Sunday, September 9, 2012

Heaven in Haines

This week, I counted down the days until Alaska Day. I had organized a trip to Haines, Alaska-- and not just any trip, but our first family-of-five road trip. I didn't think it would be possible this early in the game with twinfants, but we made a plan that seemed feasible and went with it. We drove in the minivan, saving us money and introducing us to beautiful scenery through Kluane Park. We rented a cabin, because we don't have a giant camping trailer and can't afford to stay in a hotel with more than one room. We found a quiet, scenic corner of ocean, because with babies and naps and limited mobility as a family unit, we needed a destination where simply sitting, walking and eating would be pleasurable.
Now, I am on the other side of the countdown, home from our first family trip, and still smiling from the wonderful memories we made.
Our oceanfront cabin was rustic, quaint and comfortable. The kids all handled the long drive well, and we found our way around the little fishing village easily enough to gather food supplies and settle in. Once we arrived, we were awestruck. We definitely were blessed with more than we bargained for. (Score one for setting low expectations!)
The view from the front window was spectacular.
In this cove of Pacific Ocean, we saw an abundance of sea life. We saw bald eagles nesting across the bay, a whale exhale through its blowhole, a few porpoises trolling for fish and several seals, bobbing along the shoreline.
Where our afternoons at home are filled with baking, cleaning, laundering and corresponding while the children nap, here we found enough to do by just sitting and staring out the window. We spent hours sipping hot tea, watching for little heads and fins poking through the surface. 
I enjoyed several walks along the shore, taking in the smell of salty sea air and conjuring up a whole treasury of seaside memories. I took in all the shades of blue, gray and white around me in the mountains, glaciers and surf. The tide would go out, unveiling a whole carpet of kelp, seaweed, crabs claws and shells. Then, in time, it would make its way inland again, washing the rocks, bringing the sea life back to our little corner of beach.
More than the religious beauty of our surroundings, I enjoyed sharing it with my family. Rich and I took a sunset walk through the rocky shore one evening. Abby and I talked about what seals eat, and what eats seals. I was overjoyed to watch the salty breeze dance over her ears and curl her hair tight.
I baptized my babies with the waters of the Pacific, because they are aquatic creatures, through and through. 
We drove to Haines to explore its harbour, beach, coffee shops and Main street. It was the quiet fishing village we had anticipated, so after an obligatory appreciation of town limits, we retreated to our ocean cabin once again. We walked through a rainy morning and found a little beach down the way, perfect for stopping to recollect exactly why I love the ocean. 
Being at the beach on a rainy day is one of my favourite places to be, bar none.
This trip was really special. If the sea were a religion, I would have had my spirit rejuvenated this week. I would have indoctrinated new followers in my children and solidified my vows with my husband to appreciate the beauty, greatness and significance of the ocean. 
I'm really thankful we were able to take this little trip. We came back reconnected, tired, happy and smelling of campfire. 
How lucky am I?

2 comments:

  1. so lucky! I'm soooo happy that you guys got to experience Haines. It's a sleepy, slow little town with so much breathtaking scenery.

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  2. Oh I am so jealous. What I wouldn't give, right now, to be near mountains and beautiful scenery like that. So happy you guys had a good first family-of-five mini vacation!

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