To Chena Hot Springs

August 15, 2017       After our intense hike, our bodies needed rest. We didn’t want to ‘waste’ Greg’s last day off before we head home to Seattle. What better way to end the trip than with a good long soak at Chena Hot Springs. It was between Homer and Fairbanks, AK both forecasted to rain. If we are going to be wet, might as well be warm, too! The hot springs won! Just what we all needed!

   The trip started off with rain, but we ended our time at Chena with blue skies! Greg and I enjoyed the slow pace and heat of the hot springs on our sore muscles. While the kids enjoyed the pool and hot tubs. It was perfect! Hope to come back someday!

Outdoor Hot Springs: no kids
Enjoying our relaxing day!
Content watching our kids play in the pool!

Chris Ireland

Follow the Trail

   On Monday August 14, 2017 we headed to Kodiak island to climb Mount Barometer. It is two miles to the top with a 2500ft incline. This hike was rated Class 1: underdeveloped trail, natural obstacles exist, and steep paths exceeding 60 degree climbing angles. Why you ask? Well why not?! It has spectacular views. Greg has been eyeing this hike since he has flown into Kodiak. If you over shot the runway in Kodiak you would hit Mount Barometer.  

Runway 8
We climbed that!

   I’m always impressed by our kids as we push them to do hard things. Greg told them “set your heart on the mountain and go for it.” They truly did! Rahab and I made it about 2000ft. Everyone else conquered it! The last 500ft were some serious inclines, that would be too dangerous for Rahab, well they were probably on the border of being too dangerous for the others as well.

Underdeveloped trail

Our packs with the wild flowers

Trekking through the trail
Kids leading the way!

Photo credit: Rahab
Hiking with my girls

   As we were trekking up the mountain, there were several times when you would look out 5 to 10 feet and couldn’t see where the trail. I couldn’t help but pray that my kids would follow the Lord in this way. Keep your eyes right in front of you and the trail will be revealed to you one step at a time. We could see the end goal, which was overwhelming but encouraging at the same time.  

   After the hike we stopped for a quick tour of Fort Abercrombie. I’m learning so much WWII history on our trip around AK. Bunkers, guns, and lookouts! What is really hard to image is all these soldiers sleeping in tents year round! Wow! Couple of highlights was watching the whales and the hands on bunker. We didn’t see any whales breach, but could see the water sprout from the blow holes. In the hands on bunker the kids got to use a rotary phone. It was fun watching them try and figure out the phones.   

View from the Fort Abercrombie
Playing with the phones
Outside the bunker
Whale watching!
 

   This trip was our last adventure trip outside of Anchorage before we leave for the summer. Most likely our last intense hike. What a way to end! We couldn’t have asked for a better day in Kodiak!

Enjoying God’s Creation!

Chris Ireland

Photo 

Daddy’s surprise in Fairbanks

August 15, 2017 Chena Hot Springs 

I played in the pool. I went in the hot tub outside and the 2 inside. There is only 1 pool. There was not a life guard. We played Marco Polo. Mommy and daddy went in the big hot springs. At the end of the road there were hot springs, airplane, 3 hot tubs and one pool. It was a fun day! It was a day trip to Fairbank, AK.  Love,

