A few months later, sheltered from the 117 degree July heat in Phoenix, I posted 42 “vacation highlight photos” on Facebook. Soon, hundreds of “likes” from friends and family would acknowledge the happy faces captured in the exciting and varied photos. I could not help but smile, reflecting that the first phase of Rebooting the Family Vacation had been a resounding success.
All in all, the family had spent 15 days away from Phoenix in closed quarters, experiencing the fruits of each child’s planning and preparation. The siblings bonded, working together each night and each morning to pitch the tent and then re-pack it, often while under attack by the national bird of Alaska (i.e. the mosquito). Responsibilities for breakfast and dinner rotated, with everyone taking their turn to provide much-needed sustenance while on the road. Smartphones were rarely used (lack of cell phone coverage helped).
My eldest, “The Reader”, had known that author Jack London wrote about the Klondike Gold Rush and she learned that he had lived in Dawson City, Yukon Territory, gathering the experiences he later shared in novels like “Call of the Wild” and “White Fang”. She planned our 2-day detour off of the Alaska Highway to visit the 2500-person village that had once attracted 100,000 prospectors in search of riches.
My son, “The Athlete”, organized our day in Juneau, Alaska’s capital city, which is only accessible by water. Under his guidance, we pitched our tent (in the rain) at midnight, visited the 12-mile-long Mendenhall Glacier, and then spent a glorious afternoon on the water, sea-kayaking beneath the eagles and surrounded by seals.
My youngest, “The Adventurer”, planned our trip to Denali National Park, location of Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America. During our visit to the park, we were able to see elk, moose, and black bear and were able to climb a 1500 foot vertical ridge, much to “The Reader’s” objections.
Fear of the Unknown: conquered. Responsibility: increased. Sibling Bonding: improved (at least, temporarily).
NEXT: The New Normal