Jun 3, 2015
Oops we did it again....camping that is. You may remember our very recent camping trip, and how it went swimmingly. Well let me introduce you to the complete opposite! Better scenery, further drive, out of control children. Buckle your seat belts baby!
For this family adventure we decided to head up north to Denali National Park. Chris and a few friends backpacked through the park last summer, and he hasn't stopped talking about it since. Chris didn't really know how to do a family trip there since backpacking is way out of the question. So when I agreed to the first camping trip....he had his sights set on this one next. I thought why not? You can't live in Alaska and not go to Denali! The preparation began.
We reserved a campsite at the Savage River campground, one of only two campgrounds that you can drive to within the park. This is the smaller one, the other is Riley Creek, which is super busy with all the people driving in and out getting passes to the park. We thought that was not such a good idea seeing as how Pierce is a flight risk and cars don't exactly scare him. So we made the five hour drive up. The drive was the easy part....
Until I asked Chris if he remembered to pick up coffee, to which he responded "oh shit". OH SHIT is right! How are we to survive if we don't have caffeine propelling us forward. Chris said "well there has to be some little market or gas station somewhere close". Oh there was, the last gas station before you enter the park. Chris ran in and came out with the smallest Folgers can of coffee grounds ever made, which also expired in Nov 2014. Yum!
We made it to the campsite and got everything set up and had some lunch. The kids were super excited about wanting to play close to the street. Here you have an endless amount of woods to explore, yet you want to play chicken in the road with the slow moving cars. I'll never understand. But we pressed on. We filled our bellies and decided to go explore.
Being only a short walk to the Savage River itself we headed that way. Anytime you go anywhere in Alaska you need to be cognizant of the wildlife presence. This is amplified when you are in Denali. We tried to explain to the kids that they needed to stay close, still explore of course, but never stray from the trail. Pierce took this as more of a mild warning than a direct order. He would stop randomly, jump off the trail, find moose tracks and decide to follow them, I mean you name he did it. It was a struggle to get him to even continue walking without some kind of defiance. The other kids were doing just great!
Once we got down to the river the views were amazing!! It was 74 out! 74 freaking degrees, I mean that right there is enough to send my usual cold bones into a frenzy. The kids wanted to throw rocks in the water as kids do. This lasted a good while until Pierce couldn't help himself but jump right in. It would be all well and good except the water is freezing. This pissed him off, he yelled "It is so cold!! I want warm water like the bath!" well you don't get to pick which river is warm Pierce. He continued to jump and splash and irritate everyone. We kept walking along the river thinking at some point Pierce will just snap out of this. We were wrong.
He continued to to throw some three year old shade at us all. (Have I ever told you that I wholeheartedly believe the threes blow the "terrible twos" out of the water? Well they do!). The sheer defiance continued. The only good part was that all of his screaming and craziness was a wonderful bear deterrent!
Even his hair just screams I am out of my mind today!
The children decided this camping trip that they wanted to be real comfortable with nature and take matters into their own hands when it comes to natures call. As many times as we would ask them if they had to go to the bathroom the answer would be no, I'm okay. As I was feeding Odette and Chris was getting dinner stuff ready we hear "look at me! I'm peeing all by myself". As fast as we could move we see Pierce, dangerously close to the campsite next to us, pants down, and about the take aim! Chris in the calmest way possible said "noooo! not there!!". Of course Pierce took this as the devils work and screamed in protest that we would not let him pee on someone else's tent. The boy should have been arrested for indecent exposure at this point because he refused to keep his pants up. You do you Pierce....you just do you.
The whole tiring kids out thing didn't really work either since they are fueled by the sun. I think we ate dinner around 8pm and no one was near tired (except for Chris and I) until about 11. Then in the middle of the night the wind picked up and the temps dropped to what I can only describe as...what the hell!! The kids were all waking up saying they were cold, I was rummaging through bags finding some more layers while trying not to wake up the baby. Chris was sleeping.....
We woke up to the frigged temps that stuck around all night. I am talking kids were in hats, gloves, three layers, and just wanted to sit in the car and warm up. Blueberry pancakes sounded good no matter what though. And let me tell you a little secret, the visitor center at the park sells the most amazing blueberry pancake mix EV-ER! So Denali goers, you have to get some. And I recommend buying a couple bags to bring home as well! We indulged!
The kids then said they did not want to get out of the car for the day....that they were too cold. I couldn't blame them at that moment, because I was kind of over it myself. Between the non-stop yelling at Pierce, Odette and her non-stop feeding madness, and the mosquitoes that were out for blood, literally....staying in the car and driving around the park to snap some pics was a welcomed adventure.
While driving around we saw someone with a Starbucks cup in hand, and had to restrain each other from jumping out and tackling this innocent individual. But where? Where did he get that cup? A new mission had come about, find the damn building serving Starbucks. We drove from place to place alternating who was going to run in and take a peek. It was Chris's turn and I broke out into song as I saw him walking back to the car with two steaming cups in hand! It was like the parental gods looked down upon us and said....you guys are struggling, here have a cup.
We took a ton of pictures and set our sights on home. The drive back was awful. The kids fighting about breathing in general. Chris and I just laughing and taking an oath they we will never go camping again. (ya right...we like living on the edge of parental explosion). We also came to the conclusion that if this was survivor, Pierce would be voted off the island!