When we have each other, we have everything.
Fun day on Lake Minnetonka with friends: Krysta, Mariah and Anders, Wade, Ross and Heather, Ali and Mike, and Heidi and Jade. We tied the boats together along with hundreds of other boats. Tim McGraw came to support the benefit of Liberty on the Lake. This benefit is to support veterans and animals to assist veterans. The weather was beautiful, the snacks were tasty, and there was a ton of entertainment to be had between the pontoon slide, the lily pad, and the concert!
Ben and I spent some time in Seattle and Pateros for a few days prior to going to Alaska. We helped my parents complete some projects at the cabin (painting, installing baseboard heaters and smart locks). I was able to go into Seattle with Garrett and Katie for some amazing pastries at a bakery and loved the fresh pasta at a restaurant that is only open a few hours a day!
From there, we flew to Anchorage, Alaska to spend several days in Denali and Katmai National Parks. Our first stop was Katmai National Park. This park has the highest concentration of grizzly (brown) bears in the world! They come to this area for the salmon run. For a limited time, they allow visitors because the bears don't associate people with food and because the bears are so consumed by the salmon. It was incredible to watch and be surrounded by up to 9 grizzlies at a time! The float plane to get to the park was also a highlight. I have never been on one and it took us 2 1/2 hours each way. We were graced with a clear day so we saw the different peaks making up the Alaska Range and glaciers. It was an incredible experience.
We spent the next few days in Denali National Park. Our first day was a bus tour that went the entire 90 miles into the park. It is only accessible by car up to the first 15 miles and from there you are restricted to buses. Although it was a lot of time in a bus, our guide was very knowledgeable, and we saw a lot of wildlife. We saw two moose and calf combos, a coyote, caribou, grizzly sow and cubs, red fox, dall's sheep, and a lot of birds local to the area. The second day, we drove the 15 miles and wandered some of the trails into the park. It is a stunning park that is kept so pristine because of the restrictions placed on visitors. You can travel anywhere within the park on foot as long as you follow the "leave no trace" expectations.
While we were near Denali, we visited Husky Homestead. Husky Homestead is owned by Jeff King, an Iditarod champion. They own 40 huskies and they breed/train in this facility. They hand you husky puppies when you get off the bus, which was my favorite part of the trip for sure! We were able to hear about the prep work for the Iditarod and see how they train the dogs in the summer. It was really fascinating to learn about such a unique sport.
Bunners (the little guy you see above in the video) is a special member of our family dating all the way back to my parents living in Kansas. He makes an appearance a few times...keep an eye out for him!
Ben, Julie, and Amelia