We have been traveling as a family in our Airstream trailer since we bought it in 2008. In the beginning, we decided we were going to use the trailer as a way to take longer adventures together as family. Our weeklong adventures ignited a sense of wanderlust that we did not realize was so strong within us. We then decided to take a four-month cross-country trip from California to Florida to quench our growing wanderlust thirst, but the quench never happened. Instead, our wanderlust only grew stronger – and stronger. In 2010, we decided that our Airstream trailer felt more like home than the sticks-and-bricks house we owned back in Ventura, California. With the ability to work remotely, we decided the trailer would be our home and the road would be our backyard.
We never set out with any specific traveling goals, but the longer we traveled, the more states we explored. Before we knew it, all of us had 48 states under our belts, including our two-year-old, who has been living on the road full-time since the age of three months. We set a goal to visit the northernmost state this summer, and that's where we are currently adventuring – in the breathtaking state of Alaska.
When we thought of Alaska, we envisioned majestic mountaintops and glacier-filled valleys. When we came upon the national forest visitor's center in Portage, Alaska, located near the campground where we're staying, we went inside to gather a bit more information on our exploration options. By talking to a ranger, we found out which glaciers were accessible and can accommodate families with children. We spend most of our lives outdoors, but it doesn't make us (or our kids) expert hikers. We know our limits, and right now a two-mile trail is a comfortable limit that gives us the best chance of a positive experience. Our eight-year-old doesn't have any issues with this distance. Our three-year-old can handle about a mile without wanting a boost in the baby carrier. And our five-year-old can whine a bit, so a shorter hike with a big reward at the end is a huge plus for all involved.
Our chosen hike ended up being a super family-friendly, 1.4-mile hike on a well-maintained, flat trail with an incredible view of Byron Glacier. With water bottles and bear sprays in hand, we were off!
Glaciers are piles of ice that do not melt in the summer, and become slow-moving rivers of ice. It's hard for the kids to connect with those words from the books we read. There is something magical that happens when we get to combine those words with something tangible. The learning gets embedded so much deeper when we take the time to bring the lessons full circle.
We didn't grow up in cold climates and we get to avoid them since our home has wheels. All the ice and snow in our current surroundings are special treats for the kids.