After driving about 40 minutes into the mountains on a bumpy, windy gravel road, which road was about a 25 minute drive from our little rural town, we were feeling pretty far out into the wilderness. The area had been burned by a forest fire about 9 years ago, opening up a great long-distance view. The wildflowers and undergrowth were beautiful. We were excited to discover that we're far enough north for fireweed to grow--one of our favorite Alaskan flowers!
Within minutes of arriving, we had blood and screams (thank you, Hazel) that probably made the neighboring campers think something far more tragic than a scraped knee had occurred. Let the craziness begin!
Since it doesn't get dark until after 10:00 up this far north, we had plenty of time to set up camp. Aaron went for a tent village arrangement, with 3 tents for our family--a girl tent with an air mattress for me, a little tent that Xander and Elodie set up on their own for Xander and Max, and a tent for Dad and Oliver--instead of one huge tent. It seemed to work quite nicely. Oliver LOVED his first camping trip!
As it was finally getting dark, we enjoyed singing and sharing scriptures around the campfire, watching the moon rapidly rise above the mountain, and of course, roasting mallows. When Aaron finally put Oliver to bed in his tent, that exhausted little guy just laid right down in that big, cozy sleeping bag, laid his head on his favorite blanket, and went right to sleep, not waking up until morning. We've never had a one-year-old who was such a champion sleeper on a campout before! Everyone slept well and that made the campout SO MUCH more enjoyable! I'm glad we squeezed this little adventure in before a newborn arrives!
Aaron made sure I did plenty of relaxing, knowing we were a good 2 hours from a hospital and not wanting things to get too adventurous.
We decided to hike and explore back where the trees had not been scorched and we soon had several refreshingly wet shoes (or tragically wet, if you happen to be Hazel). Who can resist a bridge made of logs?
And how can a kid not slip and get at least one foot in the water? Luckily, Dad found a mama bird in a tree feeding her babies to distract Hazel's mind from her soggy sock. She LOVES babies. That tactic worked far better than my reasonable cajoling.
I love how long kids can enjoy some water, sticks, and stones.
Max was pretty impressed with the evidence of a bear nearby. There was even black bear fur stuck to those claw marks.
No body wanted to stop exploring, even Oliver who desperately needed a nap by then. He caught a little snooze in the car while the energetic took a short hike.
On our way down from the mountains, we stopped by Eureka Reservoir to cook one more meal in the great outdoors before heading home. Naturally everyone was soggy and muddy right away.
Good times and great memories. We just love the outdoors!