Our trip was almost over, this was our last full day. I was kind of feeling anxious about everyone enjoying themselves. We had sort of planned a hike that day but I couldn't tell if anyone was up for it and somehow I felt like I had to make the decisions on this trip. One of my kids had mentioned not wanting to go hiking, and I didn't want to push them into doing what I wanted, but I also didn't want to waste the opportunity for unique experiences we couldn't have at home. And, often with my children, as with others I believe, they have a hard time actually leaving the house / where they are comfortable, but then really enjoy the activity.
We went ahead with the plan for the hike. A short hike--just long enough to satisfy my hunger for a chunk of time spent walking, and short enough for the young ones to tolerate. Actually it fell totally short of the time I wanted to spend hiking but that was okay, I know my limits with a toddler : )
We went to Thunderbird Falls which is found somewhat between Anchorage and Palmer in Chugach State Park. It was super lush and green. Lori's younger kids came along too and Bailey and Ellery had lots of fun finding numerous "picture spots" along the way for us to photograph them.
We didn't hang out at the waterfall for long because it was a little muddy and slippery and nowhere to hang out. You can see how pretty the trail was though and this hollow tree trunk all the kids had a turn hiding in. The kids had tons of fun.
From there we drove just a little further into the park to see Eklutna Lake. I don't know the name of the peak behind it but it looks lovely with that cloud sitting halfway up the mountain. What was cool about this trip was all of these beautiful places we went, and none of them were crowded! There was literally no one at this lake but us I think. Cade showed us his awesome rock skipping skills and the kids played for a bit--the girls were building some kind of fairy fortress or something with rocks, and we all just kind of soaked it in for a bit.
That night William and Lori took Tyler and I out in Anchorage. First we did some souvenir shopping downtown and then met up at the brewery. We had local seafood (well I did, Tyler steered as far away from that as he could) and we loved their original rootbeer and cream soda.
After dinner we went to Ship Creek to see if we could see any of the salmon run. The picture below was taken around 11:15 or so p.m., lots of fishermen still out but no one was really catching while we were there. From a bridge Lori and I thought we saw a big fish coming our way, or at least a big ripple, when we realized it was a tiny critter. We were in love when we saw that it was a tiny little beaver who literally hopped out of the water to put a stick in its mouth and swim away with it.
It was so beautiful and strange that that opportunity ever existed for me to have Cade put his actual half-siblings to sleep and it pains me that they won't remember that. Lori has often shared with my how tender Cade can be with his siblings and I have definitely seen their love and admiration for him. Cade is actually quite shy also and one of the few things I actually remember him saying to me on this trip, I mean, not responding but initiating, was one time in the car he said about Waylon--"He's really smart." It was such a small thing, and I'm not sure Waylon was exhibiting any real "smarts" at this point, but I sort of sensed that Cade was really enjoying the opportunity to get to know these kids too.