Monday, August 31, 2015

August 2015

In August we continued to do as much as we could outside including swimming and going up the mountains and bike rides.  We also celebrated Grayson's 3rd birthday by having another pool party since he loves swimming so much.
We had a pool day with cousins Emery and Lincoln.
Grayson and Kaiden had fun playing baseball in grandma Carter's backyard.

Canyon time with the Evanson's. The boys sitting around the fire by their friend Millie.

We went on a bike ride with our friends the Johnson's up Provo Canyon.

Grayson on his actual birthday blowing out his cupcake and opening a present.
He got an Olaf for his birthday and he loved it.
Grayson's friends at his pool birthday party.

Grayson's baseball birthday cake that he picked out himself.
We went up to Big Springs for dinner and on our way down saw this massive moose just wandering down the middle of the street, not bothered at all by us or the cars.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Alaska Summer 2015

We were lucky enough to go on a big trip to Alaska this summer with my family. We left on July 31 to fly to Anchorage while my parents and grandparents were still in the process of driving their motorhomes to Alaska all the way from Utah.  We would meet them the next day but it left us a day and a half to explore Anchorage on our own with just our little family. We rented a car and got a hotel room for the one night but for the entire rest of the trip we slept in the two motorhomes and drove to a couple different campsites for each part of the trip. We saw a lot of amazing things from animals to mountains to whales and the ocean.
The boys were loving being at the airport even though it was bright and early.  It was Grayson's first time flying and Kaiden's second time (he was only a couple months old the first time he flew).
The first thing we did once we got checked into our hotel was drive to downtown Anchorage to check it out. There was a ton of touristy shops all over so we went to a bunch of those and got our souvenirs .
We wandered around and found this fun little airplane that you could push the button and smoke would come out of it.
They had the most beautiful flowers all over the streets and everywhere in Anchorage. They get a ton of sunlight in Anchorage at this time of the year so the flowers get plenty of sunlight to grow. The sun doesn't set until past 11pm and would be back up at 4 or 5am.  Luckily for us, the weather was above average warm during our entire trip which is high 70's and low 80's.
We decided to rent some bikes and a trailer and ride along the scenic bike paths.  This is looking back at downtown Anchorage where we started our bike ride.

We stopped at this point and decided to turn around and start the trek back.
Our hotel was right across from this lake that all the sea planes would take off and land on.  We all thought it was the coolest thing ever.  These little planes were parked all around the lake.
We loved having the sun stay up so late, it's almost weird and makes you never want to go to bed when it is still light at 11pm.  One night we stopped for groceries at Walmart after 11pm and it still wasn't dark yet and it Walmart was packed! I wonder when Alaskans sleep
I thought this was the cutest little shed at the sea plane lake, the flowers and the flag and everything about it was perfect.
Looking down the Turnagain arm of the Cook inlet. 
We went to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. All the animals here are ones that they rescued that were abandoned or injured. They release them back into the wild if they are able to. 

We stopped at the Anchorage Temple but the boys were asleep in the car. 
The next morning we had our McDonalds breakfast at the sea plane lake so we could watch the planes again. 
We were walking around and watched this tourist sea plane land and all the tourists got out and the pilot came over and asked the boys if they wanted to get in it and check it out.  They of course did and loved it! And the pilot gave them an official pilot wings pin.

Once we met up with everyone, we got our cool Alaska shirts and took a family photo.
We drove past this wood carving competition going on and had to stop and check it out.  It is amazing what these people can do with a chain saw and a big log.
Once we met up with everyone, we drove to a campsite at a lake in the motorhomes for the next couple days. While there, we drove to a place to go on a dog sled tour. They showed us all the gear, explained how it worked and then showed us the dogs and took us on a ride.
This was the cabin of the owner and all his beautiful flowers. He used to do the Iditarod and big races like that.  
Since there is no snow, we ride in a ATV. And with the temperatures in the 70's, it was way too hot for the dogs, apparently the dogs favorite temperature is around 20 degrees so they have to cool off in the water puddles when we get to them and they can't work them too hard because it's just too hot for them.
We went for a walk in the woods with the puppies and Grayson was terrified so he had to sit up on dad's shoulders. 
The dogs loved playing fetch with Kaiden.

Nancy Lake State Park - Spencer and my dad took off on a bike ride one night at like 9pm since it was still light and sunny.

Spencer and I went exploring around the lake in the canoe and started up this little stream for a little ways until I got freaked out that a bear was going to come out and attack us.
Next stop was at Denali National Park.  We stayed at the campground there and did some laundry at one of the buildings and they had this sign posted, haha.
At Denali National Park there is only one dirt road that goes all the way up it and back out again so you have to ride on their shuttle buses and the kids have to be in their car seats the whole time.  We went all the way up and back which was an 11 hour trip. It stopped multiple times and you could get off and go to the bathroom and look around for a few minutes before it would keep going. Whenever someone would spot any wildlife, the bus driver would stop and we could all look at take pictures but we had to be quiet because they don't want the animals getting scared or used to humans but to be natural in their habitat. My kids did a surprising good job for a long day on a bus in their car seats, they enjoyed seeing the animals too. There are bears and all wild animals all around this massive park with no fences and people go hiking and camping there, crazy if you ask me.
There was a few little mini thunder and lightning storms that would come through but none of them lasted very long. As we were near the top, we heard on the bus drivers radio that there had been landslide blocking the road somewhere near the entrance more and all buses couldn't go past a certain point.  That was a little unnerving. So we decided to keep going up to the top as far as we could instead of sitting and waiting and by the time we started heading back down, the buses were moving again and they had cleared the landslide from the road. 
This little caribou just walked for a few miles in front of us along the road. 

Grizzly bear on the left and a massive caribou on the right. We saw a ton of caribou so they got less exciting.  Everyone would get way excited when someone would spot a grizzly bear or a moose.

The two big moose that we saw along the way.
Wonder Lake at the end of the road. Now we had to turn around and drive all the way back down the same road. 

Everyone at the last stop at Wonder Lake.
We drove to the next campsite at Seward, Alaska.  There was a glacier run off river nearby that the boys loved throwing rocks in. The glacier run off rivers are super gray because of all the sand and silt and rocks in them. 
On our way to Exit Glacier. We started this hike late at night, around 9pm.
Exit Glacier - it is getting smaller and smaller every year and they have signs along the trail that marks where it was at a certain year.  We hiked a couple miles just to get to this point and a long time ago (mid to early 1900's) the glacier would have covered our cars in the parking lot.
Walking around the docks in Seward before going on our boat tour.

The boat was 3 levels and they served lunch. We rented some binoculars to look at the wildlife. We saw seals, eagles, beaver, starfish, birds, whales, and more.

After our boat tour, the docks were so busy with people cleaning and displaying all their deep sea fishing catches. Don't know these people but this is the fish they caught :)
Blood and fish guts everywhere - yuck. The picture on the right is the gutting stations and I wanted to stay far away from it. 

The boys were out on the top level of the boat. 
Kaiden became a Junior Ranger while on our boat tour.