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Entries about alaska

One Last Day in Alaska

Making memories

rain 60 °F

The rain returned in the night and rained thru noon on Wed. Kids went out for a few minutes with rain jackets on only to return to the RV cold. No hike was possible.

We had reserved our site thru Wed night but decided that leaving a few hours earlier would be fine. I looked in the Milepost and found 1. An ice cream shop just outside of Denali and 2. A museum with a kid’s area in Anchorage. We packed the RV and were off.

But before leaving the Denali area I wanted for the kids to experience some local ice cream and at the ice cream shop we found Huckleberry Ice Cream. Zaya was thrilled, as she remembered the huckleberry ice cream from Glacier National Park.

We made it down to Anchorage on Thurs but before anything else, we had to have French toast with Wild Blueberry Syrup. Yum, we are crazy for the syrup.
We found the Anchorage Museum by afternoon. The kid’s area is so great, all hands on things to do. Lots of experiments to teach kids of all ages. We didn’t leave until the museum closed at 6pm.
After turning in the RV, we had long flights home, but what a trip!

Posted by Miss Chris 09:51 Archived in USA Tagged travel alaska anchorage grandkids_trip airplane_travel anchorage_museum Comments (0)

Denali, Another Day in Paradise

More Eielson Visitor Center

overcast 68 °F

I had decided that we’d take one more bus ride to Eielson so that kids could get their Jr. Ranger badge, we could hike a little and we could look at the exhibits. Also, we could maybe see more wildlife.IMG_201608..3608188_HDR.jpg

Our Tek Pass allowed us to ride any green bus as long as there was room. This proved to be a challenge and we had to wait as several buses were too full for the 5 of us to ride. After close to an hour we did get a bus ride to Eielson. The clouds moved a bit so the kids even got to see Denali. Not the whole mountain, but a sliver.

At Eielson, we sat at a picnic table overlooking the river and ate our lunch. The kids then got their Jr Ranger badges.
For our hike, we chose to walk down to the river. This hike was chosen by a vote. Zaya wanted to take the loop but the boys voted to go to the river. As we hiked we were told that the last part of the trail was closed as a grizzly bear was at the river. As we started walking down the kids found wild blueberry bushes. They started picking blueberries and stuffing themselves. We had to remind them to keep walking. Finally, we made it down to where the trail was closed but the bear was too difficult to see as it was walking in and out of the brush.

We started back up the trail but had a difficult time getting kids to move along. At one point Lucian laid in the blueberry bushes and just ate. They got lots of antioxidants!

By the time we got back to the Visitor Center it had started to rain plus the rangers were rounding all of us as a grizzly was headed up the hill. We stayed inside until we could board a bus back to our campsite.

Fortunately, by the time we arrived back at our campsite the rain let up and we were able to have a fire and wiener roast.

Posted by Miss Chris 15:36 Archived in USA Tagged nature hiking alaska outdoors grandkids jr_ranger denali_national_park eielson_visitor_center Comments (0)

Denali Camping, Day 2

Riding on the bus to Eielson Visitor Center

overcast 68 °F

The park has some buses that run from the Visitor’s Center to Kantishna, at Mile 92.4 and run round trip. Some busses only go in as far as Eielson Visitor’s Center and others to Wonder Lake at Mile 84, but once you have tickets you can stop wherever you want. So some people want to hike out at one place or another and just ask the driver to stop. They get out and go on their way. Returning, if a bus has room, the driver will stop for those hitchhiking along the side of the road. There are, also, rest stops along the way with pit toilets.

I’d bought tickets for Dale and me, and reserved for kids (they are free) seats on the Kantishna bus. This way we could ride as far as we wanted on any of our days in Denali.

The bus drivers have radio contact with each other so that when wildlife is spotted they can stop if it is nearby. They do have some time constraints with departure and arrival times but there is usually always a few minutes to see whatever animal that has been spotted.

As it turned out, a huge landslide had occurred just after the Eielson Visitor Center so our driver was being paid for 13 hours but couldn’t get that far into the park. He was able to make many stops on the return trip, and we stopped for as long as we wanted.
Going into Eielson we did see a mother bear and her cub, but at a distance. We also saw Dall Sheep, elk, caribou and pika.

We thought we’d stay with our driver so only had 30 minutes in Eielson before returning. On the way back we saw another mother bear and her 2 cubs. These were small cubs, about 6 months old. When we first spotted them, they were down a hill but then started coming towards our bus. We watched as one cub fell and rolled down a steeper part of a hill, then ran up and caught up with the mother. The mother led them up the hill, across the road, right in front of us, then on up the hill on the other side.
This was what we’d hoped the grandkids would experience.

