Well, we have hit the grand finale for our trip...Alaska! I honestly cannot believe we made it this far...back when this whole trip was a dream, we talked about Alaska as this mythical, far away place that would be our ending and holy cow...WE ACTUALLY MADE IT!!! We opted to fly from Seattle to Anchorage to save time rather than drive although we would love to actually do the drive someday. Let me start by saying that after a week in Alaska, I feel like I found the state this whole family could run away to and not look back. I have never seen a more beautiful place and wish it was some kind of law that every citizen of America had the opportunity to visit here someday!
Our first stop was Anchorage and we packed in the fun! We went to the Reindeer farm where we got to hand feed reindeer! And these aren't just ordinary reindeer; Santa actually comes here every year to pick the best of the best to join him in the North Pole! Luke about peed himself with excitement when he learned this info! Top that with learning that Rudolph and his Dad "John Deer" came from here and that little boy was flying so high on a cloud it will take him months to surface! I have to say, you honestly could feel the magic at this place and we had the most incredible 3 hours ever! Our next stop was the Anchorage Zoo...home of Matt's first moose sighting!!! Another win for this family! How neat to get to see all of the animals native to Alaska all in one place!!! Anchorage was also home to sea-plane watching, the worlds largest chocolate fountain, lots of souvenir shopping, hanging out on the beach, lots of hiking though the woods, and following the local moose paths!
Our next major stop was Seward, a super cute, teeny-tiny town that would lead us to glaciers! Craig's Dad joined up with us for this leg of the trip and the kids were excited to have Grandpa along for the fun. We stopped to see the Portage Glacier which was sadly shrinking due to a warm spring but rest assured was still there! Big shock my people felt the need to hop into the Arctic, FREEZING water (if their are glaciers it's clearly cold!) and actually hold a chunk of ice! Talk about once in a lifetime experiences!! In Seward we went to the Sea Life Center and Otter Rehabilitation Center. So much fun!!! We saw 4 day old otters, watched the most hilarious sea lion family having a family dispute and got up close and personal to so many animals. Our hotel was right in the water and we could see the fisherman bringing in their catches from our windows, as well as the otters playing in the water below us! Our big adventure in Seward was the Glacier and marine tour we took...coolest experience ever! We not only saw Shamu and his family in the wild, we saw Mountain Goats, Sperm Whales, Dolphins, Orcas, Bald Eagles, Moose, Dall's Porpoise, Gray Whales, Humpback Whales, Stellar Sea Lions, Puffins, Black Bears and Seals! On top of all this crazy wildlife, we saw glaciers so close we could feel the spray of ice breaking off! What an amazing adventure!!!
Homer was our next major stop and we got to go through the Kenai River on our way there...what a beautiful drive! I'm absolutely in love with this entire state and cannot stop staring out the windows! In Homer we stayed with Eileen and Dave, friends of Craig and his Dad since his Dad's childhood and such kind people! They made us feel right at home and we enjoyed our entire visit. In Homer we got to see the world's largest fish hook, the actual ship from "Deadliest Catch", more bald eagles, more moose, went to the Islands and Ocean Visitor Center, saw a crazy amount of otters playing in the water, shopped for more souvenirs, played outside in the breathtaking scenery and went up the road to the sleepy town of Ninilchik for our biggest adventure...halibut fishing!!! Matt has bee looking forward to this since before the trip began and it did not disappoint! We had a private, chartered boat that took us out for 6 hours to find our fish. (I would have happily skipped this adventure but as a Mom, could NOT miss seeing my Matt's face when he got to finally catch the fish of his dreams! I despise fishing, battled sea sickness and migraines and would still do it all over again to see those smiles and excitement on my guys faces!!!) Our 2 captains could not have been nicer to the kids and went out of their way to make sure they had a fun day. Everyone gets 2 fish per Alaska law so you can bet for the price we paid Craig made me record my 2 fish as well :) And no..I did not actually catch them but rather ran over and grabbed Craig;s rod once he had them on the line, pretended I caught them and let Craig pull them in! Seeing Luke beat the fish with mallets, Brian almost falling in doe to tension on his rod, Matt with a smile as big as his face and Craig beaming with pride will go down as my favorite Alaska memory!