Drinking tea in Bird Creek

When a stranger asks you if you want a cup of tea you never know what it may lead to. Here’s a little story from a small town in Alaska to remind you why slowing down and keeping a flexible schedule always leads to the coolest travel experiences.

“Would you like to come for a cup of tea? I’ll put the jug on. If you wander down that little track behind the studio you’ll find the house. See you soon.”
Emma and I were sitting on the floor in a small pottery studio deliberating over which mug we should buy when the potter first poked his head in. Around an hour later we were still milling around, excitedly talking about pottery. A few nights earlier we’d found ourselves eating fresh moose steaks off some beautiful plates at my friends house in Eagle River. We were stoked to find out that the potters studio was en route to our next packrafting adventure.
And that’s how we ended up drinking tea in Bird Creek.
While sipping on tea we chatted about sea kayaking adventures, pottery, Alaska and New Zealand. Peter had spent many months rowing around Prince William sound on different multi-week adventures. He’d also been to New Zealand a couple of times and spent time tramping and visiting potters around the country. Sipping tea and talking about adventures progressed to an offer to go for a bush walk behind the house and to spend the night. We set out with the dog and headed up Bird Creek with glorious fall colours and the forest floor covered in moss just like home in New Zealand. A beautiful waterfall up Bird Creek with the final salmon up there and delicious wild cranberries to munch on.
On the way home we visited a funky tiny house in a tree and then returned home for a sauna in the home-made sauna house in the back garden. We alternated sitting in the sauna with time on the deck eating watermelon to stay hydrated. Dinner was delicious and wholesome with fresh salad, nice cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds like my mum used to make when I was a kid.

“I’ll make you a drink, it’s one of my favourites. A little hard cider with sparkling water and glacial ice from Blackstone Bay. I collected it on my last rowing trip in Prince William Sound.” Glacial ice is a real novelty because it’s thousands of years old and pops because of the air inside. After dinner we had home-made berry sorbet and chocolate.

“This is how travelling should be,” Peter said. “You arrived at the right time. Tomorrow is church, Bird Creek style. We have a tradition of having waffles every Sunday, usually sometime between 9 and 10am.” It was midnight when we finally went to bed. We slept in and then spent our Sunday morning at church, Bird Creek style. Home-made waffles with fresh pecans, real maple syrup, greek yoghurt, raspberries and huckleberries and good coffee.

Around lunchtime Emma and I had adopted the Tibetan Terrier – Bagiera – and we headed off to spend some time at the beach. To top off a wonderful 24hrs we saw so many beluga whales (and their calves) that we couldn’t even count them all. And then we headed home and had local salmon steaks and New Zealand lamb for dinner. The ultimate Alaskan-Kiwi combination.

And that was the story of how we only made it 30 minutes down the road!

 We are still in Bird Creek and if I didn’t have tickets and accommodation confirmed for Maui in a few days time I would have stayed in Bird Creek a little longer. But I think I’ll be back to visit. Tomorrow we’ll head off for 2 days of packrafting. That’s the plan anyway…

A few lessons here. Sometimes you don’t have to go very far down the road to have a great adventure…and drinking a cup of tea is always a good idea!