Enjoying the beauty of life (Lake Clark, Alaska).
We made it home safe and sound (well, maybe not sound, as we are still trying to adjust to the HOT weather and face reality again!) yesterday afternoon. It was nice coming home in the afternoon; we had time to unpack, do laundry, put Keenan down for a nap (he was SO tired from all of the traveling, poor little guy!) and get to bed early. It was a LONG day of traveling…we had to be at the airport at 5:00 a.m. for our flight (not fun)!
It is good to be home, but at the same time, I kind of miss being in Alaska. It was nice to be completely remote without any communication with the rest of the world (no phones, internet or TV). It allowed us to appreciate the simple things that we often forget in the hustle and bustle of life, and most importantly, it allowed us to truly spend quality, uninterrupted time together as a family: Rolling logs down the lawn, picking wild strawberries and blueberries with Keenan, smelling the flowers, fishing, enjoying the sounds of nature, getting excited when a bald eagle landed on the lawn in front of my in-law’s lodge to eat the remains of the fish I caught, playing board games and reading. It made me realize what is truly important in life: Family, health, faith, food and shelter. Everything else is not that important (if at all).
I was fortunate to meet a native Alaskan man the night before we left my in-law’s lodge to fly back to Anchorage. After talking with him, I saw the world so differently. His worries are so different than ours. He has to worry about staying safe from bears or moose, picking enough wild blueberries to freeze for the winter, catching enough fish to freeze and/or smoke to feed his family, providing a safe house for other native kids who live in a horrible household, and finally having enough money to put a roof over his family’s head. Having a car or the latest technology is foreign to him. Wearing the newest clothes is not important, as long as you have them to stay warm. We (myself included) too easily get caught up in the game of life, needing the latest cell phone, computer, TV, new car, or new clothes, but is that what really matters in the grand scheme of things? Does that new cell phone add value to your life and to your family’s life? Or, is it taking time away from your family because you are spending too much time on it? Is materialism and consumerism the essence of modern life?
Here is a recap of our trip:
Leaving for Anchorage (actually Seattle; we had a layover before getting on another plane to head to Alaska).
Keenan was SO excited to fly on a “big airplane!” If you are wondering why my eyes are red and somewhat puffy, I had an allergic reaction to a new eyeliner that I tried the day before.
Leaving for my in-law’s lodge at Lake Clark, an hour and 15 minutes Southwest of Anchorage, in a little plane.
Keenan was SO tired and SO silly!
The view from the small airplane was incredible! Here are few pictures that I captured. Keenan had a great time on the plane ride (despite being OVERLY tired), playing with a few native kids who sat behind us!
A glacier runoff into the lake.
- The beautiful Lake Clark.
Our little plane!
Once we arrived at my in-law’s lodge, we had dinner, put Keenan to bed, relaxed for a bit, bathed in the sauna and went to bed. It was a VERY LONG day of flying. Our flight in Sacramento left at 9:20 a.m. and we arrived in Lake Clark at 7:30 p.m. Alaska time (they are one hour behind us). We traveled for 12 hours and Keenan, once again, was a trooper. He was a great traveler! He slept part of the way from Seattle to Anchorage which was nice! It also helped that I had some episodes of “Elmo’s World,” “Shaun the Sheep” and “Timmy Time” on my nook to keep him entertained for a while!
Keenan being silly on the little plane to my in-law’s lodge! I just had to take a picture!
After getting unpacked and settled the next day, we headed in the boat to go across the lake to visit my in-law’s friends and introduce Keenan. Keenan was a little unsure of the boat, but once we were in it, he had a good time. After that first boat ride, he couldn’t wait to go again! Once we got home, we enjoyed some relaxing time, playing with Keenan and cooking, since the weather was bad. It was raining for the first 3 days that we were there, providing a great excuse to rest and relax, which we all needed.
Helping Daddy drive the boat with Grandpa!
- Play time!
