Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

I always feel strange saying "Happy Memorial Day." We're commemorating those who have died in service to our country. Now, we can certainly celebrate their courage and sacrifice, but somehow "Happy" seems inappropriate.

However, I can be happy about the unofficial start of summer! While Alaska definitely doesn't follow the traditional calendar seasons, Memorial Day is usually the start of our glorious summers.

We have been wanting to take the kids camping, as once you're set up for that it's an inexpensive trip. We don't have quite every thing we need for an all-out camping weekend (like a real tent), so we went for a day trip out to the Chena River Recreation Area on Chena Hot Springs Road. It's about an hour away from us and a beautiful drive. This is the same area Hubby and Grandpa go moose hunting in the fall.

There are campsites, ATV and hiking trails, remote cabins and river access points maintained by the State of Alaska. What I like best is that while they are nicely maintained, it's still rustic. The amenities may include such fripperies as an outhouse, a pump with potable iron-flavored water, a cast iron fire pit and a picnic table.

The camps with river access were packed even at noon on Memorial Day, so we headed to the farthest-most site, Red Squirrel Campground. We didn't see any squirrels, but were pleased to find a flock of wood ducks on the pond (Cornell University says wood ducks don't come here, but those green heads are pretty unmistakable). There was one other family of humans we could see.

I haven't lost my Girl Scout skills and got a fire going on the first try while Hubby got the kids going with their fishing poles. Nothing was biting but a lot of practice casting occurred. Kiddo is very interested in fishing but has only recently developed the patience to keep at it more than 10 minutes. Junior was much more into throwing rocks in the water, which was fine.

After an hour or so I had great cooking coals and roasted hotdogs for the gang. We then demonstrated the fine art of marshmallow roasting, at which Hubby is an expert. Me, I always catch them on fire. Kiddo berated me for not bringing graham crackers, which astounded me as I didn't know he had any idea what S'Mores are!

I don't do well in the sun, so hubby set up our little bug tent to give me some shade and I - get this - I sat around and did absolutely nothing but watch the ducks and kids for about an hour.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks like you got a second Mother's Day! Congrats on such a great family picnic.


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