Posted by Miss Chris 13:52 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip wildlife nature grizzly_bears alaska outdoors grandkids denali_national_park eielson_visitor_center Comments (0)

A Nice Breakfast Out

And other things

overcast 68 °F

We like to have one nicer meal out with grandkids, preferably breakfast, as it isn’t so expensive. In Alaska, we like to have breakfast at The Princess Lodge in Kenai. It has a nice RV park where we can regroup, recharge our electronics, wash up and whatever else needs modern civilization.
We’d driven to the Princess RV park where we did regroup and in the morning everyone dressed in their best clothes, at least the best that we had along, and went for breakfast. We’d already worked with boys about keeping napkins on their laps, and all of the other manners one can expect from kids their age.

The lodge dining room is beautiful, wood planks with a huge antler chandler. The staff was especially nice to the kids and the kids behaved wonderfully. Having stuffed ourselves on King Crab Benedict and the kids on Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes, eggs and bacon, we were ready to go on our way. We enjoyed the view of the Kenai River from the deck then walked back down to the park and started on the next leg of our journey.

We have normally stopped at the Portage Glacier Visitor Center on our way back up to Anchorage. This time, we didn’t. On our 1st and 2nd trips the glacier was closer to the visitor center and ice burgs were in the lake behind the center. When we visited with grandkids 6 years ago the glacier had receded so far that ice burgs were being towed in. This time, after Exit, we decided to skip Portage. Besides, we had a problem with the RV and needed to get that fixed before heading up to Denali.

Denali is our next stop, so the push is to be there early in the day.

Since I’ve written about a wonderful breakfast, you may wonder what we eat for dinner. Feeding 5 people can certainly be a challenge.
1st we have our “Honcho” system, I believe I’ve written about it before. This is where each kid, oldest to youngest, has their day. So before we left I wrote in my daytimer, who was honcho on which day and each kid had 3 days. I asked each kid what they would want to eat, and, of course, help prepare, for each of their 3 days. Then, because there are 3 spaghetti meals, 2 hot dog meals and so on, I sorted it out so that we didn’t need to make the same thing every night.

As soon as we got our RV we went to Costco and bought the items we could use in bulk then Carrs for everything else. We also bought lots of lunch stuff and a large 2-pk of cereal.
As we were going thru Anchorage once more, we stopped at both stores for one last shopping trip. Once we are in Denali we will not have access to stores for 5 days so this has taken more careful planning.

Posted by Miss Chris 10:41 Archived in USA Tagged food nature alaska rv outdoors grandkids kenai Comments (0)

Sled Dogs and Glaciers

Visiting some sled dogs and walking up to Exit Glacier

semi-overcast 68 °F

We had planned a surprise tour for the grandkids, a tour of Seavey’s, this is the company that runs in the Iditarod races, and wins.

We got to Seavey’s and sat thru the introduction then the kids started realizing what the morning was about; holding the puppies and riding in a cart being pulled by sled dogs.

The puppies are about 3-weeks old and little bundles of fur. The puppies snuggled up to each kid, Sequoia really wanted to get one, but, we bought a stuffed one instead. I told them to ask their parents for live dogs when they get home.

The rides are fun for us IMG_20160728_102800266.jpgIMG_201607..1010102_HDR.jpg but are actually training runs for the dogs. Experienced dogs are in the front and young dogs in the middle and rear. The experienced dogs bark to get going while the younger dogs look around. Our experienced dogs were part of the team that won this year’s Iditarod race.

From Seavey’s, we went to Exit Glacier, this is off the Harding Ice Field. The Bear Glacier that we saw from the boat is also off of the Harding Ice Field.
We hiked up to the ice field on one of our first trips to Alaska. When we came with the older grandkids there was 6’ of snow on the trail. This time, we decided that kids were not ready to hike this. They could have made it but the trail is steep and round-trip 8+ miles. We did not want to subject ourselves to this.

The glacier has receded quite a bit since we were here with the older grandkids, Dale is guessing 2-3 football field lengths. All of our glaciers are receding but to see the evidence is quite shocking. I will try to find a photo from our prior trip and post that with the current photo, side by side. Exit has receded to the extent that it is too far away to touch. I wonder what will be left for our great grandkids.

Posted by Miss Chris 18:21 Archived in USA Tagged nature travel alaska outdoors grandkids kenai rv_travel exit_glacier Comments (0)

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