Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Brothers and rapids and bears, oh my!
I'm so glad I did. Not only did none of us die, we also managed to have the time of our lives drifting past the wooded shoreline of the Alaskan wilderness, watching bald eagles glide overhead or tend to their young in their massive nests--sort of the McMansion of the bird-of-prey world. Everywhere we turned, we faced yet another of God's beautiful creations--rocks, beaches, towering mountains, rushing water, blue and sunny skies, salmon and trout, ducks, beaver dams, and a host of other glorious aspects of this part of the world. We even took on some class 2 rapids! Now I can truthfully say I've rafted in whitewater--not very white water, mind you, but hey, rapids are rapids.
Following a wonderful lunch at the lakeside Kingfisher Roadhouse, we then hiked a 5-mile round trip trail down to the Russian River Falls. There we watched majestic salmon fight their way up the falls for the right to spawn and then promptly die. While I can't fathom their enthusiasm for dying after all that hard work, I have to respect their determination. And although we didn't find any bears at the falls (returning hikers we met along the trail reported bears catching dinner across the river), we did run across one on the way back to the trailhead. Fortunately for us he meandered away, content to let us continue our trek unmolested. Good thing, too. Although we carry bear spray everywhere we go--grocery store, library, on rides around the base--the one time it might have come in handy is the one time we leave it in the car. I think he simply took pity on us.
All in all, it was a day I will never forget. But even more important than the exhilarating experiences we had enjoying God's gifts is the sheer pleasure I had simply spending time with my brother. Many states (and many more miles) separate Michigan and Alaska, so my chances to visit him are, in large part, dictated by my finances. Having him with us for two solid weeks has been a pleasure I'll never be able to describe... but I sure hope we can duplicate it some time in the future.
I've been thrilled countless times since coming to Alaska at the wonders our Heavenly Father has created for His children to enjoy. But none of them are greater than His gift of a family. Thank You, Lord, for my family and for the time you give me to spend with them.
And thank You for Alan.
Until the next time...