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August Adventures in Alaska with Bryan’s Sweet Family

Towards the end of August, we had two very special visitors – Bryan’s Mom and Dad! I tell you – I Love Alaska with a capital “L”, but it has been too long since the four of us could enjoy each other’s company. Mrs. Bonnie Jo and Mr. Alden came up to Alaska right before Bryan’s 29th birthday, and we had every minute packed with Alaska fun for them. As you guys probably remember, we had authentic “Alaskan August weather” for them. It was rainy almost every day and we ran around a lot, so I stuck with Bryan’s little point and shoot soak-proof camera most of the time.

Bryan was more than ready to get on the road and head back to Valdez for some camping and fishing. He was so excited to “dry camp” in our little 15 foot camper about halfway to Glenn Allen, but I was most thrilled when we made it to Valdez the next day to enjoy a hot shower which is much more my thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Valdez has easily become my favorite Alaska town. I could probably sit and watch the scenery, marine life and any nearby bears for hours on end…and since sea sicknessย is not something I enjoy, that is exactly what I did ย when Bryan and his parents went Halibut fishing our first day in Valdez. ๐Ÿ™‚

B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-012 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-038 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-029 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-032Bryan and his folks did not have much luck fishing on day one, so he and his Dad decided to try their luck with Silver Salmon the next morning. Meanwhile Bryan’s Mom and I enjoyed sleeping in (yay!) chatting over coffee (double YAY!) and exploring Valdez together (yay again!). I really loved getting to spend some one-on-one time chatting! Our time in Valdez had a perfect ending as the men managed to snag some nice-sized Silvers – Mr. Alden had the largest Silver Salmon of the day! We also spotted a bear feeding on the way out of town.

B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-410 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-413 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK-102 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-384 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-045 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-090 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-092 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK-101 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-123While Bryan’s parents were up, we took a train to Talkeetna and fell in love with the quaint and historical little town.

B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-432 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-281 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-284We also visited Girdwood to ride the tram at the Hotel Alyeska and say hello to the animals at the Wildlife Conservation Center.

B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-141 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-137 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos799Bryan finally tried fresh Mountain water from the “Mountain Fountain”, as he calls it and admired the picturesque scene of Alaskans fishing down at Bird Creek off the Seward Highway.

B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-497 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-498 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-499 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-502 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-504 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-147 B-Weiss_Photography_Weiss_Visit_AK_2013_Photos-148Mrs. Bonnie Jo and I found that we share a mutual love for Steam Dot Coffee. We also all enjoyed The Moose’s Tooth, and the Saturday Farmer’s market in Downtown Anchorage.

When I recommend something as smooth as a drift boat adventure, it is safe to assume Bryan will take it up a notch, or 5. Class 5. That’s right. Towards the end of the trip, Bryan scheduled a White Water Rafting Trip for us. Mrs. Bonnie Jo and I grew more and more nervous as we followed the guide and signed safety waivers, geared up in dry suits, practiced “test-swimming-for-your-life” across the 40 degree water in the beginning of our journey down Six Mile Creek, and braced ourselves on the edge of the raft where it is “safer” ;). The four of us had a great time in the end. We were really proud of Mrs. Bonnie Jo overcoming some of her fears and toughing it out even after being tossed about the raft. I was really nervous beforehand, but ended up having a blast throughout it all – down an 8ft. waterfall, getting the raft wedged and leaning up on one side between boulders and paddling two 360 degree turns through the “Merry-go-round”.

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Photo thanks to Chugach Outdoor Center Photographer http://www.chugachoutdoorcenter.com/about.htm

Thanks to our guide we stopped in for dinner at the Seaview Cafe – a little restaurant in the historic mining town of Hope on the Turnagin Arm – which is another adorable town I would say is a must-visit … when they are open between May and September. The restaurant is in what was the old general store from the 1800’s and built out of California materials since no one was sure what resources would be up in Alaska back then. The food – and especially their home made fries – were amazing! Due to the nature of our visit being a very wild and wet one, no pics of Hope – maybe next time we visit! ๐Ÿ™‚

By the end of our visit we were all pretty exhausted, but energized from experiencing God’s beauty here in Alaska, accomplishing many outdoor adventures, and spending time together as a family. When ordinarily we would be much more sad to hug goodbye, we know we will be seeing Mrs. Bonnie Jo and Mr. Alden very soon for a tropical retreat! So stay tuned for Weiss Family Vacation the Sequel…coming this Fall. ๐Ÿ˜‰