Truths to Live By with Anchorage Pack Leader, Anna Ferntheil

Anna is our newest pack leader, located in Anchorage, Alaska. Get to know her through our recent Women Who Howl interview. Keep up with Anna on her Instagram page, or connect with her in the Anchorage, AK pack group

How do you Howl in your daily life?

I am always learning-about life and myself. It is crazy how after almost 3 decades of being with myself 24/7, I still find myself reacting, thinking, or feeling new ways, sometimes that are unexpected. The noise of modernized life often clouds my ability to see myself or a situation clearly- that is where getting outside becomes critical. Leaving all the noise of life behind and finding solitude is crucial to my ability to sanely function in life. 

 What are some truths you live by?

Don't ever make a decision based on your fear. If it's scary, it is probably worth doing, so don't back away and regret it later.

Kindness seems to be taken advantage and unimportant these days. That makes it more important than ever to be kind to others-no matter how many times people misinterpret your kindness for "you are weak and I can take advantage of your kindness and walk on you."

There are multiple sides to every story-no one ever has all the answers or the whole picture. Be careful when you judge someone or a situation. 

Tell us about a time you pushed your limits in the outdoors?

Oh jeeze - too many times. I am the kind of person who is always looking for the next challenge-and tend to find them, usually by accident. I am always looking for new things to try, sometimes with little more guidance than reading a few articles on it. Let me preference this with a disclaimer: I do a lot of training to be prepared for unexpected situations in the outdoors: I go out with a plan and have medical and emergency training in a variety of areas; I.e. In my downtime I prepare for the unexpected the best I can so I don't end up in a really bad spot. 

I took my Avalanche 1 class having barely skied in powder before-that was brutal. I tore my ACL in the backcountry and walked down the mountain to the car because I didn't want to get rescued. I went winter camping for the first time in a blizzard and only packed a 3 season tent-I woke up covered in snow but thankful the tent didn't break. I couldn't find anyone to lead an ice climb and I wanted to climb-so I just showed up and lead my first climb with my girlfriend who had never been ice climbing before to belay me (I had mock lead before and do have extensive training in setting anchors and rope work). Then there's all the times I wanted to go hiking but the weather was terrible and I went anyway. That one time I drove to Valdez to climb a multi pitch WI5 ice climb-it was my first time climbing waterfall ice. 

What are some books that inspire you?

I read Jack London's "The Call of the Wild" in elementary school. I loved the wild free spirit described in that book which ultimately led me to live in Alaska. 

Share one quote that you love.

"Never let your fear decide your fate"

Why do you want to be a Pack Leader?

In a sense, I have been filling the role of a Howl Often Pack leader for a long time. I love to meet new people, learn from them, and in return inspire and empower them to be even better. When I learned that Howl Often was looking to expand, I thought it was a great opportunity to expand both myself and Howl Often into a larger community. 

What is something that is unique about you?

My versatility in a huge variety of situations. I am just as comfortable on a rock wall, emergency scene, ski hill, construction site, presenting to a group in a professional setting, or even remodeling a house.