Monday, March 16, 2009

Ski Alaska at Campbell Creek Science Center

Cross Country Skiing at Campbell Creek Science CenterI know when people say "spring break" they think of beaches but Andrew and I took advantage of the time off from school to take the kids out for some Alaskan cross country skiing.

We may not have beaches but ski trails? Check.

Anchorage has 120 miles of paved bike trails plus another 300 miles of unpaved trails which get used year-round for horseback riding, running, biking and in winter: skiing.

About 10 minutes from our house is Campbell Creek Science Center which is a tract of public land maintained by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) for recreational and educational use. The main clubhouse has a classroom for children's nature classes but the real study starts when you head out the door to explore the Alaskan wilderness.

It's a wonderful place because while you're right there within a city of 300,000 you can explore backwoods terrain as if you're in the middle of virgin forests. It's quiet and peaceful and the trail system there is just beautiful, going through forests and over streams past beaver dams and over hills, and you can see all sorts of wildlife while you're out enjoying the clean Alaskan air.

Cross Country Skiing at Campbell Creek Science CenterThe Center has all sorts of science classes for children but I've enjoyed taking the kids and hitting the trail. When they were small we'd go in the winter and I'd pull them behind me on the sled and when we went in spring we'd hike to the beaver dam and see bald eagles in their nests but this weekend we took the kids there for their first chance at cross-country skiing.

There is a nice mile loop run that's perfect for beginners which goes by bridges and criss-crosses the trails that the dog mushers use to train (you can see from the sign in the top picture). We packed the gear and some hot dogs to roast and headed out. The temperatures were warm without being slushy and the sun came out about half way through and in short it was a wonderful day.

Though our spring "break" ended up being a bit more literal than most.

I've haven't been cross-country skiing since I was in elementary school, it's been all alpine skiing since then and it felt a little awkward putting on those skinny long skis after so many years. Lillian too was shaky so I followed behind her and after helping her up over the initial snow berm to get on the trail I lost my balance. My hands were busy helping her so they couldn't break my fall and I forgot I was wearing nordic gear. I'm so used to the downhill stuff that locks you solidly in your boots and bindings and allows you to lean as far back as you'd like and still be upright that when I felt myself teeter I automatically leaned back in my boots like I would have done on the slopes but instead of being locked in place my boots betrayed me and dumped me flat on my behind.

I do mean flat, it felt as if someone had dumped me from a helicopter in the sitting position and I landed solidly on the hard-packed snow which left me writhing in agony for a good 90 seconds.

When I could finally breath normally I stood up and could tell something was wrong. It appears, dear readers, that I have what you'd call a broken bottom. I was able to finish out the day just fine--no more falling thank you--but the real fun came when I had to sit in the car to go home. Talk about your pain. And it's been all Advil all the time ever since.

The kids of course wanted to know if I'd have to get a cast (funny aren't they?) then they wanted to know if I'd need to be put in the Iron Butt (see video explanation here and pardon the commercial, I had no choice in that department). Yes they're supportive and sweet.

And just in case you were wondering, yes it even hurts to laugh.

"Ah, man! It itches!"

Sponsored by Greeting of Grace where you can find beautiful pressed flowers and by Tiny Totties for crib bedding sets.

26 comments:

The Source said...

Ooooohhhh Michelle....OUCH! I feel your pain! (I did a number on my tailbone giving birth once...doesn't feel so good.) I really hope you're pain-free very soon.

Robin said...

Ouch! Both my mom and my sister have broken their cocyx (my mom twice!) and it doesn't sound like any fun at all.

Hope it heals quickly. Do you have a(n inflatable plastic) donut to sit on?

PS What's on the video? It's only available to people within the US.

JENNIFER said...

"broken bottom"...I confess that made me smile, but only ever so slightly. :)

I can imagine the fun the family is having with that...I know my family would love it.

Hope you feel better soon.

CountessLaurie said...

So sorry. Laughing right out loud! Hope you don't run out of Advil soon.

Suzie B. said...

OH, sorry! Hope you're back to normal SOON. (I laughed at Sponge Bob but NOT at you.)

tjhirst said...

I'm just amazed you finished out the day! Happy healing. Bet your bruises won't look pretty.

