Thursday, May 20, 2010

Denali National Park

Camping with a baby is a whole 'nother beast.

First of all, we didn't use the stroller once. We just traded off carrying her in the Ergo.

So we got everything packed up, popped the baby in the carseat and headed south toward Denali National Park. This part has one main road going through it and the road isn't open to private vehicles. Usually a tourist has to buy a seat on a tour bus to get past mile 15. Well, before the tourist season gets into full swing the road is open until mile 30, so we drove in and enjoyed the park.

At the end of the allowed section of road, we got out and started walking. The day was beautiful, the baby had been sleeping wonderfully, and our legs were ready for a little exploration. A few paces up from here, we ran into a river. I think it was the Teklanika River.

We hiked around, took some pictures, then headed back to the car. On the way back to the campground we saw a grizzly bear, lots of caribou, a ptarmigan, and a snowshoe hare. Talk about a plentiful critter count!

Camping with a baby is different than any camping I've ever done. We took a high chair (a nice little portable one) and strapped it to the picnic table.

This part actually worked really well. Dinner was awesome. We even roasted a couple sweet potatoes in the fire and gave the baby her first ever camp food. But then it was bedtime. And Adelaide LOVED the tent.

This was her expression every time she entered the 'light sleep' that babies are so famous for. Instead of opening her eyes, taking a breath and settling back to sleep, she opened her eyes, saw a tent and got all excited. Sometime after midnight we got her to sleep until the trains started coming through at 4:30am. None of the guide books mentioned the trains. They're loud, they're right outside Savage River Campground, and they do not care that you have finally gotten the baby to sleep.

So we scrapped night two, and just enjoyed the park and surrounding area as we headed home. We stopped by the sled dog barn and let Adelaide enjoy the dogs. They also quite enjoyed here. They were barking and jumping and all kinds of loud. Addie scolded them. I love her. She has absolutely no fear.

Lessons learned:
  • the stroller is a waste of time
  • babies love new things, including tents
  • 15 barking, jumping sled dogs are not scary
  • even when the park road is open and free people don't enjoy their national parks
  • Denali National Park is the only Alaskan national park that charges an entry fee. Don't bother with an Interagency Pass unless you'll be visiting other parks when you're out. [out: An Alaskan term referencing time spent outside of Alaska.]
Total mileage: 330
Days: 2
Food: bagels, sweet potatoes, chicken salad wraps, PB&J

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wohoo! 2010 Trip #1

We leave tomorrow for Denali National Park. I'd like to also stop by Denali State Park, which is supposed to have better views of Mt. McKinley (highest peak on the continent for anyone who didn't know) and stunning scenery. Lonely Planet tells me: "Some say on a clear day the panorama of Mt. McKinley here is the most spectacular view in North America." How could I pass that up?

Camping in the national park is free until Thursday, and the road is open to the public for an extra 17 miles. So we'll definitely drive along the road and see what we see, and enjoy the rare chance to see a bit more of the park without having to buy a bus ticket.

This will be us for the next few days:

(photo from

I may post pictures from the road if we get a convenient opportunity, or you may not see anything until Thursday.

Next up: Next week we'll be off to Anchorage & surrounding area.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Learning to use my camera!

I'm learning how to use my camera, and that means the pictures of our adventures are going to be that much better.

I've also been using SwagBucks which gives me points (like frequent flier miles) towards rewards like gift certificates. I just use their search engine instead of Google and I get gift cards. I have my eye on a couple different lenses for my camera and a remote shutter. If I get all that stuff I'll need a new camera bag too! Our to-do list may be documented with lots of fancy new equipment!