Man! I am so sick of posting contributor reviews. Don’t get me wrong, my reviewers are highly valued. Still, I’ve been working on posting contributor reviews for hours and it’s more fun to write, so I’ll take a break and make this earth-shattering blog post.

I get a lot of comments on the following two pictures. They look pretty rad and epic and mountaineer-y, right? I quite like them, myself. But with my traditional sense of the irreverent, I thought I would use them to shatter some outdoor blog myths.

I hate to break it to the admiring public, but most pictures on outdoor blogs look pretty awesome, but are really taken in fairly everyday situations. I’ve seen catalog and print magazine photos taken by friends in areas I hike to at least twice a month with very little effort. Their pictures (which are naturally MUCH better than anything I can take) make everything look so epic and hardcore; it’s quite funny to me when I recognize the terrain and think “ha! I skied that run five times after work yesterday.” They get dozens of comments from non-Alaskans about the amazing terrain and incredible skill it must take to do what they are doing.

Don’t get me wrong; there are definitely people out there posting legit pics and representing in the backcountry like the hardwomen and men they are. But most of the time? Pfffft, no. People are just artfully arranging their photographs to make them look as if they are doing something 50 times as hard as what they’re actually doing.

I suppose I should buy into that and start posting pictures of me doing seemingly amazing feats of backcountry adventure. But meh. I don’t have the energy to be a poser. I may as well tell the truth. Have a gander at these pics, one of which I use for my Twitter icon as well as a featured image on the homepage:

Those pictures were taken on a regular after-work evening dog walk around the Anchorage Bowl area, near the most-climbed mountain in Alaska, frequented by flip-flop wearing, unprepared tourists galore. I still have my work makeup on which is why my eyes look so good. In the second pic, what looks at first glance like a climbing rope is actually a dog leash. If you look close you can see the city in the distance behind me. We were about ten minutes’ walk from the parking lot. It was super cold, I’ll give you that, and there are a number of people who still manage to get lost in that area within sight of the city lights, but generally it’s pretty safe and surrounded by people. It was just a regular day out, goofing off in the snow, yet I ended up with pictures that evoke extreme conditions and general adventure.

This one was from a random scamper up the side of a mountain on a bluebird winter day. If you’re from Alaska you’ll recognize the area. If you’re not you’ll think I’m a badass:

My point is this: don’t look at any such pictures and think you can’t do it, that it’s out of your reach. 90% of these types of sites and photographs are smoke and mirrors and are designed to make you think you CAN’T get there without a lot of effort and skill. Mostly that’s not true. Sometimes it is, though – you just have to learn how to tell the difference.

In the meantime, rest assured that all of the other pictures I post are really of me doing totally badass things. Really.