Growing up within the boundaries of Glacier Bay National Park left an imprint so profound that I’ll always feel part “Alaskan.” Never mind that we moved to Washington State when I was seven; seven years in a place so special leaves its mark. While I wish my memories were stronger and more plentiful, I do recall running out our front door and down a sloping hill through forget-me-nots, fireweed, and beach grass to get to the rocky shores of Bartlett Cove. Countless hours were spent turning over rocks to watch mini crabs scuttle away, peering and poking into tide pools, hopping across creeks, and wandering the beach and woods with my big brother.
You might think that Alaskan kids take the beauty around them for granted but that’s not how I remember it. With snowcapped mountains reaching to the sky, a vast ocean around us and glaciers calving icebergs bigger than our boat we realized our “smallness.” There is nothing like massive humpback and Orca whales leaping from the water, black bears wandering through the back yard, and king crab with legs longer than most kid-arms to remind a person that they are merely one small speck of matter among a world much larger than them.
Though he is Washington born and raised, my “mountain man” husband (the trail running variety, not the burly, bearded type) has a special place in his heart for Alaska too. We are both excited to share it with our children so we’ve planned a trip north.
Our plan is to fly into Anchorage, trek around town a bit then head about 45 minutes southeast to Girdwood to stay at the Alyeska Resort for a night. The following morning we’ll head down to Homer to meet the boat that will take us to Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge (an amazing place we’ve been before when our “little guy” really was little) for a few nights. After that we’ll continue our exploration of the Kenai Peninsula with a couple of nights in Seward (Seward Windsong Lodge and Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge) then one more night at Alyeska before heading back home to Seattle via Anchorage (and a brief stop in Fairbanks). We can’t wait.
An incredible resource for planning our trip has been www.AKonTheGo.com. This family-focused blog is written by adventurous local Mom-in-the-know, Erin Kirkland. Turns out we are actually going to get to meet Erin and her bright-eyed 7-year old son (affectionately known as “AK Kid”) — how cool is that?
Generous Grammy sent the kids a special $5 to spend in Alaska. Practical William (6) says “I’m going to spend this on something useful for Alaska, not some silly toy.” Straightforward Sara (4) says “I’m going to spend this on a silly toy. Dey have toy stores in Alaska?” We’ll see.