Thursday, September 6, 2012

Where the Wild Things Are

Matt and I were able to take Riley on her first camping trip over the Labor Day weekend. Although I worried over the weather and agonized over the idea of bears feasting on scrumptious Vials, away we went! Despite chilly weather, we had a great time and learned that Riley is the ultimate trooper when it comes to making the best out of situations.

Our trip started out with blue skies and amazing views. Getting dropped off by a bush plane really creates an element of being "out in the middle of wild Alaska" that can be unnervingly exhilarating. Unfortunately we were sharing our "wild" space with a group of 15 people that had set up camp near the airstrip. Definitely not alone, but certainly still out in the wild!

One aspect of backpacking with a child is that there's not a whole lot of extra space to carry stuff, so we really had to pack light. We originally were planning on doing a point-to-point trip, but we quickly realized that the patience and tolerance of a 9-month old would not last all those days in a backpack, so we set up a base-camp and crossed our fingers that the weather would be good to us. For the most part it was, but alas, the winds and rain came.

Riley loved crawling on the spongy ground cover while feeling all the different textures (and maybe even eating some too). She feasted on wild blueberries and smoked salmon and slept in her Dada's down jacket at night. Most of all, I think she really loved having both of us giving her all our attention for three whole days. When the rain and winds came, we hung out in the tent, reading books, counting fingers, and singing songs.... definitely a new version of camping for Matt and I!

We spotted a caribou herd! You can just make out there silhouette against the mountain...
I thought for certain we would see a bear or two, but instead I just fretted about seeing one up until the plane flew in to pick us up. That's when disappointment set it that we didn't see one (funny how that works).  We did see the famous caribou herd that hangs out there as well as some marmots, ptarmigan, and eagles. I think our little dinosaur child kept all those scary animals away. But upon returning home to the warmth of our cabin and our comfortable bed, there in our driveway stood a bear, just checking things out. I guess there's always a bit of "wild" no matter where you are in Alaska. 

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