Baines Family 4th of July 2021

The pile of stumps we burned all weekend.

This 4th of July weekend was a pretty awesome weekend filled with family, beach fires, friends, hikes, and Juneau sun. Daniel, the kids, and I spent 3 nights down at the cabin. With COVID we have not taken a vacation since November 2019 but this weekend felt like a mini-vacation from the hustle and bustle of life. We got to relax, enjoy time with family and friends, and watch the cousins make memories. 

Here’s a recap of the weekend events.

Friday July 2nd – Let the Weekend Begin!

We came down to the cabin after work. As we took our less than a 10-minute boat ride from the Douglas harbor the sense of calm came over me. It felt as if I was coming home since the cabin is pretty much a 2nd home to me since we spend so much time down there. Kelly, Roger, Kyler, Sydney, and their 3 kids: Kaylix, Kali, and Cambri, were already here and Kyler already had a fire going on the beach to burn some tree stumps that we had pulled out of the ground. As we pulled up to the beach my niece Kali came down to greet us with an excited “Hi guys!” As she almost always does. My heart was happy and I was ready for the weekend to get going.

Saturday July 3rd – Fireworks

Saturday started out pretty mellow and ended up being a fun-filled day of adventures. 

On Thursday before we came down I had made an Apple Crumb Cake that was absolutely to die for if I do say so myself. Once everyone had woken up Sydney and I started to make some french toast, bacon, and eggs for breakfast, more like lunch since it was 11:30 before we ate. I really enjoy cooking for the family but cooking with someone is always nice. 

Once everyone was done with breakfast Daniel and I took Jason, Kaylix, and Kali to get Daniel’s Uncle Gary from the Douglas Harbor so he could stay for 2 nights at the cabin. After we picked him up we pulled the Dungeness Crab pots Kyler had set the night before to see if we had gotten any crab to have for dinner. We were in luck! One of our pots was packed with crab, we ended up keeping 4 huge Dungies and throwing back 6 we could have kept. One of the most impressive parts was that Kaylix and Jason pulled up an empty pot too! 

After we had cooked the crab, the whole gang of us, 7 adults and 5 children headed down to Daniel’s cousin’s cabin a mile down the beach from our property. James and Kelsey and Kelsey’s parents own a cabin a mile further away from town from our property and next to them our friends, Adam and Ashley, have some land and were tent camping for the weekend. Since everyone was down there for the weekend we decided to hike down there and have a couple beers and hang out. It was nice to see their property and their cabin is coming along nicely. 

Let the festivities begin! In Juneau, our city fireworks display is at midnight on the 3rd of July. There are a couple reasons for this: 

  1. If the weather is too bad (the cloud ceiling is too low to see the fireworks) on the 3rd they can postpone the fireworks until the next day and we don’t have to miss out. 
  2. We have to wait until midnight because it doesn’t get dark enough to see the fireworks until then. 

This year though was perfect! We had 65 to 70 degree days with sun and not a cloud in the sky, so there wouldn’t have been a problem seeing any of the fireworks. Some years we like to go out on our skiffs into the Gastineau Channel where the cruise ships dock and watch the city fireworks out on the water but this year we ended up staying at the cabin. Mainly because it is a lot of work and our girls are a little too young to make it to midnight to see the fireworks anyway. So, we ended up having a raging beach fire and shooting off a ton of fireworks on the beach. The boys stayed up and shot off fireworks and the girls were able to get to bed at around 11:00 pm. 

Sunday July 4th – Today is the Day!

Ready and waiting for the parade!

This 4th of July was a weird one for me. I grew up in the middle of downtown Douglas where all of the action happens and for years my parents still lived in the same house so we always had a home base in the middle of the chaos. In 2019 my parents retired and moved out of state and with COVID last year this year was the first year of 4th of July festivities without them. 

Overall though the day was a good one. Since the weather was nice Sydney and I decided to walk back with their 2 dogs. Honestly, the walk was a mental health break for both of us and for me calm before needing to pull out all of the coping techniques I needed to deal with the crowds of people. As for the 4th of July festivities, everything was still scaled down from normal. The Douglas Parade had no more than 10 floats, if that, there were only 3 food vendors where there are normally about 10, and the crowds of people weren’t nearly as big. We were able to spend some time at Sandy Beach, ate ice cream and listened to the band play for a while and just relaxed. Once we said goodbye to Kyler and Sydney the kids, Daniel, and I headed back to the cabin for our last night.

Monday July 5th – The Extra Day

Since the 4th was on a Sunday Daniel and I had the Monday after off of work. We finished the weekend with the classic cabin breakfast of sausage, fried potatoes, and eggs, packed up our things, and cleaned up the cabin.

As I write this I can’t help but feel this sense of gratitude. I am so thankful to have such a good relationship with both Kyler and Sydney and how our kids can grow up with each other. It’s something I never had growing up since we lived so far away from my extended family. The weekend all in all was exhausting but mentally rejuvenating at the same time. I am so grateful to be able to enjoy the cabin property.

