Our first camping trip as adults was at St. Croix State Park in 2006. One of the most popular state parks in Minnesota, it was a favorite camping destination for my family when I was a kid. A relatively short drive from home with lots of hiking, bike and canoe rentals, and interpretive activities, they also had a little store in case you forgot anything. We decided this was the perfect location to test our camping skills and eagerly hit the road for the weekend with our borrowed gear.
Nestled in the trees along a quiet section of Minnehaha Parkway is a beautiful memorial that is such a natural part of the landscape, it’s easy to miss. I finally noticed this big rock as I drove by on my scooter several months ago and pulled over to investigate thoroughly stumped. How could I have missed this memorial for so long? It turned out to be a tragic story with a fairly recent history.
Back in the day, Ketchikan, Alaska had a reputation for being a rough and tumble town. It was also known as the only place in Alaska where the fish and the fishermen came to spawn.
We were disappointed to wake up to a rainy and overcast day on the morning we were supposed to hike in Tongass National Forest to see Mendenhall Glacier. It wasn’t long before we learned that it’s almost always raining in Juneau, Alaska because it’s located in a temperate rain forest – the largest in the northern hemisphere. Thanks to Teddy Roosevelt, over 17 million acres in the area (almost the entire Alaska Panhandle) has been set aside as the nation’s largest national forest. Walking through Tongass is like visiting another world.
We spent a long time in Haines, Alaska watching a rowdy pair of siblings while their weary mother looked on. It was amazing.
The word of the day is glaciers. We were wowed and dazzled by the size and beauty of these dinosaurs in Glacier Bay National Park. According to our interpretive guide from the National Park Service, each glacier recedes at a different pace – this one loses 6-8 feet per day.
We’re getting lost in the scenery. The fall season may be short here, but it is stunning and sweet.
In 1794, George Vancouver was the first European visitor to the Alaska area who documented the view of Mount Denali (aka: Mount McKinley). His observations were short, sweet and to the point: Distant stupendous mountains. Well said, sir.
I went to the North Pole. Santa has been living in Alaska my entire life and I had no idea.
I should preface this post by saying that I LOVE Santa. When I was a kid, I was encouraged to leave cookies for Santa and was always so excited when he would leave me a note in return. Some years, he would leave one of the cookies behind with a perfectly shaped bite taken out of it; this filled me with a wonder beyond my wildest imagination. Fast forward thirty plus years and you have a grown woman in Alaska who sees “North Pole” on the map. How could I have missed this? When my friend told me that not only did the North Pole truly exist but Santa was there with his reindeer, I had to go.
One of the hardest parts of vacation for me is being away from my little dog, but he’s having his own adventure with his new best friend – the house sitter. When she arrived, he greeted her with an enthusiasm and zeal that he reserves for those he truly loves, I knew he would be in great hands. After a quick check to make sure their vacation was off on the right foot, we headed into the Alaskan wilderness to find an adventure of our own.