Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Vacation in Alaska - Day 4

Someday, I will finish blogging about our trip to Alaska. Someday, I'll write about Tory's fifth birthday and first day of Pre-K. Someday, I'll jot down the details of my parent's visit to Wisconsin over Labor Day weekend and the rest of the memories we made at the lake this summer. Someday....

I find myself waking up earlier and staying up later these days, but somehow it's never enough time. The baby years were a blur, but at least there were snippits of time throughout the day when the kids napped and I could be alone. Now, I'm finding out there is no quiet time during the Little Kid years. No naps to look forward to. It's constant busyness with playdates, extracurriculars, messes, meals and attention needed. All blessings, of course! The only missing is TIME.

This little space is important to me, so I'll keep hanging on. Life keeps happening and I'll do my best to write about it so I never forget a minute.


Alaska: Day 4

Andi and I began our fourth day in Alaska at a cozy bed and breakfast in Homer. I think it's safe to say, we have a soft spot for this type of vacation accommodation; staying in a bed and breakfast is like having the familiar comforts of home with the opportunity to meet new and interesting locals and/or fellow travelers.

The night before, we enjoyed the most amazing dinner in Halibut Cove across the Kachemak Bay from Homer with our friends Kristina and Alex. Kristina used to work with Andi at his office, and has since moved to Alaska full-time. We loved taking in the wonder of Halibut Cove with Kristina and Alex. It was one of the most magical places we'd ever seen, and our evening filled with laughing and great conversation made it all the better.

Shortly after waking up, Andi and I got dressed and headed over to the main house of the bed and breakfast. I wondered what type of set-up we'd find; the overall vibe of this place led my imagination to a sit-down breakfast in a kitschy dining room with the owner like an old episode of Newhart. And sure enough, that's exactly what it was! Andi and I took our places at the table and exchanged pleasantries with an older man visiting Alaska on a photography trip. A while later I noticed a young teenager sitting on the nearby sofa in her pajamas. I wondered to myself how she fit into the mix of breakfast guests.

Our B+B meal was surprisingly delicious (no photos for documentation, unfortunately, as it would've been rude to whip out our camera is such an intimate setting). The owner thoughtfully prepared a wide spread of local eggs, reindeer sausage, yogurt, homemade granola and peaches picked from a tree in her backyard. We ate breakfast, drank coffee and filled the time with an odd conversation about the teenage grand-daughter's upcoming tattoo appointment.

After breakfast, Andi and I packed our things and met up with Kristina and Alex. They're avid lovers of the outdoors, and spent their evening camped out on the infamous Homer Spit. Then, the four of us drove on to Hope, Alaska.

Just before Noon, we stopped in the town of Girdwood for lunch and some hiking. Girdwood is a resort town near the end of the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet and surrounded by the Chugach Mountains and several glaciers. We planned to spend the day here before heading over to Hope.

We parked our cars at a trailhead (unfortunately I can't remember the name; the downside of blogging about our trip a month later!) and set off for a hike together. The weather was rainy again, so we started out with rain jackets pulled tightly around us. Eventually, the rain let off and we began to peel back layers.

The end of our two hour hike eventually led us to a spot where the Kenai River meets the Russian, and salmon can be seen that time of year swimming upstream to their final resting place. What an amazing sight this was! The four of us stood in awe as we witnessed thousands of red, rotting fish fighting against the strong river current.

It's difficult to explain the magnitude of what we saw, but it surely made me stop and appreciate this beautiful world we live in.

We were all pretty hungry by this point, so we took a pit-stop on a rock and snacked on apples and protein bars before making the two-hour trek back to our cars. From there, we ventured into the town of Girdwood for a late lunch.

Girdwood is a small, funky town and home to one of Alaska's biggest resort hotels. Andi referenced Yelp! and suggested the unassuming Girdwood Picnic Club. With little signage on the exterior, we weren't sure to what expect, but were happy to find a bright, open restaurant with excellent food.   

From there, we ventured on to the tiny town of Hope and more specifically, the Porcupine Campground. Kristina and Alex had camped here before, so they knew to book a campsite with a spectacular view of the Turnagain Arm. This waterway is worth noting it's own for its massive tides. Fortunately, the campground was nearly empty as it was Sunday evening. We enjoyed our quiet surroundings and picturesque view of where the ocean meets the mountains. 

Kristina and Alex love to go camping and hiking, so they supplied all the needed gear for our evening underneath the stars. Once we set up camp, Andi cooked dinner over an open campfire -- on the menu, cedar-plank pink and silver salmon we'd caught a few days prior fishing on the Kenai River with broccoli and

I think we were all fairly exhausted from our day exploring, so we settled into our respective tents at sunset and ventured off to dreamland.

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