Rahab Ireland

When we got home from Kodiak Daddy told us I think tomorrow we should go to Homer because I’ve heard so much about it so we should go, it would be fun. So we all decided to go so of course I went to bed thinking we were going to Homer at 8:15 in the morning Jadon and me both woke up early because we could not sleep we woke up at 6:30 in the morning my coughing woke Rahab up but I told her it was early in the morning and she should go back to bed so she did. Jadon and me played games until I looked at the clock it was 7:35am I told Jadon if we are going to go to Homer we better get ready to go lets go wake up Mommy and Daddy so we did and Daddy said I think I have a different idea for today. But Daddy did not tell us where we were going so we guessed then we found out that it was a daddy surprise but he did tell us that we needed our swimming suits and that we were going to stay in the state of Alaska but where in AK can you go swimming, it’s so cold. We got on the air plane that said it was going to Fairbanks we got of the airplane in Fairbanks this was still a surprise for us because we did not know what we were going to do here in Fairbanks we rented a car then drove about one hour away from the airport. When we got where we were going it was like a resort type thing daddy lead us into a building that had a swimming pool in it we went to the swimming pool and swam all day. There was a really big hot springs there to but you had to be 18 or older to go in the hot springs so I just swam in the pool. But I had lots of fun I asked Daddy if we could come back to the hot springs when I am 18 and he said maybe. Then after playing for a long time we went back into town and had dinner at a Thai restaurant. I thought that you can find really any type of food where ever you want even in a place like Barrow, AK. I really like Daddy surprises and exploring. 

Esther Ireland

We went to Fairbanks, AK. We found at the end of the road there was a swimming 🏊 pool 🏊 and a hot spring. You had to be 18 or older to go in the hot spring. There was 3 hot tubs, a DC6 airplane ✈️ , an old car 🚗, and in old snow ❄️ machine. It was a 1 hour drive to Fairbanks, AK. 

Bye 👋 

Jadon Ireland

Coming into the resort
DC6 airplane
1st snow machine
Entrance coming in
18+ year old Hot Springs
Playing in the pool!
Chena Hot Springs

Kodiak Day

August 14, 2017

I had a really fun day in Kodiak. We woke up really early in the morning and got on the airplane to Kodiak. We climbed Mt. Barometer that was really hard. Mommy and Rahab made it most of the way up but Jadon, me and Daddy made it all the way to the top of the mountain. It was four miles round trip with a gain of 2500ft. In some parts we wanted to turn around but we kept going to the top of the mountain. It was a really nice day so we could see every thing there was not a cloud in the sky. It was really fun. Then we went to Fort Abercrombie. The fort was from World War Two when the Japanese tried to take Alaska from America but the fort was never needed. I got to go in all the bunkers and we were right next to the ocean and I spotted some whales. Then we went home on an airplane. 

Communicating at the Bunker
Bullet!
On the top!
Making the climb
Start of the climb!

Climbing to the top…Mom’s point of view…

Esther Ireland

We went to Kodiak and hike Mt Barometer. It was a really steep hike and fun. Esther, Daddy, and I made it to the top. It was really hard and exciting! Mt Barometer was the tallest mountain on the island. I could see the whole island from the top. I saw lots of airplanes taking off from the airport.  

I did it!
Ready to conquer the mountain
The view
The hike!

   Then we drove to Fort Abercrombie. It was really fun. There is some war bunkers there. One was a museum. We could call each other on the old phones. They really rang! We also saw some humpback whales.  

Whale watching
Playing with the phones
Ready for action
Gas mask
On top of the bullet

Jadon Ireland

We climbed Mount Barometer in Kodiak, AK. Daddy had to help me on the steep parts. The airport was a good view. We saw some boats and airplanes land and take off. We loved the pretty flowers. I saw pink, purple, blue, and yellow pretty flowers. Mommy and I sat on swishy moss. While Jadon, Esther and Daddy climbed to the top. We stayed behind because I was too tired and the trail was too steep. It was super nice there, not even a drop of rain.  

Enjoying the view
She loved playing in the grass & flowers
Relaxing here…watching the others climb to the top
Watching for boats & planes
Found a Creek
Blue Wild flowers!
Hiking with Daddy💕
Scaling the mountain

I like climbing mountains.
Love,

Rahab Ireland

Mom’s Trips to Sitka and Barrow, AK

 After posting the rest of the family’s point of view on our recent trip to Sitka and Barrow. I knew I needed to jump in and add my point of view. It amazes me how we can all have the same experience, but yet walk away with completely different point of view on the trip. It has given me a whole new meaning when I read the Gospels and why they each have such a different points of view of the same experience!
 Sitka! What do I want to remember about Sitka! For me the highlight was the kayaking trip. Watching the sea lions thrash their fish up close was quite an experience! Jadon and I were on the same kayak. As I wanted to get closer to the sea lions, he wanted to move further away. We were both startled when one popped up about 15 feet away from us! I even gave a little scream of surprise! After the shock we both thought that was pretty amazing! Watching Jadon persevere paddling through the complete 4 and half miles, made me one proud momma! I loved watching and listening him explore the ocean. His awe of the starfish and the excitement of the Alaska jet taking off in front of us. Pure joy of exploring with my family a new city for me and the kids!  

