Our final day of camping involved a little of this and a whole lot of that.
By *that* I'm referring to exploring and fishing wherever the wind took us.
After enjoying some grilled up morning sausage, scrambled eggs and fresh fruit salad, we loaded up the truck again with essentials and headed out. This time though, our most essential item was The Highway Angler: Fishing Alaska's Road System to help us find some off-the-beaten-path lakes where we could do some fishing & exploring.
Stop #1 - Benka Lake
Although we didn't land any Rainbow Trout or Arctic Char, the fishing was relaxing & peaceful and the kids loved it. Or at least kid #1 and #2... #3 was crashed out in the truck catching getting some beauty sleep.
Angler in the making
Exploring, observing, touching and talking about it all
Stop #2 - "XY" Lake
Hidden down a step path from the side turn off road we traveled down, we weren't sure at all if this place was even there. But after Daddy took a quick jaunt himself to confirm it, we all headed down to check it all out.
Daddy in front (with his pistol) and me as the caboose (with the bear spray).
And yes, those two things are essential if exploring in Alaska.
And as we made our way down the path, the lake came into view.
And we were immediately surrounded by mosquitoes... everywhere!
Only us... for miles!
Well, and the mosquitoes. But we put a 2nd layer of spray on, pulled our hoods & collars up and before long... they just seemed to disappear.
This was in deed the most peaceful place all weekend long.
Well, that's not entirely true. When you have small children who love to talk/scream/argue nonstop, it does ruin nature a bit. Reality is no bear or moose would probably want to come within 500 yds the Heck Family because of the noise violation that was going on down by the lake.
I'm surprised we even splurged for the "bear bells" last year when we bought hiking/camping stuff - there really seems to be no need. My kids are loud enough to scare anything off, including the fish.
Sorry, I digress.
It was absolutely beautiful!
Loved that they all were having such a good time.
Here's what Mama Heck was packin'... yep, bear spray!
With my mosquito spray on, my collar pulled high and my bear spray on the ready -
here's how I felt...
Can you see him?
Camouflaged in the lower right 1/3 of the picture, Brian wished he had his waders on because he would have been even closer down to the water trying to catch some trout.
There's what Daddy was packin' - one of his pistols.
Again, with how loud our crew is - I'm pretty certain the bears were more scared of us than we would be of them. But you can never be too careful.
After a few hours of fishing, we decided to head back into Talkeetna (we were only about 5-6 miles away at this point) to grab a late lunch. This time we tried out West Rib Café & Pub.
Speaking of Pub... Brian tried the Moose Drool Brown Ale and said it rocked!
Another fun stop at the playground for the kids on the way out of town burned off some energy!
Once back at camp, we grabbed a late afternoon snack at the General Store and strolled down to the water to see if the Salmon were running yet...
... and just Daddy's luck, they were stacking up to make their run up river/creek.
You would have thought Brian was a kid in a candy store.
And Thomas was all eyes on the action!
Unfortunately, no Salmon this time.
Next time though. Next time.
Me & Brian just enjoying some cold beverages together...
... and being silly.
Overall, great trip.
We can't wait to do it again.
There were most certainly lots and lots of lessons learned (that might have to be another post) and other things that we surprised ourselves with as we were amateurs.
I can't say this enough - getting away from the daily grind with just the kids and disconnecting from phones, internet and blogs was much needed.
It was an excellent reminder of what is most important in life - family.
Even if three of them are loud enough to scare away all the wildlife.