Anji Gallanos said...

eekkk...*sending you soft cushy donut pillows and a costco sized bottle of advil*

Alison Kelley said...

LOL, just a little. I fractured my tail bone a few years back and I swear it took over a year to heal. It was most painful when I had to get up from sitting. Hope your behind feels better soon!

Jennifer said...

Ouch! Hope you're feeling better soon! And I had been planning on trying cross-country skiing, because I figured I wouldn't hurt myself as badly as I would if I were racing down a hill. Now, you've scared me :)

cndymkr / jean said...

LOL. I'm so sorry. Really, I am. It's just that the thought of the itchy iron butt just cracks me up.

jacjewelry said...

Ahh I can't believe you broke your tail bone! Does it just heal by itself? Gosh, I hope you are all better soon.

It's amazing that you were able to finish the trip! Cross-country skiing is a lot of fun. I haven't done it in a long time but much prefer it to slope skiing, and it feels like you're getting a better workout, too!

Janet said...

Oh, dear. I'm so sorry to hear that. (Do you know, I actually almost typed, "what a pain in the butt." Well, I did type it, but not to be taken as I meant it . . . oh never mind.)

Hopefully you feel better soon.

Fawn said...

Owwy-owwy-owwww! I think I'll stick to snowshoes. Get better soon, Michelle!

Your comment about "virgin woods" reminded me of ANOTHER book (non-fiction this time) that I recently read and found fascinating: The Golden Spruce. All the action takes place in the Queen Charlotte Islands, so not too far from your stomping grounds. You get to find out about what the forestry industry is really like, and there's a bit of gore into the bargain.

Michele said...

Oh, you poor thing. But it will make for a funny story...down the road. Heal quickly.

M said...

You know, I have to tell you, I've never injured my bottom on the beach...just sayin'.

Randy, Ally, and Wes said...

I have never tried cross-country skiing . . . but I would love to try sometime. I actually just went downhill skiing last year for the first time, and totally loved it. I was ridiculously sore though . . . I fell down so many times I'm pretty sure people felt sorry/were laughing at me.

Kristine said...

Even the best cross-country skiers can come away with a broken bottom. I crashed at the midwest championships while I was in high school on an icy downhill. So, so painful. I am cringing for you... no chuckling here! And I've skied in Fairbanks, but never been to Anchorage. Maybe someday! I bet it's just as beautiful... with a tad more daylight hours!

Cynthia said...

Oh, that sounds very painful...so sorry you are suffering! I'm glad you all had a good day, though. Love the dog sled sign...I'm sure that's not novel for you, but I'm more used to seeing deer crossing signs here in West Virginia!

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

Crap, I cracked my tailbone once downhill skiing, and it HURT. And there's nothing to do but take your pain meds and wait. Sigh.

Being a mom, you can't even resent Lily for her part in it. At least I could enjoy seething in anger at my (then) boyfriend for waving his ski pole in my face and causing me to fall on ice like that. (And no, he's not my now husband. He's VERY then.)

Looks beautiful and peaceful, though. And I hope you feel better SOON.

thepipers said...

oh NO!!! I slipped on some black ice on the sidewalk this afternoon and thought for sure I was going down. I would have been in the broken butts club with you. Hope you feel better soon.

Madeline said...

Ouch!!! I hope a mended tailbone is in your very near future!

Peruby said...

It'll take some time if it is your cocyx. Do get a donut pillow or use one of those nifty horseshoe shaped neck pillows to sit on while you sit at the computer. Takes the pressure off of that tailbone.

Been there. Good luck.

Carrie said...

Oh, my goodness, you poor thing! I hope you can just lay around the rest of the week & don't have to sit much!!! :)

Amber said...

That sounds like MY idea of spring break. Forget the beaches, bring me the backcountry!

I REALLY love cross-country skiing but can't get Jamie to trade in (or at least alternate) his alpine skis.

May you heal quickly. :-)

Serena said...

I know well the excruciating pain of a tailbone that is not as it should be. I am soooo sorry yours is broken! Be sure to take it easy--I've found that having my husband rub gently around the affected area (a-hem!) can help a bit with the pain.

Lucy said...

Wow. I gotta keep up better with blog reading. Took a break and had my carpet cleaned and you know how that starts you off on other cleaning things. I had that same ... thing broken once. It does hurt. Really.