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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Denali Park Mother's Day Trip

 Mt. McKinley just barely visible in the background.  Called Denali (the Athbaskan name) by Alaskans

In spring, once the road into Denali National Park can be cleared, and before the park is completely open for the season by Memorial weekend, the park road is open to mile 30.  Denali park is not open to personal vehicle traffic past mile 15 during the summer season, the only way into the park is by shuttle bus.  We look forward to the “shoulder season” visits where the park is not packed, and we can enjoy a nice day trip in our own vehicle.  Believe me; by the time spring comes around, we CAN’T WAIT for a road trip.  One of the hardest things about living in the interior of Alaska is the fact that there are simply not many places to go for a day trip.  Anchorage is hundreds of miles, and hours south, requiring at least an overnight visit.  Denali Park is usually our first spring road trip destination.  We pile in the kids, the snacks, a lunch, the camera and some binoculars and head out for some sightseeing.
Ice jam along the Nenana River

 Endless Beauty in the Park

When the kids were younger, they would be excited for the trip and amuse themselves by keeping a tally of animals seen.  As with most things these days, this year was different, apparently this too can be added to the “I’m too old for that category”.  My oldest is out of the nest and was working, so just the younger two came.  The soon to have a license 16 year old didn’t want to go at all.  By letting him drive, and by pulling the “but it’s Mothers’ Day weekend” card, he came.  My 12 year old, had a school sleepover the night before (yes I think her teacher is a saint to sleepover with an entire multi-age class of 4,5 and 6 graders).  Needless to say, 12 girl was TIRED, because I’m pretty sure that not much sleeping happened.  So I sat in the backseat, sipping coffee while 12 girl dozed, and 16 boy chauffeured us to the park.  DH pulled the “I’m the dad” card and drove the 30 miles in and out of the park itself though.  It had snowed the night before, so there was still a lot of snow on the ground.  The kids fought over the best window seat (yes some things don’t change), and 12 girl made us stop many times for “wait I see something”, most of which were bushes.  Our official tally, 6 caribou, 3 dall sheep, 1 red fox.  Mom is not too old to keep tally.  

Photo credit here
  Yes the kids are growing up.  I try to not cling to what they were, or dwell on where we are going, and just enjoy where they are today.  It’s hard to keep up sometimes; who they are these days seems to change on a daily basis.  Both kids independently told me happy mother’s day, and I received a Mother’s Day text from 18 boy (all without being prompted to).   The kids are heading out for their annual Mother’s Day gift of cleaning my car, also not prompted, (yes maybe this growing up thing isn’t so bad after all) , then off to Barnes and Noble for a new Nook cover, (someone’s cat used mine for a cat scratcher! WTH???).  I hope everyone has a great Mother’s day!

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  1. I love your Denali photos! I have been there 2 times while my youngest daughter was going to school at UAF Fairbanks. She worked in Denali for a summer ~ what a fantastic "office"! (She recieved her B.A. in Wildlife Biology there. Married and continued her studies in N.Y where she earned her M.A. and is currently working for her Ph.D.)
    We hope to visit Alaska again, and when Daughter moves back, we may even try to find a vacation home there.
    Visiting from the Homestead Barn Hop!

  2. Beautiful pictures! Visited there in the summertime only, these are great shots.