The KUAC radio announcer said it was 16 degrees F at 8 a.m. when I prepared to walk to campus.

I put on my newly purchased Mountain Hardwear polartec baselayer under my pants. I donned the Goodwill-purchase wool and silk cardigan my friend Jeanene gave me before I left Oregon. I added a Mountain Hardwear red shell that Alice purchased for me on sale in Anchorage and the goose down purple sleeveless vest my neighbor Martha loaned me. I added a neck gator that Brian, the chair of the journalism department, loaned me and the hat Martha offered me.

I was ready.

No I wasn’t. I walked half a mile of the 3.8 miles from my cabin to campus before I turned around to change my shoes. I was wearing my Asics running shoes with cotton socks and my toes started to sting. I thought, oh, wiggle your toes. No big deal. Keep the blood moving. Ha! My toes quickly informed me there was no way they were going to make it to campus.

Back home, I put on a pair of thick wool socks and a pair of lined boots that Brian’s wife, Kate, loaned me. Much better.

In Alaska, the locals say it’s all about layering. I’m learning.

And I’m grateful to my friends who have given me the advice–and the layers to to help me follow it.

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