It is no secret that we have all been suffering a bit from "cabin fever", and with temperatures in January and early February averaging 5 degrees, going outdoors became a chore rather than an activity.
At the end of last week we were rewarded with both a rise in temperatures and an accumulation of almost two feet of snow, bringing the family back into its usual harmony. Boys go outside; Mom happy.
Yesterday the family trucked about 7 miles south of our homestead in east Anchorage to an event titled simply "Winter Trails Day". Sponsored by the reliable and community-minded REI store and the Bureau of Land Management, and held at the Campbell Creek Science Center (www.anchorage.ak.blm.gov/ccscentr.html), the event was geared towards getting the whole crew outside for an afternoon. Free ski and snowshoe rental, skijoring demonstrations (dogs pulling people who are on skis), and free kid food. What's not to like about that?
With downy snowflakes falling about our faces, we put everyone on his or her own snowshoes (even Bear has some) and away we went down a short loop trail marked with interesting signs about local animals. Both Bear and Wolf did very well; Wolf leading the way and motivating Bear to keep moving. We saw moose tracks with their round prints and distinctive skid marks from hind feet skimming the snow; snowshoe hare tracks, and even some branches munched on by what we think was a porcupine, although we are not certain, since moose eat bark and branches, too.
We were home by 2:00, put Bear down for a late nap, got Wolf involved in a new book, and spent the rest of the afternoon in front of the wood stove, soaking up an Alaska winter day, and an Alaska Winter Ale. Not too shabby.