July 26-31: figuring it out. We are still doing well. We are just continuing to try to figure things out around here. That’s the initial struggle for any move. You have to reshape your entire life to now fit into a new location. Where to go for groceries. Where to go for supplies. Where to get gas. Who to talk to to get information of a upcoming job. How to drive to certain places. I will say that we seem to be acclimating nicely. We really have taken control of our situation and seem to have things down for the most part. It gives me a lot of hope for the future. If we can easily acclimate to this change fairly quick then we should be able to acclimate to our future new home and location. Wherever and whenever that may be. Hope is nice. I’ll take that lovely feeling of having hope.
We have done a lot of exploring lately. It’s been throughout the last 2 weeks because everything is super far away, but we have still managed to go to a lot of the main areas around us.
Trapper Creek is one of the closest little towns. We can get our gas there. It is only 30 minutes away. Yay! They do provide a small market full of the essentials, but you are going to pay an arm and leg for it. Besides, they don’t really have a ton of selections. Just 30 minutes of that is a cute town called Talkeetna. Talkeetna is the central location to get aerial transportation to climb Mt Denali. If you are were to hike in, it would be a shocking 30+ miles just to get to the base of the mountain. That doesn’t even take into consideration that actual summit of over 20,000 feet. A lot of people go to Talkeetna to get a plane ride to the base of the mountain to climb it. It also has a rich mining history. That’s what initially brought people to that area. Over the years tourists have joined the party and benefited from the airplane tours, train tours, and the restaurants. I think Talkeetna is my favorite town that we have been to north of Anchorage. It’s full of little, “hipster” shops and stands.
It has the absolutely delicious Denali Brewing Company and stands that carry items like “spinach bread”. If you go a hour south of Talkeetna, it gets you to Wasilla. There you find your bigger store chains like Walmart, Fred Mayors, Three Daughers, and Carrs. Just a little farther and you hit the Palmer area. You finally get into your populated areas again. I really do enjoy being in a type of peaceful seclusion. It can almost be overwhelming getting back into a well-trafficked area again. For groceries, we try our best to plan ahead for 2 weeks. That way we aren’t having to make a 4 hour (total time) trip very often just for some food. We try to make it worth our time with little stops to some local breweries throughout our travels. In Palmer, we enjoyed a drink at the Ale House Brewery. They also have AMAZING gluten free pizza there…just saying. North of our campground takes you to Denali National Park. It took us about 2 hours to get there. There are some little towns in between that are full of lodges and small restaurants: Cantwell, McKinley Park. Other then those tiny towns, it is just open fields that lead to the mountains. It’s a beautiful drive. You can going along the Alaskan Mountain Range. Just passed the park entrance is a huge tourist strip of restaurants, shops, and bars. Of course, we found the brewery. It was the 49th State Brewing Company. Moose horns and other random stuffed animals lined that place. They also had a replica of the “Into the Wild” bus outside. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it and go watch the movie. The original bus is still in Alaska and people hike some good miles just to see it in person. A women just recently died attempting to cross a roaring river to reach the famous bus.
I think that everyone should watch that film and have a natural fear of what nature can do to a person.
We have been taking advantage of the blueberry season in Alaska. Alec and I took a hour or so picking blueberries on the side of the road.
It was time for a gf blueberry crisp. That’s exactly what I made. We gathered more than enough blueberries and I went to work making the dessert.
It was amazing if I do say so myself. It really has inspired me to have a garden with fresh herbs, fruits, and veggies one day. One day, Natalie, one day.
We finally hiked up to the Kesugi Ridge.
Every time we walk outside our RV, we can see this Ridge that lines Byers Lake. We have been told countless times to hike up there and see the amazing views and so we finally did. It was a great hike. There are a few ways that you can get up the top of the ridge and we happened to take the one of the hardest and longest routes. We took the Cascade Lake Trail to the Kesugi Ridge. We started off hiking along the Byers Lake Trail which then connects us with the Cascade Lake Trail.
This is a very diverse route. It takes you over a suspension bridge, through loosely placed wooden pathways, through thick bush, around many switchbacks, over creeks. I’m going to lie. There were parts of this trail that intimidated me. The bush was so thick and so overgrown that at times you couldn’t see through it. It got confusing where the pathway was. Not to mention, it was scary because you couldn’t check to see if any wildlife was around the corner. That definitely is something that you have to be aware of. We didn’t see any bears and moose throughout our route, but there is always a good chance when you are in the backwoods hiking.
The trail was completely lined with big blueberries and watermelon berries. They really weren’t picked off because the lack of people around them. That was a very distracting part of this trail for me. I wanted to stop the entire time to pick and eat them. Can you blame me?! This was a very difficult hike for us. We haven’t been hiking for about 2 weeks and it was just a challenging route to begin with. It was definitely steep and the heat of the sun didn’t help us. When we came across the creek, I took clothing off to soak it in the cold water and placed it back on my body to prevent overheating. That’s a hiking tip that I have learned over the years. If you are overheating and find running water, either dip your body or a piece of clothing in water to maintain a good body temperature. Even in Alaska, our parks team get emergency calls for overheating issues. I was just glad for the cold water. The end result made all for the work and sweat worth it. The trail takes you out to the every top of the ridge which overlooks Byers Lake and the Alaskan Mountain Range.
It was just absolutely amazing. My body was no longer sore while enjoying that view. It was like nothing else mattered in that moment. We made sure to sit down, hydrate, and eat some lunch. I must say that it was one of our best lunch spots yet. We found a flat boulder rock and just sat back watching the mountains. Unfortunately, Mt Denali was covered by the clouds. It has been hiding for the past week anyways. That would have been an extra site to see. Holy crap. The way down didn’t seem to take as long. One because it was mostly downhill and two because we now knew the route. In total, it took us over 6 hours to hike 10 miles with an elevation gain of over 2000 feet.
It was worth every second! Our feet were screaming at us by the end of it so we enjoyed putting them in the cold water of Byers Lake. It was a perfect way to end our day.
August 1: 5 months! We have officially been on the road for 5 full months. Crazy, wild, amazing. I still can’t believe it. Being on the road like this has really shown me the opportunities that we could have. We have seen so many families travel full time and work from their RVs with kids in homeschooling programs. We have been asked a lot where we are going to settle down and maybe you don’t really have to settle down in one particular area. It’s amazing to see that stepping out and taking a risk like this just proves to me that Alec and I are capable of absolutely anything. This trip just inspires me to stretch my comfort levels even more. The more that I allow myself to step outside my comfort zones, the more I learn, grow, experience. It’s been amazingly fruitful since I allowed myself to let go. 2020 will be an interesting year! For now, I’m going to go celebrate living, breathing, and traveling with my husband for the last 5 months straight!
New posts every Friday