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Thoughts on ordinary and not so ordinary adventures in the life of one Mom

Saturday, June 4, 2011


We put our baby on a plane to Fairbanks, Alaska a few days ago.   He was with his grandparents and, at 12 years old, he's not exactly a baby anymore.  This takes me back to the last time we were in Fairbanks, when Joseph actually was a baby.  It's not easy traveling with a baby, but we have always felt that, even though they may not remember the specific experiences, traveling will foster a love of exploration in kids.  I remember a friend of the family imploring us not to take an 18 month old to such a cold place.  Apparently, she didn't know that there were already babies in Alaska and they use these things called coats to keep warm.

March in Fairbanks is colder than the worst January anywhere else in the US.  While we were there, we experienced -20 degree temperatures.  With that, though, came the opportunity of seeing the greatest light show on earth, the Auora Boreialis, or Northern Lights.  It was incredible to step outside in the middle of the night and see shimmering green curtains grace the sky.  It was a once in a  lifetime experience.

Fairbanks in March, also hosts the International Ice Art Festival which brings teams from around the world to compete in an incredible showcase of artistic talent, sculpting huge blocks of ice into grand works of art.  Multi-block sculptures are often two stories high and comprised of more than 46,000 pounds of ice.  We had a wonderful time walking amongst the elaborate sculptures and visiting the Kids Park with its ice slides and playhouses.  I'd love to go back!

One of the mulit-block sculptures from Ice Art 2000

Unfortunately, this 22 year old Fairbanks tradition may soon go by the wayside.  The Fairbanks North Star Borough needs to secure the  30+ acres known as "Ice Park".  If the Alaska State Legislature votes against this transfer, Ice Art in the US may be a thing of the past and Fairbanks will suffer a devastating cultural and financial loss.  Our children may not get to experience a true winter wonderland filled with whimsical works of art as big as houses.  For more information, visit http://www.icealaska.com/.

Right now, my son is experiencing the wonders that an Alaskan summer offers:  warmer temperatures great for hiking countless mountains and long days perfect for wildlife exploration.  While he has always been proud of the fact that he had been to Alaska as a baby, I am so glad that he will actually remember this trip.  He will have his own reflections of this travel experience and won't have to rely on our stories and pictures.  Now, at 12, he can make his own memories and tell his own stories of exploration.  This is what we have always wanted for our baby.

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