Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Montana Creek Camping - Day 1

Summer time.  Here now.  Will be over soon.  Need to keep taking advantage of all that Alaska has to offer us in the way of absolute beauty, amazing adventure, and yes... monster mosquitoes, too!
What better way to spend the July 4th long weekend than out camping, fishing, exploring and disconnecting from TV, Internet, blogs, work and most of civilization?
Both Brian and I can whole-heartedly agree, getting away with the kids was just what we both needed.  It was peaceful {although with 3 kids, it doesn't stay that way for long} and refreshing and it most certainly did the heart & mind some good.
Final preparations to roll out of town. 
We headed north from Anchorage about 2 hours until we got to our destination - Montana Creek Campground.  Nestled nicely between the small towns of Willow (where the famous Iditarod Race begins) and Talkeetna (the real-life town that the 90's hit TV show Northern Exposure's location was based on) on mile marker 96.5 on the Parks Hwy, it was a perfect spot to slow down & unwind for the weekend.  
It is a decent-sized campground with spaces for RVs with electrical hookups towards the front and more secluded tent sites under cover of birch and spruce trees in the back.
Once Daddy got us parked, we helped unload & get the initial things set up.  Meanwhile, the youngest Hecks couldn't wait to explore...
Despite the rainy forecast, we were armed with our rain boots, rain jackets and lots of sweatshirts.  And really, what kid doesn't want to go puddle jumping & walk through little mud holes & have some fun?  There was no disappointed kiddos here.

 These was my go-to foot gear almost all weekend.

It didn't take us long to wander down to Montana Creek (which runs along the north side of the campground) and check things out.  At this point in the trip (day 1), the King Salmon hadn't started their run yet... but that would be quite another story by the end of the weekend.  And yes, that is bear spray clipped to the back of Brian's backpack.  This is a must and we always have it with us when we are this close to nature (and the wildlife).
Rock throwing into the water quickly became a favorite pastime.

  I loved that there was a general store at the campground - one night I bought an extra pack of hot dogs when a few certain people got the late night munchies.  Did I mention that the kids loved it too - they had a stocked freezer of yummy ice cream treats.

I hate to admit it but we didn't bring nearly enough of this (and so paid for a few bundles over the course of the weekend)...
This guy plays a mean game of checkers.
And this girly girl can shake you down in a game of Go Fish.
Our weekend pad...
Daddy did some slight modifications to one of the couches so that Marilyn would have a safe, comfortable, cozy bed.  It comes complete with inflatable pool raft for bumper guards.  She loved it!
Screened in canopy & kids picnic table were most certainly some must-haves and I'm so thankful we brought them with us!

Although I'm not completely sold on these OFF! Mosquito lanterns, they were free with tons of refills that the previous RV owners left for us.  I'll need at least one more camping trip using them to decide if they are worth keeping or not.
 Although we didn't do any long bike trips, we did have some fun in the local area.  Thomas, on the other hand, rode his bike everywhere through the campground and loved it!  Next time though, we will need to bring Abby's - the girl just couldn't stand that Thomas was out exploring without her.
We had a great camping spot - just over these rocks was Montana Creek.  Yes, if you really think about it... Brian had water front camping.  Figures.
Enjoying the campfire.
 Dry feet.
 They loved this.
I'm not sure if it was the campfire as much as the nonstop food & snacks that they could eat while hanging around.

Learning the ropes to a perfect S'More!
 Long after the kids had crashed out in bed, Brian and I enjoyed the peace & quiet, warmth of the fire, good conversation, beer, wine and even some rain.
And just FYI - this picture was taken at midnight.
My morning view from my bed - nothing could be sweeter.

I've always thought that with summer vacation there is a sweet spot somewhere in the middle where we balance resting and playing, chilling out and going out, staying at home and hitting the highway.
Brian and I are both so glad that we decided to hit the highway and get out of our comfort zone to enjoy the kids and the great outdoors this past weekend.
Here's to more camping trips in the coming weeks and through the rest of the Alaskan summer!

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