Palmer Hay Flats

Last weekend we spent a day hiking in the Palmer Hay Flats. We started by hiking this new trail. I was excited to try it out as I’ve heard lots of great things.

The length and terrain are almost perfect for small kids. The trail is all boardwalk that starts out wood and then switches over to grates about halfway through. The boardwalk is pretty narrow so it can be tricky for unsteady toddlers. Lillian had no problem but Hazel struggled a little and kept tripping once we got to the grated part. We just put her in the carrier for that portion. At the end of the short trail is a nice platform (can’t wait to take the girls here for weekday picnics). We jumped off and explored the area for quite a while. The girls loved it.

After we finished, we weren’t ready to head home. We decided to drive a couple of miles down the road to another trail. We hiked this short trail around Reflections Lake. Lillian loved climbing up the viewing platform and then pointing out different birds to us. And of course the lake is always a mess hit.

It felt so good to get outside and explore. It did start raining while we were at Reflections but it didn’t bother us one bit. We’re used to that up here. Also, we spotted a few moose so that was an added bonus.

xo,
Briana

**I just want to mention for anyone coming up for the wedding, either of these hikes would be great to do while you’re here. They don’t offer a huge WOW factor (zero incline, you’re not scaling mountains) but they’re short, beautiful, easy, and super close to the wedding location. If you’re in the Palmer/Wasilla area and just looking to get outside for a couple of hours, I would highly recommend them, especially if you have small children or aren’t an avid hiker. Click on the links ↑ for directions and more info. 

Ramblings & A Fall Hike

Happy Thanksgiving week! We just returned from a trip to Montana where we were visiting family. We all had so much fun, especially the girls. Blake’s brother lives there and his house/yard is like a petting zoo. The girls loved playing outside with all the cats and dogs, chasing wild turkeys every day, and watching “big bucks” come into the yard. Lillian was pretty sad to leave and told us numerous times during our flight home that she wanted to sell the house and move in with Uncle Brandon.

We’re busy catching up and getting back into a routine this week. Thanksgiving kinda snuck up on us and we’re pretty unprepared. Right now it’s looking like we’ll be at home cuddled up on the couch, watching the parade and football, ordering pizza, snacking on a few Thanksgiving themed appetizers, and finishing off the day with pie or cheesecake (I haven’t decided yet). That’s about all I can handle this year. We had turkey and all the fixings last weekend in Montana so I don’t even feel bad.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to share some fall photos from last month. The fall season is beautiful here but so short. It seems like the leaves change overnight and are gone within a week or two. I really wanted to make a point to get out with the girls and enjoy a nice hike before the leaves disappeared. I’m so glad we went when we did because a huge wind/rain storm moved in days later and that was the end of the beautiful fall colors.

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Hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving!

xo,
Briana

 

 

Matanuska Glacier

One of my favorite places to visit here in Alaska is the Matanuska Glacier. This place is breathtaking. It makes me feel free and happy and alive and so small. I feel like I’m in another world. It’s hard to explain, but it’s amazing.

If you’re a local and have not been, go. At mile 101 of the Glenn Highway is the Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site. This is a great place to stop and view the glacier from afar. You’re able to see how far back it goes (not entirely) and get an idea of just how large it is, 4 miles wide and 27 miles long. However, it does not offer direct access to the glacier. At mile 102 you will come to a road that will lead you to Glacier Park, which offers access to the glacier by foot.

Every time we visit, our hike out to the glacier is so different. It melts so much between visits, it’s shocking and a little eery. The girls really enjoyed this visit. Last time we were on the glacier Hazel was just a baby, so it was exciting to see her walk on it during this trip. Lillian had fun using her hiking poles and thought she was pretty cool every time someone passed us and mentioned them. Some of the pictures I took on this trip are some of my all time favorites. There’s one of Lillian crying that is classic. I can’t even remember what happened, that’s just our normal. There’s also one of Hazel being tossed in the air that I love. We did that last year with Lillian, so it’s fun to have one of each of them like that. And the one of them sitting together and smiling at the camera is priceless… because that never happens. ♥

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This place is beautiful. I can’t wait for our next visit.

xo,
Briana

 

 

Soaking Up The Last Days Of Summer

When it comes to weather, we have had an unbelievable summer up here. There’s been tons of days in the upper 60s and 70s. I think we even hit 80s a couple of times. Where am I?!

Warm to me is now 60s and sunny. 70s and sunny means we’re probably heading to the lake or setting up the sprinkler in our yard. I don’t know what it is, 70 degrees in Alaska feels way hotter than it does in the lower 48. I can’t explain it, it just does.

However, in the last couple weeks the air feels cooler, it’s getting darker earlier and earlier at night, and the leaves are rapidly changing. Fall is right around the corner. So when we get yet another gorgeous day, we like to enjoy it, soak it up, take full advantage of it knowing that it could be our last.

Last Monday was one of those days. After nap time I loaded up the girls and headed to one of our favorite places, the Eagle River Nature Center. We LOVE this place. Not only is it stunning, it’s a quick 10 minute drive from our house. It’s also very kid-friendly with a variety of hiking trails, viewing decks, and educational signage. The Rodak Loop is only 3/4 of a mile and easy enough for Lillian to walk run the whole thing by herself.

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This trip was extra fun because when we arrived at the viewing decks we found salmon in the water! Every year salmon come to the stream to spawn, but since we’ve never visited during spawning season it was the first time we’ve seen them there. As such, we were pretty excited. Lillian loved watching the fish. She laughed and screamed and pointed and ran around for at least an hour. Hazel sat in silence and watched her sister. Par for the course.

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The girls were such good little hiking buddies. They cooperated long enough for me to get some cute photos of them, and even one of the three of us together (note: not a shadow selfie). It was the best day. Summer, don’t go!

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In other news, we just returned from a camping trip in the Valdez area. Between mountains of laundry and winterizing the trailer, oh and my Fantasy Football draft, I’m hoping to post some pictures soon.

Until next time,
Briana