I looked at the dogs, envying them, wishing I had their thick, furry coats to protect me.
We had arrived in Anchorage late the night before. It had taken all day to get to Anchorage from Chicago, and Lily and Emmy were exhausted. Even so, they were up at their usual time the next morning, raring to go. We spent the morning eating cinnamon rolls with my aunt and going to church. Ed was determined to see some of this town that he had never visited before, so we planned to go exploring after lunch.
Four year old girls have a way of changing plans, however. Before we could even get in the car, Emmy had a meltdown. She was just plain tuckered out and didn’t even know what she wanted. As her parents, Ed and I knew what she needed: a nap. We laid down the law; either she needed to stop throwing a fit, or Daddy would stay with her while Mommy and Lily went exploring.
The meltdown continued.
Now we were stuck; we had to stick to our edict. Ed took Emmy into the house to try to get her calmed down, while Lily and I got into the car and “went exploring.”
Part of me was tempted to stay put. I was in a strange city and had no desire to drive around without Ed at my side. But the other part of me thought that I needed to take Lily somewhere; she shouldn’t be punished for her little sister’s behavior. So I started to drive.
Not far from my aunt’s house, I found a trailhead. There were plenty of cars in the gravel parking lot, which I took as a good sign. Lily and I would take a little walk together. As soon as we got out of the car I told Lily to put up her hood. Swarms of mosquitoes flew around us.
I expected mosquitoes–we were in Alaska, after all. We started walking along the path. Two big dogs bounded toward us, their owner following behind. I was a little nervous; the dogs were as big as my Lily and not on leashes. But they weren’t even interested in us humans; there were too many other fun smells for them to chase. And the mosquitoes didn’t bother them at all through their thick pelts.
We saw more dogs; the mosquitoes kept biting. Power lines followed the path, airplanes flew up above. Did I mention the path was by the airport? Lily and I couldn’t even see any of the Chugach Mountains from our viewpoint. We walked a little ways, holding hands, unwilling to give up this time together. When I figured I had provided enough of the blood suckers with a meal (Lily seems to be immune to mosquito bites), we turned around and headed back to the car. Lily and I, along with approximately 56 mosquitoes, hopped back into the car.
I just had to laugh.
When Lily and I got back to the house, Emmy was fast asleep. I told Ed and my aunt how I had managed to find the worst trail in Anchorage. My aunt confirmed that yes, it was a popular dog park with not much for humans to see.
It was good to get out there, to see a part of Anchorage that most tourists drive right by. Maybe I did go down the wrong trail; but it was all part of the adventure.