Inspired vs. Tired

I’m not sure what is up with me.  Usually I covet the time I carve out to write in this blog, but since we’ve been back I’ve felt a bit uninspired.  A transitional period, perhaps?  Nothing profound?  Post-vacation funk?  Back-to-school blues?

Or maybe we have just been going strong, reuniting and reconnecting with our Alaskan family.

In hindsight, we’ve only been home for a little over a week.  The kids wanted to raft the Kenai River as soon as we returned, but those plans were foiled by an idiot criminal whose attempt at car jacking shut down the Seward Highway for hours last weekend.  There is only one road to the Kenai, and it was closed.  We had to turn around and head home, where we made the best of things by cleaning out the garage.  (Clark’s ’67 Camaro is due to arrive any day now, so it was a necessary chore.  How is that for optimism?)

The following week I made up for lost time by climbing Arctic Valley, walking seven miles along Campbell Creek, and enjoying a happy hour with a few of my book club girlfriends.

Arctic Valley: Sam and Maggie made it to the top!
Arctic Valley: Sam and Maggie at the Saddle
Arctic Valley: with the kids
Kids heading back down…
Wildflowers at Arctic Valley

After hiking Arctic Valley, we took a day to rest before hitting the Campbell Creek Trail.  It is nice and flat, so the kids (Lia, Sam, and Maggie) could bike while Nancy, Janelle (+Ocoee), and I strolled behind.  We knocked out a good seven miles before landing at the Peanut Farm’s outdoor deck for lunch and drinks!

Campbell Creek trail – great little bikers!

Before we knew it another weekend had rolled around, and we ventured towards the Kenai once again.  This time the car jacking criminals stayed at bay, and we safely drove to the peninsula.  We didn’t see as much wildlife as usual, but did encounter one playful grizzly.  You might need to zoom in, but this is a cool picture:

See the playful grizzly cub behind Sam?
Both kids get in the grizzly photo!

As you can see, we have definitely departed from the 100+ degree temperatures of the Midwest.  Even Anchorage was a balmy 68 when we left, but things were very different once we hit the windy water.  Someday I will learn that I always need to pack a wool stocking cap, even on the warmest days of our Alaskan summers.  Sigh.

It always amazes me how fisherman and bears so calmly coexist on the Kenai River, especially when we float near the confluence of the Russian.  Luckily they are enough salmon to share!

Not all wildlife is so big, wild, and distant.  Some can be up close, curious, and comical:

Alaska’s not-so-giant squirrels…

It was solemn and strange to float with only one dog this trip.  We still deeply feel Bailey’s absence, but smiled at the memories of her theatrics on the dozens of floats we enjoyed together.  Kodi is finally starting to adjust to her solo dog status, but in her old age she is not as tolerant of the frigid water or mild rapids.  (I’m not either, so I can’t blame her!)  She was definitely happiest when she was free to sniff around during our pit stops.

Kodi on the boat
Kodi and the kids

I wish I had photos of everything else we have done since we came home:  family tennis matches, Russian Jack bike rides, a tear jerker movie night with Dolphin Tale, becoming Olympaholics with London 2012, swimming parties, and a Pictionary battle for the books.

I think I’ve figured out what’s wrong with me.  I’m not uninspired… I’m just tired!!!

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