next... :-) Anyway, whatever you publish in the future - please know you can count me in!

  14. Purchased and looking forward to reading this weekend! I love your writing and your enthusiasm for the outdoor life - always a pleasure to read.

  15. Jill, I think you are the longest-surviving link on my own blog which itself is going on nine years. When I started, I think I was using dial-up.

  16. YAY!!! Can't wait to read it. I'm always waiting for a new book from you! Going to buy it right now! :)

  17. Sheesh...being one of the 3 people on the planet older than 7 who doesn't have an iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle, nor any other form of reading e-type books, I'll just have to wait for the (gasp! PAPER!) version to come out. They do make those still, don't they?

  18. dinglearm9:59 AM

    Jill, I've been following you for awhile and I'm glad you put out another read.....keep it up.

  19. Good luck with the blog/book(s)! One of the many reasons I like it is to keep track of all these great places to visit or trails to run and ride etc. On that topic, if you have nothing better to do this coming Saturday, we are having our Henry Coe 100 - aka Hard COEre 100 - mtb party again...

  20. I started blogging around the same time you did, and for similar reasons...a journal for half a dozen riding buddies. It was also cool in the early days, because there was a small cycling blogging community. We'd all stop at each other's blogs each day and leave a comment. I got to know most of these people better than I did my own neighbors. Much different today with a wide audience, and knowing that the local newspaper might run one of my stories. I always pick my words and sentences carefully now. Not too many have stuck with it, and Facebook has made it way too easy to slack off. Glad you're still writing away!


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