During the afternoon while Finn napped, the older kids and I headed out to the bird sanctuary located on the grounds of our hotel to see what we could see. It turns out the bird sanctuary had almost 2 miles of trails through the woods and around a lake that provides refuge for more than 16 different types of birds and waterfowl.
Although we didn't see too many species of birds, we did see lots of unique foliage, and we definitely enjoyed our walk around the lake.
Interestingly, the first half of the loop was almost completely surrounded by birch trees, but the second half was nearly all fir.
The kids endured the mosquitos and really enjoyed exploring with me. They are so attentive to the different types of trees and wildflowers found here in Alaska as opposed to the southeast where we usually hike.
I just enjoyed taking it all in, the few birds, the foliage, the wildflowers, even the mushrooms.
The bottom of the forest floor was covered with this fine green fern-like plant that was so wispy and ethereal. I could almost see an Elsa Beskow book playing out under the frail, slender greens.
The lake was gorgeous and still. Just a beautiful place to hike.
And the kids puttered along, lost in thought.
Soon enough we were heading back into the forest (see, all firs now!) and back toward our hotel.
But not before admiring a huge swath of the forest floor covered in bearberry and low-bush cranberries.
I think that aside from the amazing view here in Alaska, my favorite thing might be the hikes in such different and unique vegetation. I can scarcely stop staring and trying to figure out what I'm seeing and experiencing at any given moment. I definitely have a new appreciation for Alaska just based on what I've seen during our hikes.