A couple of Saturdays ago, Jeff and I woke up and looked at each with the unstated look that said, “What do you want to do today?” This is a question we have asked each other frequently over our 25 years of marriage. The state of my slightly messy house with laundry and maybe dishes to do might give a hint to the answer, “Get out there and do something!”
We have always done this, be it go diving, skiing, hiking, camping, fishing, beaching, or even just a car ride. Get out and go.
When we came to Alaska, that was something that we wanted to continue on steroids. Alaska is such a massive place with so much to see and do that you have to start exploring it the minute your foot hits the soil, rock, ice, snow and water. We made a pact to do something as often as we could.
So that Saturday, we just started driving. It’s one way we have always looked to see what backyard adventures might be around us.
We headed up to Hatcher Pass (now one of our local favorites) near Palmer, AK to see if we could spot a spring bear just out of its den. On the way, I saw a sign that said Government Peak Recreation Area. Saige explained that was where she thought she had gone on her field trip. Well by all means, turn the car and let’s go see it.
What we found was a place with a system of trails groomed in the winter for cross-country skiing (YES!! Something I was looking for!), mountain bike trails, the trailhead to Government Peak, and an ideal place for families and a casual jaunt in the woods with a series of hiking loops to accommodate any level.
So we just started walking. And about two miles later, I finished up a pretty amazing spring hike with Jeff, Summer and Saige.
Saige often has a unique clothing style with a free for all on the hair…I’m totally fine with it! She’s a little free spirit.
Skull identified by Bridger’s Alaska wildlife teacher as canine.
With easy, wide paths, it was so fun to watch a part of my family just enjoy nature.
Animal sign is always a reminder we are never alone in the woods here. Our place in the food chain and nature is pretty clear.
All in all? A pretty great day!
You Live Where and Haven’t Done What?
I hear this often when I talk to people:
“I wish I could get out and travel! You’ve lived such an adventurous life I’m jealous.” My answer: “Well then do it!”
“It must take a lot of money.” My answer: “It doesn’t have to.” (Our little Saturday fling, cost about $3.00 in gas + $15.00 at Dairy Queen for an ice cream treat.)
“You’ve seen and experienced so much!” My answer: “I’m old!…And I’ve made it a priority!”
And then I may ask the question “What have you found in your own backyard?”
The answers are astonishing. I’ve met people while living in Driggs, Idaho near Jackson Hole, Wyoming that haven’t been to Yellowstone National Park. I’ve met people while living in Hawaii who have never been to the beach! (Funny, they also complain about living on an island…why on earth did they move there in the first place.) And finally, neighbors in Scottsdale, Arizona who hadn’t been to The Grand Canyon.
There’s a whole world out there right where you live people, open your eyes and look!
Explore where you are!
That’s my advice plain and simple. Discover what adventures are hanging out in your own backyard instead of wasting time waiting for that around the world trip. Get in a car and drive, take a turn, get out and walk or wade to just see what there is. We would have missed a beautiful hike with our 2 youngest daughters and the discovery of a future playground if I hadn’t just said, turn left.
That’s honestly one of the reasons we’ve moved is to set up a home base camp backyard from which to explore the Rocky Mountains, the Oregon Coast, the Hawaii reefs, the Arizona deserts, Utah’s massive playground…and now Alaska. I’m beyond excited to find out what adventures are in this backyard…
To quote Robert Frost,
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.