John Muir once called Alaska “The great fresh unblighted, unredeemed wilderness.” I agree.
I went to the North Pole. Santa has been living in Alaska my entire life and I had no idea.
I should preface this post by saying that I LOVE Santa. When I was a kid, I was encouraged to leave cookies for Santa and was always so excited when he would leave me a note in return. Some years, he would leave one of the cookies behind with a perfectly shaped bite taken out of it; this filled me with a wonder beyond my wildest imagination. Fast forward thirty plus years and you have a grown woman in Alaska who sees “North Pole” on the map. How could I have missed this? When my friend told me that not only did the North Pole truly exist but Santa was there with his reindeer, I had to go.
One of the hardest parts of vacation for me is being away from my little dog, but he’s having his own adventure with his new best friend – the house sitter. When she arrived, he greeted her with an enthusiasm and zeal that he reserves for those he truly loves, I knew he would be in great hands. After a quick check to make sure their vacation was off on the right foot, we headed into the Alaskan wilderness to find an adventure of our own.
And just like that – we opened our eyes and were in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Well, not exactly… it actually took nearly 11 hours of traveling and included two flights through four time zones. But this morning after a great night’s sleep, that is a distant memory. We have woken up in the northernmost city in North America and are ready to start our adventure.
Tucked in fragrant pine trees on the Minnesota-Canadian border in Voyageurs National Park, the Kettle Falls Hotel is only accessible by boat – just as it was for its earliest visitors a hundred years ago.
I’ve never actually eaten a “real” Sloppy Joe. In the years before I stopped eating meat, they were never on our dinner table. I didn’t feel like I was missing anything because, honestly, their name and appearance kind of turned me off. But when a friend tells me that I absolutely have to try a recipe, I listen. And now I’m telling you, they may not look pretty but you absolutely have to try this recipe for Chickpea Sloppy Joes:
“For a full quarter of a century, her useful life has been spent in a labor of love…” Theodore Wirth, Former Superintendent of the Minneapolis Park System
My visit to the Eloise Butler Wildflower and Bird Sanctuary had me wondering, who was Eloise Butler? It turned out that she was originally from rural Maine. Born in 1851 near Appleton, it’s theorized that her interest in botany began due to her family’s knowledge of local plants and herbal remedies.
…(or a furry friend).