Enjoying the beach where we explored
Beautiful Sitka Day
Family Kayaking trip!
Goodbye Starfish
Watching for Sea Lions

 Now Barrow, that was a completely different trip. As we were waiting on the ground in Prudhoe Bay for the weather to clear so we can land in Barrow. The thought of getting ‘stuck’ in Barrow crossed my mind. What would we do in Barrow overnight?! I was praying “God if you take us in you have to keep the weather good enough for the next flight to take us home.” God is good! He provided seats for this amazing day trip to Barrow and the weather stayed clear enough to the next flight to get take us out!  

Leaving Barrow
Arriving in Barrow

 What intrigued me the most in Barrow was the influence God had made on the Inupiat people. It was evident! His Word will reach all nations. We toured Inupiat Heritage Center. Reading their history about whaling was amazing. They used to have strict rules about what they could and could not do to find ‘favor’ in catching a whale. Now they pray! Relying on the Lord to provide the whales not ‘favor.’ They still have the way to run a whaling camp, in order to catch a whale. For example, they must wear white to be camouflaged and no cooking at the site. Whales have an incredible sense of smell. I would love to be apart of that whole process. The feast they have every spring to celebrate and thank God for the whale sounds amazing. Truly thankful to learn more about whaling.  

Inupiat Heritage Center
Trying out the parkas

 We even got to catch a glimpse of the dancing they do at these feasts. Rahab came home trying to imitate what she saw. Very precious.  

Dancing

 Touching the fridge Arctic Ocean and standing under the Whale Arch was an amazing once in a lifetime thing to experience! It’s hard to image that people live there year round. The sun never sets in the summer months…no really it doesn’t! The contrast is in the winter there is no sun light for months! I’m still trying to wrap my head around those facts. I’m thankful I got to check Barrow of my list to see and experience. Even if it was for only 8 hours!

Whale Arch Selfie
Whale Arch
Touching the Arctic Ocean
Playing on the Beach

Chris Ireland

Jadon’s Sitka and Barrow Trips

Sitka Visit August 6-7, 2017

We went to Sitka. The runway was its own island. There was a big suspension bridge to the town. We spent the night in Sitka. The next day we went to totem pole park. After that we went ocean 🌊 kayaking. We stopped at an island where there was an old army fort. We saw 5 sea lions. After that we went to the Bishop’s House 🏡. Then we found Castle Hill there were 2 cannons on top of the hill. Last stop was the airport. I really liked Sitka!

CANNON BALL
Suspension Bridge
Kayaking with Mom
WWII Bunker House
Watching Alaska Take off!
Totem Park
Sitka Bay in the background

Polar Bears August 8, 2017

We went to Barrow. When we got there we went to a little boardwalk that led us to the beach 🌊. Then we went to a park and we found whale 🐋 bones. Then we had pizza 🍕. I really liked Barrow. There are lots of polar bears in Barrow. We did not see any polar bears. The end.  

