|Lake Kontrashibuna in Lake Clark National Park, Alaska|
This journey began when Chris Smith called me 6 months earlier......."So, what you are telling me is that you want your family to experience the 'Real' Alaska. You want to hike mountains, kayak lakes, and camp in the backcountry?" "Yes," Chris answered, "that's right!" "How much experience do you have backpacking and camping?" I asked. "None" he answered. "Now Peter, we want the real experience; we want to be challenged!" "Okay" I replied, "Lets do it".
|Hiking towards Lake Kontrashibuna|
|Fishing at Tanalian Falls in Lake Clark National Park|
|Paddling towards Gladiator Basin in Lake Clark National Park|
As we arrived at the end of the lake and the trail head into Gladiator, we were enveloped in a windstorm that brought white capped waves into our small, struggling boats. We decided to link our canoes together length ways since Renee and Autumn were unable to paddle against the winds' force. After 1 hour of extreme paddling into the wind we limped onto our camp shore. Tired and physically beat, we set up our tents and crashed. I reflected that night on our journey so far and one thing stood out to me. The Smith family had exceeded all my expectations to this point. The girls, especially, were mentally tough and full of vigor. Never did I hear them complain or whine! They had all done well so far but I knew the real test would come in the days to come.
|Resting after long paddle in huge wind storm|
|"Air Mail" literally. The best chocolate chip cookies ever!|
What a few days it had been and the best was yet to come!
to be continued........
If you are interested in taking a similar trip to the backcountry of Alaska please check our many trips at http://AlaskanVentures.com