The first time I remember coming home was in 1976. My husband Allan and I departed from Vermont and made way for Alaska via the Alcan in a pickup truck.

When we finally walked through the door, we had nothing but ‘Army green stain,’ records, a couple of duffel bags stuffed with clothes, a few weddings gifts, and a bit of maple syrup. Having always had a love for being outdoors whether running, climbing or skiing, it felt good to know that after that long trip that that’s where we were: home.

All the Johnstons together in 2015 (minus little Faith, who was born in the summer of 2016)

I’ve always felt the need to give back to our community for all that it’s given my family. Allan and I are fortunate to have been able to raise our three children here in Alaska. To this day we still love being outside together, exploring what our state has to offer amidst its vast natural beauty. We’re blessed to now have grandchildren and plan to do the same with them. I can’t imagine living anywhere else after a life full of the risk, reward, and adventure that only Alaska offers.

My daughter Merrick and I in 1995, after our journey up Denali she became the youngest in the world to summit America’s tallest mountain at the age of 12, while raising money for the Anchorage Center for Families

Today, Merrick has a family of her own and is a petrophysist. Here’s Allan and I with her and two of our grandchildren in 2016

Weddings are a big occasion in the Johnston household; included in the mix were JJ and Degland