Arctic Pizza
Old Fishing Boat
Whale Arch
A Park in Barrow
Path that lead to the Beach

Jadon Ireland

Esther’s Sitka and Barrow Trips

Sitka was really cool. We got to Sitka late that night.  We spent that night at a hotel. The next day we walked around totem trail in Sitka that was really cool because we saw a bunch of totem poles. Then we went ocean kayaking. That was really fun I went with Daddy in the same kayak, Mommy and Jadon in the same kayak, Rahab and the tour guide. We saw sea lions and a sea otter, we got to hold star fish.  One was a rare star fish called the leather star it was smooth and slimy the other star fish was hard and bumpy. We all so kayaked to a old world war two fort we kayaked about four and a half miles round trip. After we were done kayaking we went and saw the old Russian church in the middle of the road that was really pretty. Then we went to the old bishop’s house because Sitka is on a island the bishop had some sailers from Finland build his house for him so the house was built uniquely. Then we went to castle hill there was two canons with the American flag and a really pretty view of Sitka. I really like Sitka.

August 6-7, 2017

Castle Hill
Russian Bishop’s Chapel
WW11 Bunker
Kayaking with Daddy
Ready for the adventure with their kayak skirt
History of Totem Polls
The Top of the World

I went to the top of the world! I touched the Arctic Ocean it was really cold and the sand was really soft. We got a really nice day in Barrow, AK although it was only 45 degrees Fahrenheit (really cold.) But we had lots of fun. We saw the whale bones they were really big. Before I thought whales were much smaller but they were twice as big as I thought they would be. It was really hard to believe how big they are. I saw a big sign with lots of arrows pointing to lots of different country’s showing how far away they are. There was not one paved road in Barrow, AK. We went to the Heritage center and learned all about the natives history which I thought was really cool. We did not see any polar bears. So I have been to the top of the world touched the Arctic Ocean been in the Arctic circle and been to the most northern most point in the United States.

August 8, 2017

Learning about the natives clothing
Arctic Ocean
Under the Whale Arch
How far…?
Esther Ireland

Rahab’s Sitka and Barrow Trips

“I just love my trips. We went to Sitka. We started in Anchorage. And then we went to Barrow and then we went to the places we wanted to go to. We went to a pizza place in Barrow. I loved Barrow… So much that I wanted to stay there forever! We went to a park in Barrow and I just thought it was great. We went to the beach but we didn’t go swimming because it was super cold! We saw whale bones. It was cool. One time when I was by the whale bones and Daddy told me to take a picture I wanted to be in the middle but Jadon didn’t let me. I loved being on the Top of the World. The airport was so small. My Daddy was awesome. He was the leader for our trips.”

Barrow, AK 8-8-2017

Whale Bones
Under the Whale Arch
Just like the purple dinosaur at Elephant Park in Fargo, ND

 
“We went ocean kayaking in Sitka. It was so great. We saw one otter and five sea lions. I ride with Dayton in his kayak. I didn’t have to paddle at all. My sister and brother did. That was sad for them. We walked in a house through a gate and we had to stay on the rug and we could only touch the railing. We had a tour guide that made us Junior Rangers with a book. I really liked it. We saw like 15 totem poles. We almost saw 40. There was a church in the middle of the road. I don’t know why. We climbed up a hill and then went back to the airport.”

Sitka, AK 8-7-2017

Church in the middle of the road
Starfish!
Looking for Starfish
Totem Poll Park
Love,

