After six months of dreaming and planning, my husband Steve and our two sons travelled to Alaska to fish for nine days. It involved a plane ride and a seven-hour ferry trip, depositing them on the remote Prince William Sound, where fish are famous for being abundant and very large.
Also, Grizzly bears abound.
For me, the mother who had to stay back with our six-year old daughter to take care of our homestead, the thought of Grizzlies caused much anxiety, so I forced my guys to get potent bear spray, made them promise me they would sleep INSIDE the rented minivan every night, and call me at the end of each day to assure me of their non-demise.
They had the time of their lives. No grizzly bear sightings (only tracks), but a moose and her baby, tons of sea otters, millions of birds, and a whale.
They got up very early every morning, were drenched by two whole days of rain and then sunburnt by three days of glorious sunshine, caught 150 pounds of beautiful Silver Salmon, and while fishing bonded with each other as only a father and sons can who fish in Alaska, away from the influence of a worried Mom, annoying little sister and schoolwork. This is homeschooling at its best: out in nature and learning hands-on about all kinds of things.
|These are moose tracks, next to my husband's very LARGE hand. Ergo: this was one big moose.|
Since I wasn't present during their adventure (if not bodily, then definitely mentally), I asked the boys to describe their trip through their eyes.
Here is what Luke wrote, eleven years old and obsessed with fishing, and explaining why he wept on his knees at some point:
"It's amazing how your mind and attitude can change everything that happens. On our trip in Alaska I experienced this. We where fishing in a river, literally word-famous for its Coho (Silver Salmon) runs, on the prime time of the run. It was our first day fishing, and we had hiked up to a hole that looked good, and we started fishing.
Probably in about twenty minutes my brother Kai got a fish on, and the second his pole bent, I could tell this fish was much bigger than the ones in Washington. He fought the fish for maybe five minutes. Then he finally got it close enough to shore for me to scoop it up in the net. When I was holding the beautiful female fish in the net, I knew it must have weighed nine or ten pounds. And for a Silver, thats big!
Ten minutes later my dad caught a nice male, and it must have been just as big, but it was also very beautiful. Now my brother and my Dad had two big ocean-fresh fish, and I had nothing. I was now getting kind of discouraged, and the more I fished and got no bites, the more I got discouraged. And the more I got discouraged the worse the fishing got for me. Finally it got so late in the day that we hiked back to the car, and that day I didn't catch anything.
|Steve, a.k.a. Dad|
The next day we woke up really early, so early we were the first ones at the creek. We tried two holes and I caught one, but Kai and Dad each caught their limit of three fish for that day. I was fishing for quite a while after, and I finally got one on, fought it for really long, and Dad had literally touched it with the net, trying to get it, and it was right next to shore and Dad was reaching to get it with the net, and the hook came loose! I looked, stunned, at the water for a second, then fell to my knees and cried. I never caught any other fish that day.
Then Dad caught another one at that same hole. So now Kai and Dad each had two fish, because Kai had caught that one at the lower hole. We then moved up to a even higher hole, where Kai and Dad each caught another, so now they each had limited out, and I had only one.
Then I realized that this day was turning out to be like the day before, and I started to get frustrated and discouraged, and then I said to myself in my mind, “Lukas, you WILL catch two more fish!” So I turned my mind around, and I started smiling and saying, “Yes, I WILL catch two more fish!” and I got myself happy and exited.
And I did end up catching those two fish! And I was even more happy, and that day was awesome! So that experience really shows how the power of your mind is one of the most powerful things in your body."
|Lukas, looking sufficiently proud, don't you think?|
So now it's me (Mom) again. They brought home lots of fish, some of which I cooked up the day they got back. It is unbelievably delicious.
My guys are full of stories. They were happy to hug me and take showers, even let their little sister kiss them, eat apple sauce cake I had made, and even didn't complain when I sat down with them to review their homeschooling plan for the year.
They're chill, these dudes, because they just came back from the trip of a lifetime.
|That thing that Kai is holding? It's bear spray. Yep.|