The Reluctant Outdoorsman

My father loved the outdoors.  He hunted, fished, hiked part of the Appalachian Trail.  He raised a small herd of cattle – for fun.  He gave my mother really practical gifts – like a horse.  He loved anything outside and I loved doing any of those things with him.  Unfortunately, my father died unexpectedly when I was almost eight years old.  My mother was then busy trying to keep our little family going.  Except for the occasional Girl Scout camping trip, outdoor hobbies fell by the wayside.

My husband loves the outdoors as well.  He hunts, fishes, hikes, backpacks.  I love tagging along with him.  When we lived in Texas, our hiking opportunities were limited to our vacations.  All of those trips were day hikes.  I’ve never backpacked.  That’s not to say I haven’t gone on long hikes.  I once blew out a knee going 12 miles on our first day of hiking in Banff.  Apparently my knee (which had suffered previous injuries when I danced on the high school drill team) thought 10 miles was plenty.  So all that to say, although I really like the idea of being outdoorsy, I’m very much a novice that really likes to sleep in her own comfy bed at night.

Then we move to Alaska.  We buy a pop-up camper.  My husband buys a raft.  A really, really big, blue, inflatable raft.  We don’t have a trailer for the raft, so we have to disassemble it to transport it.  The raft is deflated and rolled up and put in the back of Todd’s SUV.  The frame is put on top of his SUV.  The camper is pulled behind the SUV.  We look like the Beverly Hillbillies going down the road.

I find myself slightly irritated.  I have to get three kids plus myself packed for camping and rafting.  In Alaska, you don’t just throw on your swimsuit and life jacket to raft.  You have to have many layers of warm clothes and rain gear and boots.  Then I have to shop for the camping trip, figuring out what we’re going to feed our family on the trip.  In other words, it’s a lot of work for me.

But here’s the thing, our kids ADORE camping and rafting.  They squeal with delight when we tell them we’re going.  We’re building family memories that they can look back on long after Todd and I are gone.  And if I’m honest, once we’re out there, I love it too.

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Say What?!

We’ve been experiencing some, in my opinion, depressing weather here in Anchorage.  It’s been cloudy and rainy with highs only in the 50s.  This morning the front page of the newspaper reported it’s the coldest July on record so far.  Now I understand most of the country is experiencing record heat, drought and storms.  I imagine many people would love a little bit of our weather.  Believe me, if we could some how trade a bit of our weather for the Lower 48 and make life a little more bearable for us all, I would!

So this morning when the sun made a semi-appearance, the kids and I headed to a nearby park for an hour or so.  We then came home to have lunch.  We decided to sit out on our deck enjoying the sunshine that had fully arrived.  After finishing their lunch 2 out of 3 kids told me they were hot and going inside.  Ok, fine by me, I’m going to sit out here and absorb every possible sun ray.  When I finished my lunch, I went inside, looked at the weather on my phone and saw that it was 61 degrees F!  Yes, my friends, apparently that is now too hot for some of my children.  Funny, none of them had any problem going out and riding their bikes later.  I’m sure that’s because it was cloudy again by then.

A Serendipitous Day

What a fabulous day!  I dropped the girls off at day camp this morning and then Jack and I started our errands for the day.  I remembered that I hadn’t had any breakfast, so I stopped at a local eatery, Terra Bella Cafe.  I’ve only been to this establishment once before and that was several months ago.  I walked in ready to place my order of coffee and probably a piece of quiche when I looked into their display case and what did I see?  KOLACHES!!!  Oh my goodness the search is over!  They had a pretty decent reindeer sausage kolache.  I told the woman working behind the counter how thrilled I was as I hadn’t been able to find them anywhere else.  She told me they used to sell the fruit filled kind as well, but they didn’t sell very well, but if I ever wanted any to come in a place a special order. YES!!  Now the hard part will be not going in every weekend.

Then, this afternoon, I was in a local day spa taking care of some girly stuff and while I was in the waiting area I found a Veranda magazine!  Yay!  I don’t find decorating magazines around here much.  It’s normally fishing, hunting, hiking or fitness magazines with the occasional People thrown in.  While I was waiting my turn, I flipped through the pages devouring the pictures of beautiful homes and an interview with Diane Von Furstenburg.

I’m savoring the two small treasures I found today.  What about you?  Any small surprises that made your day?