 Rahab

Daddy’s Trips to Sitka and Barrow

August 9th, 2017
Today we are having a slow morning as we recover from our last couple of travel days. I’m on my third cup of coffee and it is really nice to listen to my children playing contentedly downstairs. We are back in Anchorage after spending the last two and a half days on the road around Alaska. Our travel this week was unexpected and spontaneous because we were expecting a visit from Tim and Kaley. Tim called on Saturday evening however and cancelled on us so we had some unexpected freedom in our schedule. One of my favorite things about being married to Chris is her willingness to be spontaneous with me and so we quickly planned a trip to Sitka in Southeast Alaska and a trip to Barrow in Arctic Alaska. 
We attended church on Sunday at Eagle River Covenant Church and enjoyed it very much. It was Jadon’s first chance to participate in Communion in a regular church type setting and he was very excited. Afterwards we returned home and planned out some details for our trip. We caught the evening flight down to JNU and on to Sitka, arriving at around 11:30 pm in Sitka. I had found a last minute room at the crew hotel at a pretty good discount. Everyone was quick to sleep on Sunday night.
When we woke up on Sunday we had a breakfast of bagels and bananas in the hotel room and then headed out to the local grocery for donuts and coffee. We took our donuts and coffee down to Sitka National Historical Park and walked around the totem pole loop. We had to walk semi-quickly in order to make it back to our kayak appointment at 10:15 with Sitka Ocean Adventures. The kayaking was the highlight of the trip. Our guide was wonderful with the children and we got to see all kinds of wonderful ocean things: Sea-Lions having breakfast, Sea Otters, Star fish, and an old WWII fort complete with some old bunkers. I love watching the wonder on the children’s faces when they came face to face with a 1,000 lb sea lion just feet from their kayak! Another highlight for us all was watching flight 62 roll down runway 11 from the vantage point of the water right next to the runway. It’s not often the kids can be that close to the jet when it is moving that fast! After the kayak and a quick lunch at Subway we toured the Russian Bishop’s house, walked the downtown, and climbed up Castle Hill. All together it was a fantastic day. 
After making it back to Anchorage we had a short night at our condo here and then were back at it the next morning early, to catch the 7:40 am departure up to Deadhorse and Barrow. We caught the last four seats on the airplane and with me in the cockpit jumpseat we all just squeaked on! After waiting for Barrow weather to get better in Deadhorse we finally arrived in Barrow around 11:30 am to 45 degrees and misty clouds. It didn’t take long for everyone to get pretty chilly. We walked the town and found the beach and the Arctic Ocean, had our lunch in a playground next to the beach, and then found the famous Top of the World Whale Bone Arch to take a picture under. The kids really enjoyed the native heritage center and learning all about native whaling and life in the arctic. After stopping by the Post Office to send a couple of post cards we walked back to the local pizza joint “Arctic Pizza” (which was surprisingly good) and then walked back over the airport just in time to catch the 7 pm jet back to Anchorage. Pretty amazing to think that Sitka and Barrow are almost 1,000 miles apart and we did them both in two days! I’m thankful for my family that loves to adventure with me and for all of the things they are learning along the way. Now I’m off to find my fourth cup of coffee 😉 

Greg Ireland

A visit with Uncle Mike

July 22-26, 2017

We went to pick up Uncle Mike at the airport. Then we spent the night at our house in Anchorage. The next day we went to Seward. We met Guy at the harbor. We went to Guy’s campsite. We hiked to Exit Glacier. The hike was really easy. The glacier was really big. Uncle Mike stayed in Seward to go fishing 🎣. He caught a really big fish 🐡.  We also went to Thunderbird Falls and Eklutna Lake. It was a hard hike for Thunderbird Falls and an easy hike for Eklutna Lake.  
Jadon Ireland

His special trip with the Ireland’s.  
When we picked up Uncle Mike, he was on the drop off and we were at the pick up spot. Momma called him and told him we are in the drop off. He came down to find us. We took him to our house in Anchorage. Then we rollerbladed to the best milk shakes in Anchorage. Guess what happened next, we went home.  
The next day we went to Seward and dropped off Uncle Mike. He caught a big fish!  
The next day we went to Thunderbird Falls. It was pretty. We went up on the higher cliff and the lower cliff. It was a great time. I liked it so much. Esther and Jadon were so good. Uncle Mike was so good. I really like him.  
Then we bought cough drops and fish boxes. I am completely right. 
Rahab Ireland

Thunder Bird Falls

       

                   Misty, Loud, Spraying, Beautiful, 

                       Describes Thunder Bird Falls,

                   25 Feet High,

                       Pouring Down

                   Misting, Spraying,

                       As Water Tumbles 

                   Making Loud Beautiful Sounds,

                       Make you want to close your eyes,

                   I Love Water

                               Falls.

                                              -Esther Ireland
I had a really fun time in Alaska with Uncle Mike.

Esther Ireland