Some people choose vacations by what feels most relaxing to them, such as beautiful beaches or beautiful mountains, and it seems that we choose ours by national treasures that may not be here for much longer! We’ve visited the Hoo Doo’s in Bryce Canyon, the glaciers in Glacier National Park, and another favorite, Yellowstone, which as we speak is in another climate emergency with significant flooding and rescues.
We recently sold Alice, our beloved Airstream, which was emotional for us. We realized during covid we didn’t camp as much as we would have liked, and with busy teenagers, it’s more difficult to plan ahead to camp, which has become a requirement. Plus, we want to travel abroad. We are thankful for the beginning and ending our our Airstream adventures and all the years in between. Each memory grew us as a family, and we wouldn’t change a thing!
This year, we chose to visit Alaska! Brady wanted to go out of the country, but we weren’t sure what covid waves would look like and didn’t want to get stuck. It was a super long flight to Anchorage, but a beautiful landing.
We arrived to our rental, where our hosts remembered that this spring/summer Steven and I celebrated our 20th anniversary, Piper turned 13, Steven turned 47, and Brady will be 16 in a few weeks! Lots of milestones. Balloons were a sweet touch to make us feel welcome, along with a basket of goodies, including local chocolates. We are staying in the basement of the owner’s house, Mercedes and Jim, and they are very kind. The flower gardens are beautiful, and Mercedes thought of everything we may possibly need, including bear spray for hiking.
We are staying a mile from downtown Anchorage, so easily walkable. Alaska is a 4-hour time difference from NC, and the long days! There are only 4 hours of dusk, meaning the sun doesn’t set until nearly 12pm, and it rises again around 4am. We have blackout shades on our windows, but it is a struggle to convince yourself to sleep! Steven and I have been rising early, and also going to bed early. Brady is our night owl, so he adjusted quickly to late nights and late mornings!
Walking downtown, we met Star, a local celebrity. She is a pet reindeer in an enclosure. It was equally as amazing to see her in the middle of town, as it was sad for her to not be out roaming in the wilderness. I am sure her owners, who live next door, take good care of her.
We explored the city, and found really great local restaurants, including 49th State Brewing. We sat outside and I ordered a king crab sandwich with seafood chowder. It was so rich, and worth every bite! We ate a few times at Snow City Cafe, where Brady and Piper loved the french toast and Steven and I loved the omelettes. And, the visit wasn’t complete without a trip to the International House of Hot Dogs. They had reindeer, buffalo, chicken and vegetarian hot dogs with an amazing twist…Italian, Asian, you name it! It was really a fun food truck.
We went to the shipwreck bridge to watch fishermen catching salmon, with the killing of the salmon a bit traumatic for me. And, we walked around the town to see cool sites, such as the Ulu Knife Factory, and shops.
Tony Knowles Bike Trail
We rented bikes and were lucky enough to be really close to the trailhead. We packed lunch, treats and water and headed out on our 22-mile round trip bike journey. We were promised to see wildlife at the 10-mile, so we were excited to see what we would find waiting for us!
“The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is a one of the most beautiful coastal trails in the nation; the trail gently winds along the coast eleven miles from downtown to the chalet at Kincaid Park and is by far Anchorage’s most popular trail. Skirt the fault line of the ’64 quake, stroll through scented forests, look for moose, and take in sweeping vistas where you can spot beluga whales and North America’s highest peak, Mount McKinley also known as Denali all in a single view.” Anchorage Tourism
With a few of my injuries, including a damaged hamstring, I had to give myself several pep talks during this long ride. It was beautiful riding alongside the water, or rather mud flats because of the low tide, and we saw several at moose at mile 10 on the trail, which was really neat! On the way back, Piper told me “Mom, I gotta go catch up. I am one of them now.” Meaning that now I am the slow one, and she’s a fast rider so she can keep up with Brady, even dusting Steven. The time has come and injuries catch up with you as you age. But I didn’t want to miss out on one adventure with my kids as long as there is motrin and PT appts on the books when I return. I will do them as long as I can! I treasure these moments…and know that soon, Brady will be off to college, and I won’t be able to keep up.