Here we go...
My husband and sister planned this amazing adventure from the Midwest to Anchorage on to the Kachemak Bay in Alaska. We were on our way to O’Hare airport with two large suite cases stuffed in the back of our 4Runner. One was full of fishing and camping gear, and the other was packed with clothes. I was a little on edge as Declan had been scream crying for two hours in the car, which was not his usual behavior. Thirty minutes away from the airport we discovered blaring Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti was the only thing that stopped this insanity.
Once in Anchorage we met up with my sister, her husband and our eight-year-old niece. Our plan was to pitch our tents down the Kenai Peninsula until we reached Homer. During the summers in Alaska it is easy to stay up late because the sun does not seem to set. This made it easy to stay up until midnight dancing to bluegrass music in Hope. Kyle was in heaven seeing all of the salmon runs occurring and fly fished for sockeye, coho and pink salmon. I was happy to breath in the mountain air, eat fresh berries and salmon, and not to see any bears.
Angelic women live in Homer. I mean it. As soon as we sat down at the Mermaid Café, before saying a word, a woman brought our son warm food. It was such a kind and thoughtful gesture. From Homer we chartered a boat to take us across the Cook Inlet to a bay where a yurt would be our home for a few days. This ride was breathtaking. We saw hundreds of salmon, jellyfish, eagles, an otter, a sea lion and a whale. And just like in the commercial, my phone storage ran out while video taping the whale. Usually in the bay you will see hundreds of starfish on the beach as the tide changes. A parasite had been moving up the west coast that summer and we saw none. It was a reminder of the natural balance of life.
We made it back home in one piece with a deeper appreciation of the Earth and all of her cycles. Although our son Declan was only 16 months old, we hope it influenced him to appreciate nature and spark a curiosity of adventure.
The majority of the trip went smoothly, which I attribute to thinking ahead and conscious packing. That is why Bethany, the queen of adventure gear at Bushbaby, asked me what some of my essentials are when packing for a trip like this one. For the kiddos a micro puff jacket is key for the cold plane ride and when the weather dips at night. The technology makes these jackets warm yet easy to stuff into a corner of a bag or used as a pillow. Our little one also packed boots, socks, a stocking hat, gloves and a rain jacket from Bushbaby. Two to three pairs of Smartwool socks are very important. They can go longer without washing and are very warm. A lightweight rain jacket with a hood will keep your kid dry and is an easy layer to pack while keeping your load light.
In order to navigate our toddler, a diaper bag and luggage through the O’Hare parking lot, we bought a second hand Kelty kids carrier from Bushbaby. Once we checked it as luggage (kids gear checks free) we had our packable Ergo as transportation for Declan. Both carriers were used throughout the trip on hikes.
In order to support our immune systems and keep calm while traveling we made sure to pack a few of our favorite Young Living essential oils as well as some portable chiropractic equipment (all four adults on the trip are doctors of chiropractic). The oils I packed included Australian Blue, Thieves and lavender. Of course we packed lots of healthy, organic snacks such as nuts, apples, dehydrated fruits and veggies.
Being as we were dropped off in the middle of nowhere without cell reception, the adults brought a first aid kit including sewing necessities, fire starter equipment, pocket knives, fishing gear, sleeping bags, rope, garbage bags, polarized sunglasses, cameras and a bear gun.
If getting out in Mother Nature and sleeping under the stars sound fun to you, but you have never done it before, my advice is to start local. We have a lot of great places to camp in the Peoria area. The more you camp the more you learn what a necessity to pack versus a pleasure is. For our family camping is a great way to reconnect to each other.
*Christine and her hubby, Kyle, own HAYNES FAMILY CHIROPRACTIC here in Peoria