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Michelle Theall

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Keep frostbite at bay There’s a saying: there’s no such thing as bad weather if you have the right gear. Because I run trips through the winter months to some of the most inhospitable places on Earth and have damaged a few piggy toes with frostbite, I’ve learned the hard way what it takes to stay safe and (almost) toasty in the frigid north. I photograph polar bears, auroras, and the Iditarod—all of which can be found above the Arctic Circle from October through March—when smart folks opt for the beaches of Hawaii and Mexico. But truly, those people are unnecessarily missing out—big time. I blame my frostbite on stupidity, of course, but also on the adrenaline and awe that numb my common sense. Despite jackhammer shivering and the icepick piercing stings of 30 below temperatures, I refuse to exchange what just might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a cup…

The evolution of an outdoor girl I thought I was a wild girl once. Not the boobies on the bar after Jell-O shots kind of wild, but a girl in her 20s who chose to live in the mountains alone, after growing up in three of the largest cities in the United States—sort of Where the Crawdads Sing meets Into the Wild, without the leeches or abandoned bus. Almost three decades ago, I packed up my new Nissan Pathfinder and two Texas-born huskies and drove 1,000 miles west from San Antonio to Boulder, Colorado, aching to find a place to call home. The Pathfinder, like me, looked ready for adventure, but with its rear-wheel drive suspension and Texas plates, it was an unprepared poser that was more apt to end up spinning on ice than summiting any peaks. It made all the sense in the world to seek refuge and…