“Everybody out, every day,” in Port Alsworth, Alaska
Megan Richotte isn’t afraid of getting dirty. She knows that playing outside with her family might result in more laundry, but she doesn’t care. It’s all part of the fun.
“We have a saying in our house...’everybody out, every day.’ We do it as a regular part of the routine in the warmest part of the day,” she explains. “For us that time is 3:30 in the afternoon after quiet time for our four-year old and nap time for our 21-month old. There is no argument. They know that's what we do.”
What they’re doing is carrying on with a family tradition that was instilled in Megan by her parents. Megan comes from a family that hiked, camped, fished, walked, ran, rode bikes, played in the yard, and participated in organized sports.
“My mom ran or walked every day,” Megan says. “It was part of the fun we had together.”
Now the mother of two young daughters herself, Megan is making sure that her children will have the same wonderful memories as she does when they grow up.
“I think being outside and active is critical to being a happy, healthy person,” she says. “I just can’t imagine life without it, and I want my kids to know the joy and healthy body that comes with it.”
To Megan, being physically active is fun alone, but it’s also fun as a family. She sees it as a great way to develop meaningful relationships with friends and family, but also a good way to just have some time alone to decompress.
“It helps us experience the world, to appreciate what is larger than ourselves. It keeps us healthy and fit and brings us joy,” she says.
And it’s easy to understand her feelings of appreciation for something larger than herself. Megan and her family live in the tiny, remote community of Port Alsworth, on the breathtaking shores of Lake Clark within Lake Clark National Park and Preserve in the Chigmit Mountains of Alaska.
“What we do just depends on conditions. And, of course, where we live,” Megan says.
We asked Megan to tell us her approach to staying active in such a wild and remote area.
Here are Megan’s family’s top 10 favorite activities, provided in Megan’s words:
- Long hike in the warm sun. This works great when it is above 20 degrees but when there is still a lot of packed snow on the trail. We take the sled and the pack. I pull and carry kids as needed to the top of a three-mile loop behind our house. Then they run and walk home.
- Skiing. Our four-year-old loves to ski. She has real equipment now and knows how to use it!
- Ice skating/boot skating. When the ice is good we take them down to the bay and skate. Our 21 month-old loves to boot skate in her snow boots using the "walker" we got for the kids to learn to skate with.
- Supper Zoom. This is what we call going for a trike/bike ride.
- Hide and Seek in the woods.
- Going searching. We all love going for walks when we are headed out to find something. In the spring, we like to go listen to the migratory birds singing.
- Building ... snowmen, forts, snow angels, etc.
- Mud pictures. When the mud is just right, we get sticks and draw pictures, write letters and shapes, and make tracks.
- Magic drawing. We hike down to the lake, where we get sticks, dip them in water and draw on the rocks with the water. Then we can watch the magic ink disappear! And, of course, any time there are rocks and a lake involved, there must be some throwing.
- Break-up puddle play. Ignore the laundry created and head out in the sunshine to get wet and muddy!