The Last Frontier…with Kids.

Ahhhhhh. That’s the type written version of the deep inhale and exhale that I immediately do when I even think about Alaska. Wide open roads. Gorgeous scenery. Wildlife sightings. Clean air. It was really an incredible road trip that we will remember forever and, thankfully so because we weren’t eaten by bears, which was a REAL fear before, and even during, our trip!

Let’s start with the bears because it’s the right thing to do. We saw signs everywhere. We heard stories. And, then we talked to locals. Some of which would carry a can of bear spray around their waist (for easy access), others who seemed very unconcerned about bears — even laughing as they refer to tourists as “dinner” when they chime their jingle bells walking by on a hike. We made lots of noise and thankfully we had no issues! It’s definitely scary though. We would go on hikes and immediate see a WARNING: Bear sign. It’s just an added fear that we don’t often think about during our hikes in many other parts of the world! Although, each destination seems to have its own predators. We saw a bear outside of our cabin only to be scared away by a small dog. We saw another safely in a tram on our way back down from a steep hike! So, I think you are cautious and smart … and super LOUD! And, the bears will steer clear. On the other hand, we were told by all locals to be extremely fearful of moose. They are the ones to attack with their super sharp hooves.

We couldn’t think of a better plan than Alaska for a family vacation. The hiking. Oh my gosh. Some of the best we’ve ever done. The scenery is out of this world. We even hiked on Root Glacier in Kennicott. Such a highlight for all of us! The kids took their turns at ice climbing. These are experiences that they will remember forever. Traveling with kids can be so challenging, but then you reflect on these incredible moments and adventures – learning new skills, time spent together, and you realize how priceless it is.

So, our first stop was McCarthy. A tiny town 7 to 8 hours from Anchorage, but a stunning drive! Throw on the Hamilton soundtrack (which we are OBSESSED with right now) or a book on audio and just take in the beautiful roads. We stayed at tiny cabins in the woods and used an outhouse shared amongst several cabins. This was our most rustic accommodation. And, while I think it’s funny (because so many people I know would never do this), it was part of what made Alaska such an amazing experience.! Who knew that you could return from a vacay feeling SO extremely grateful for a…toilet! Right?! But, it’s true. I was never more grateful for a running toilet with water right in my own home!

From their we made our way to Valdez and had the most epic day ocean fishing with Vixen Charters. We drove the car onto the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry from Valdez to Whittier and took in the Prince WIlliam Sound sights for five amazing hours! Spotted Orca Whales in the distance! Wrapping up our two week road trip in Seward and Girdwood.  We tracked Beluga Whales in the Turnagain Arm, went fly fishing, played Uno in a coffee shop.

Sadly, like all good things, it had to come to end and we were left with memories of another incredible family adventure. Our first night back home our daughter was weeping in her bed. When we asked her what was wrong she explained, “I just don’t want it to end.” Magic.

Happy #wildbumming!

Mollie Krengel

Mollie Krengel