Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sunny Summer Sitka Day

Sometimes we have a hard time explaining why we love Alaska so much.  Maybe this synopsis of our day will help.

The kids went to their first day of morning summer camp through Sitka Community Schools.  Emerson went to Engineering is Elementary, where he spent the morning building bridges with straws and marshmallows.  Ava worked on cartwheels and handstands in Gymnastics.  Both came home with flushed faces, excitedly telling us how much fun they had.

Meanwhile, Mike had the day off (aside from the usual work phone calls), so we took the opportunity to finally explore the Sitka Cross Trail while the kids were at camp.  We discovered the other day that we can access it right from our neighborhood, via the Indian River Trail. We took Charlie the Running Dog with us, and old Midas stayed home to nap.  It was SO much fun.  I have been avoiding most trails through the woods on my own because of the brown bears.  Between Charlie, his bear bell, and our conversation, we were pretty sure we would scare any that happened to be nearby.  The section of trail we ran was the last bit of unimproved terrain, and it was fun to leap over the log steps and tree roots, and sink in the mud.  It was also narrow and a bit creepy at times when it went through the thick salmonberry bushes in the forest.  Portions in the muskeg were breathtaking, with views of the surrounding mountains.  We took the Gavan Hill Trail down towards town and looped back toward home.  Muddy Charlie had his first foot rinsing of the day when we got back.

After lunch, we took advantage of the sunny afternoon since we know a storm is rolling in tomorrow. We haven't explored any of the fabulous hiking trails, so we thought we'd start small with Thimbleberry Lake.  The total round-trip distance was about a half mile, and we figured the kids would be too tired after camp to go further anyway.  What a happy surprise the trail turned out to be!  Not only was it very well-maintained, but the lake is just breathtaking.  As soon as we got to the water's edge, dog leashes came off, and shoes and socks went flying.  The kids and dogs spent a good thirty minutes splashing around and soaking up the mud.  

After we got home, the dogs had a much-needed bath in the front yard.  Then we built a campfire(which we still aren't great at) and made some s'mores, since we had been promising the kids we would do so for some time now.

This awesome day followed three consecutive days of fishing on the boat.  The first two days, we just went out in the sound close to town and caught some rockfish (which are really delicious, but take more than a couple to make a meal).  Yesterday, we got up early and had some guys from the ship come with us to show us how to use our trolling gear.  The ocean swells were too big for comfort, so we ended up wandering around for 8 hours, trying our luck at different spots.  We learned how to use the downrigger, but did not get any salmon.  We then tried for halibut, and got more rockfish.  Ten rockfish, to be exact!  Good thing they are tasty!

As the kids showered off their day this evening, Mike and I sat on the back deck.  Through the open bathroom window, we heard Emerson dancing around and singing, "Everything is Awesome," which is the theme song from The Lego Movie.  I think he's right.

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