By the time Scott and I had both packed our backpacks and strapped on our helmets, we were already exhausted and we hadn’t even done any riding yet. As any parent can tell you, preparing for any trip is almost more exhausting than the actual trip, but not quite as fun. The kids were a little congested, so when Scott’s alarm went off at 5:30 I convinced him to turn it off and let the cuties sleep. He had wanted to get on the 6:40 bus to see some wildlife.
Instead, we decided to do a day without the busses and ride our bikes. The bike ride west was a lot steeper on the bike than it was on the bus. The good news to any uphill though is that there is usually a downhill. It took us an hour to get out to Igloo Creek, another campground. It only took us twenty minutes to get back to our campground.
I think I’ve mentioned that Scott is a bit more in shape than I might be. He was flying ahead, way ahead of Cody and I most of the ride. I was slowly chugging up a hill when I heard an animal noise. I wasn’t completely sure what animal it was until it made noise again. With the sudden and shrill moose inspiration I cruised uphill a lot faster. I told Scott he had to stay close because I heard a moose. He turned his bike around and went looking for it. After I convinced him to quit looking for the moose we continued westward until we arrived at Igloo Creek Campground.
The Campground is unique in that you are not allowed to drive your car to it. You have to put all your camping equipment on your back and bus it in. You have to store all of your food in the bear-proof food lockers and filter your water from the creek. Maybe on our next trip here we’ll attempt to camp here or even further in at Wonder Lake. We chatted with a lady staying in Igloo Creek who grew up in Wisconsin, but was currently living in Anchorage. Brooke was able to hop around and throw some rocks into the creek, and then it started to rain. We hopped on our bikes and rode quickly back to our camp.
There was a Raven Ranger talk that night. Since it was raining the ranger held the talk in the bus shelter instead of the open air amphitheater. I was really looking forward to the talk not only because it had been raining most of the day, but because I have never really looked fondly at Raven’s and I found it intriguing that the native Athabascans have always held them in such high regard.
My dislike of ravens is probably due mostly to Edgar Allen Poe’s poem “The Raven,” but the song of the Raven isn’t a favorite of mine to wake up to either. The ranger shared with us the observed brilliance of the raven. There is even a book entitled The Mind of the Raven that further details observations and information about the raven. To illustrate the birds’ intelligence the ranger had us try to complete a few challenges that ravens have been observed tackling. He gave us two donuts and asked us how we would get both and fly away, he hung food on a string and asked us how we would get to it, he put water in a bottle that couldn’t be tipped and was too low for a beak to get, and he asked how we could open a bone to get to the bone marrow inside. The donut challenge was solved by putting one donut up around his beak and one inside the raven’s beak to keep the other from falling down. The bone marrow challenge was interesting… they have observed ravens dropping bones on railroad tracks, waiting for a train to pass and break open the bone, and then eating the marrow inside. The water problem was solved by dropping stones into the water until the level was high enough to get their beak to.
Brooke and Scott took a hike to the creek that ran along our campground while Cody and I hung out in the tent and played. They crossed the spider web strings of the creek and Brooke was able to get in her daily dose of rock throwing into the water. They also stayed in the car for about two hours working on Brooke’s Junior Ranger Booklet while Cody was finally able to get in a full two hour nap. He was in such an exhausted state that he wouldn’t even smile at us anymore. When he awoke from his nap he was a new baby.