Outsiders: Rachel Fredholm & Matt DeSpain

Posted: Sunday, August 20, 2006

Rachel Fredholm & Matt DeSpain

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Occupation: Co-owners Alaska Zipline Adventures.

Favorite outdoor activities: Zipping through the forest, skiing on fresh powder, camping with friends, rafting, throwing a frisbee, fishing, crabbing, cooking up gourmet meals, riding double on a longboard, boogie boarding.

Cool experience (Matt): "A few years ago, I hiked the longest slot canyon in the world (Buckskin Gulch/Paria Canyon, Utah) with Rachel and a couple of our friends. This hike was 23 miles long in one day, through waist-deep pools of water and quicksand. It also involved climbing and rappelling crazy rock walls. The views of the wind and water-swept canyons were amazing and it took until after midnight that day to finish the hike - navigating the way out with headlamps and compass. The next day we rented a boat and I led the group through the tiny inlets of nearby Lake Powell on the way to Rainbow Bridge to celebrate the accomplishment."

Close call (Rachel): "Two years ago, Matt and I spent the winter in Southeast Asia. We were climbing and snorkeling on some remote islands in Thailand. Then we decided on the spur of the moment to head into Laos. Right after we left, the tsunami hit the coast of Thailand, completely wiping out four of the villages we just visited. An amazing thing I learned from this experience was that a local gypsy tribe on the Surin Islands (one of my favorite places) called 'Mokken' survived the tsunami by reading the ocean. They spent their lives fishing from the ocean, so when they saw the tide go out drastically, they anticipated the magnitude of its return and called for all of their people to run for the mountains. If we could only be that in touch with our surroundings."

• Outsiders is a weekly profile in the Juneau Empire's Outdoors section.

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