The next day we went fishing (in the rain) for Pike and my husband caught one, but I only had a few bites. I love fishing for Pike (aka Fresh Water Barracuda) because they jump up to bite your bait. They have huge mouths with razor sharp teeth. It is fun and exhilarating! Keenan was mesmerized with the fish my husband caught. He was so focused on watching my husband reel in the fish, unhook it and put it in the bucket to bring home. In the afternoon, my husband created a WOD for us which included sprinting down the runway (3,000 ft), throwing logs down and up a hill in the lawn and doing 25 pushups for three rounds. It was a good workout, especially doing it in pouring down rain! For dinner, we baked the Pike and made “Pike pasta” with a garlic cream sauce. It was SO yummy! Sorry, I completely forgot to take a picture of our dinner.
Keenan ready to go fishing in the rain, wearing his make-shift “waterproof pants” out of a kitchen garbage bag that Daddy made (which actually worked quite well)!
After another day relaxing at the lodge and playing outside with Keenan, we headed up the river to fish for Grayling (which I caught two!), had a picnic and found a moose and bear print for my mother-in-law to do a print with Keenan’s boot and hand out of Plaster of Paris. It was a fun day! When we got back, Keenan rode on the four-wheeler with Daddy, which he loved! While Keenan was napping, my husband and I went kayaking, since it was such a beautiful day. That night, we baked the Grayling that I caught, flaked out the meat and made pizza, using Arugula, pancetta, caramelized onions and goat cheese! Again, I forgot to take a picture of our pizza, sorry!
The view heading up the river!
- The first Grayling that I caught!
The second Graying that I caught!!
The weather was stormy again, so we all lounged around the lodge and did some more reading and relaxing, while my mother-in-law and Keenan made bread! He loved being my mother-in-law’s “Baking Assistant!”
Baking bread with Grandma!
- “Show me the measuring cup!”
Kneading or rather, “punching” the dough to relax it a little before letting it rest.
A couple days later we headed across the lake again to check the mail and visit with my in-law’s friends (who sure enjoyed Keenan!). Later that day, Keenan helped Grandpa mow the lawn.
Riding the tractor (mowing the lawn) with Grandpa!
The day before we left, we did some Pike fishing again, and this time, I caught two fish! We tried to get a picture, but my husband accidentally let it go (you can sort of see the mouth of the Pike before I reeled it in). Keenan also fished this day, using a little pole that my in-law’s had. He had a ball, saying “Fishing like Mommy and Daddy!” He didn’t catch anything because we didn’t put a hook on it, but he certainly learned how to drop the line in the water and reel it in.
Keenan fishing with Grandpa.
- The first Pike that I caught!
On our last day at the lodge, we packed up and headed back to Anchorage to drive down the cost to Seward. It was a cute little seaside town with a wonderful Sea Life Center. We stayed in Seward for two nights, visiting the Sea Life Center (seeing Puffins, a baby Walrus, lots of neat colored fish, seals and sea lions), hiking up to a glacier, eating WONDERFUL seafood and shopping. It was a nice little getaway before flying back to Sacramento. I highly recommend visiting Seward, if you are traveling to Alaska!
Keenan had to hug the bear outside of a store in Anchorage. It was too cute!
The family, after hiking to the top of the glacier in Seward!
Our little family with Keenan in the Ergobaby Carrier (the best thing ever when traveling, hiking or just going shopping!).
Keenan driving the boat in the little play area at Seward’s Sea Life Center!
Horsing around in the car (Keenan wearing my sunglasses) on the drive back to Anchorage from Seward!
We arrived in Sacramento yesterday and Keenan wanted to help with the luggage. Once we got home, Keenan was so exhausted, he slept for 2 hours!
Helping with Grandpa and Grandma’s luggage (cooler filled with frozen fish)!
Sound asleep after a long day of traveling!
It was a fun two weeks! We all had a great time and Keenan saw a lot of wildlife and learned so much. It was fun to see the world through his eyes! Now, it’s back to reality for us (which started with CrossFit this afternoon that wiped us out!). Time for bed and on to tomorrow…