How we took Mallory to Summer Fest on post followed by lunch at Red Robin and she was a total grump. (Nevermind what these pictures might indicate ;)...)
Then about our Sunday in Talkeetna. The amazing weather and breathtaking views of Mt. McKinley.
But, my plans changed. They were changed by the kind, generous and thoughtful people of Alaska and instead I want to tell that story.
As we were heading home from Talkeetna on Sunday, we were stopped dead in our tracks by a wildfire.
The relatively small fire we passed on the drive in to Talkeetna had spread to span thousands of acres in just a few hours.
The highway was completely shut down.
This situation was unlike anything else I had ever experienced. The Alaska State Troopers drove up and down the roadway giving travelers updates on the fire and roadway conditions/timelines. When have you ever had police tell you what was going on during a mega traffic jam??
Complete strangers with extra water went car to car making sure everyone had what they needed.
Local businesses offered shelter to evacuees and stranded travelers. The community rallied together on social media to ensure that everyone being evacuated not only had a place to go, but a way to get there. People were offering their horse trailers, dog food, and homes to total strangers. My friend was ready and willing to care for our dogs until we could make it home.
We were fortunate enough to snag a hotel room in Talkeetna for the night. When we finally got settled in enough to grab something for dinner it was nearly 10:30pm. It was well past Mallory's bedtime, and honestly, the adults were tired and hungry too. We headed to the hotel lobby, Michael in his Ergo, Mallory half dressed and dirty, running around like a crazy person when I was approached by another baby wearing mama. We chatted for a bit about our kids when she asked what brought us to the hotel. I told her we were stuck in Talkeetna due to the fire and highway closures. She and her husband not only offered us diapers, food and a ride into town, but their home. Their home. They were willing to let a family of complete strangers share their home simply out of kindness.
Now, I've lived in enough states to know that it certainly isn't like this everywhere. People rallying together in every capacity to support each other... Well, it's just refreshing.
Right now, I'm so so proud to live in Alaska.
If you would like to donate to those affected by the Sockeye Fire, please click here.
If you are interested in specifically helping the animals/Alaskan sled dogs displaced by the Sockeye Fire, please click here.