I’m going to take a few minutes today to play a little bit of catch-up! If you missed my crazy “this is what we’ve done the last six months” post a couple weeks ago you can get a brief update HERE.
Today, though, I want to share more in-depth about our little excursion down to Anchorage that we took in June. Mister needed to have a medical procedure done (nothing scary or serious, just something he couldn’t get done at the hospital here) and so his employer covered our travel down to Anchorage. It was a pretty sweet deal!
The drive down was absolutely gorgeous. For my WA friends, the best example I can think of is the stark difference between the West side of the mountains and the East. Fairbanks isn’t Eastern Washington, by any means, but the contrast between Fairbanks and the Anchorage area is similar as far as weather (Fairbanks is much dryer) and foliage (Anchorage has more evergreens).
We were really hoping to see Denali since we drove right past the entrance of and along the edge of Denali State Park. However, both our trip up and down proved to be extremely foggy, rainy, cloudy days and so the majority of our views looked like this:
Still pretty, but obscured by clouds just a bit. The drive took us about 7 hours with some potty breaks, a lunch break, etc. We thankfully didn’t hit any construction. It really opened our eyes to just how different living here will be. Fairbanks and Alaska are the two biggest cities and yet it takes the majority of a day to get from one to the other. Alaska is huge. People joke about Texas being huge, but Texas is a little tiny baby compared to Alaska. Fun fact, land-size-wise, Alaska is bigger than Montana, California, and Texas all put together. And then the population of the whole state is roughly that of Seattle. It truly is the last frontier!
On our first night in Anchorage we took the girls to see Finding Dory since they had been asking and asking. They really loved it — and it was a fun way to spend an evening together.
One thing that Fairbanks really doesn’t have is chain-anything. We have Old Navy, McDonalds, and Walmart here and it doesn’t go much beyond that. Thankfully, though, spending the past three years in Germany really prepared us for doing without. However, Anchorage HAS. IT. ALL. So we really enjoyed getting to eat at some old favorites that we haven’t been able to in quite some time! Mister got a big, ole juicy steak at Texas Road House and the girls devoured insane amounts of ice cream from Marble Slab Creamery…. just to name a few!
We (and by we, I mean I) also made sure to visit Target. It is kind of sacrilegious to be near a Target when you don’t live one and not visit.
On our first full day in Anchorage we visited the Alaska Zoo! We are totally zoo people! We visited countless zoos while we were in Europe. It is just a great activity for our entire family at this stage in our lives! One thing that is special about this particular zoo is that while they don’t have a lot of big-animal attractions, they are a zoo that really exists just to care for injured and abandoned animals who wouldn’t survive in the wild. They also re-home a lot of animals out to other places throughout the country. It was neat to see that they have sent a lot of animals down to NW Trek since we had just visited in March when we were in WA!
Never a dull moment with our crew! So much fun. After a long day of driving the day before it was so nice to let the girls out to run and burn off some energy. Plus, the Zoo itself has some gorgeous scenery that proved to be a great back drop for some shots of my girls. Someone please tell them to stop growing up so fast!
I have a friend who I grew up with (literally K-12!!) who currently lives in Anchorage and takes amazing pictures! So it was super, super fun to meet up with her one afternoon for coffee and catch up! She is super, super adventurous and has done and seen amazing things in Alaska and provided me with a great, family-friend hike idea to go across a river on a hand-tram. I think I’ve mentioned before that we aren’t super outdoorsy people, so this was big for us! The girls had a blast, the hand tram was seriously a cool experience, and we can now say that we’ve hiked in Alaska, right?
Did I mention that Alaska is so stinkin’ beautiful? Oh. But wait. There is more! So, in order to even get to the trail we had to drive a bit and that forced us to drive to Beluga Point… life is rough with views like these!
I’ll just leave that right there. You’re welcome. It is unreal, right? Totally takes your breath away. The blistering, chilling wind helps with that too. But seriously. Even on a super cloudy, cold, rainy day this place just amazed us.