Hiking the Treadwell Mine Historic Trail

One of my favorite pastimes is hiking. Today I was walking down the Treadwell Mine Historic Trail on Douglas Island to our family cabin which is about a 3 and a half-mile hike from the Douglas boat harbor. To get down to the cabin we hike past the end of the Treadwell Mine Trail and continue on the beach if the tide is low enough or take a separate trail in the woods when the tide is high. I prefer hiking in the woods to the beach.

Since being a part of the Baines Family hiking down to the cabin has been a very common thing I get the opportunity to. We hike it in the winter, I’ve hiked it while pregnant with my son Jason and possibly with my daughter Natalie as well, honestly though I can’t remember, I’ve hiked it with kids, and I’ve hiked down on my own. Nevertheless, we hike down to the cabin all the time all year round and have for years. So this hike is one of my favorites.

Here in Juneau, there are so many hiking trails that have a range of difficulty levels from easy like the Treadwell Mine Trail to hard like the East Glacier Trail which you can hike to ice caves that happen on the edge of the Mendenhall Glacier. There are a ton of other trails that I’ve never hiked myself. This summer it’s my goal to hike the trails I haven’t experienced yet. One on my list, and has been for a while now, is Perseverance Trail. This trailhead is right outside of Downtown Juneau. 

While hiking here and around Southeast Alaska there are a few things you need to look out for:

  1. Look out for black bears especially mamas with their cubs. There’s a reason why they call a protective mom a mama bear. They are very dangerous and can attack when they think their cubs are in danger.
  2. Devils club. Believe me, trying to get the spines out of your hand when you accidentally grab it thinking it’s a tree branch its no fun. 
  3. Watch your step. Juneau is located in the middle of the Tongass National Forest which has lush vegetation that can hide all sorts of things. Deep puddles, huge rocks, and other things that can be dangerous.
  4. Look up! you never know what is above you!
The porcupine that almost fell on my head!

Until the next adventure!

Hello 30!

This year I turn 30. What?! How did that happen?! Does anyone ever feel like they have no idea what they have been doing with their life when a milestone birthday hits? Yeah, me too.

This year I’m going to hit the big 3-0 and I’m feeling like I’ve done nothing and like I’m not old enough to have already done/have what I have. By my birthday I will have already had an 11-year career, been married for 11 years, raised a 9-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter, and bought a house. I feel like I have already achieved so many external markers of what I’m supposed to do by the age of 30 but somehow I feel like I’ve done nothing at all.

When 2021 started I was completely freaking out about turning 30. But now that the big birthday is just a month away I am starting to feel a little more of a sense of calm about it. I have been doing a lot of thinking of why am I so caught up on what I am supposed to be doing? Some days I feel like I should be doing more but honestly with the pandemic I am doing what  I can to keep the day to day life moving forward. Luckily Daniel and I have been able to work from home since March of 2020. Though,child care and school have been huge struggles for us just like most other parents in the world. I could go on and on about all the things good and bad with the pandemic, but that would be off topic so, let’s move on. 

Why does 30 seem like such a big deal? It made me think of what I thought my life would be like as an adult. I imagined myself being a mom (check), having a husband (check), and being a teacher (not quite). But of course I didn’t imagine myself any older than like 25. So, as I go into my 30s things seem so unknown which is a little unsettling. As I type that last part I keep thinking of one of my favorite podcasters, Kaitlyn Bristowe, and how she says your 30s are the best decade of your life, so I am going to go with that! 

I just want you to know, if you’re going through it you’re not alone! We can do this together!

With love until next time!

How I Came to Alaska

One of the most unique stories about my life is how I came to live in Juneau. I hope you enjoy!

D.I.P.A.C. Fish Hatchery where it all began!

I came to Juneau when I was 4 years old and my brother was 6 months old. My parents decided to take us on a road trip from Texas to Alaska in our Geo Tracker. Yep, a tiny Geo Tracker, my parents are crazy! We ended up in Juneau on July 6th, 1995. Just a few days later, on a rare, beautiful sunny day, we went to the local fish hatchery and fished for dog salmon. I was sitting there with a fishing pole in my hand, looking down the Gastineau Channel, thinking “this is amazing”. It just felt like home. Pretty profound for a 4-year-old, right? I turned to my parents and said “Mama, Papa, I want to live here for the rest of my life.” My parents poo-pooed the idea initially, but it got my mom thinking. Later that day, while my brother was sleeping and I was happy as a clam on the dock fishing, she decided to go for a drive. When she came back, she told my dad she had found jobs for both of them at the Baranof Hotel. He would be a waiter during the day, and she would work the front desk at night. Next thing I knew, we were calling my grandma to say we weren’t coming home. That seems like a rash decision, but there was good reason for it. That’s a story for a later post…

Jump forward 25 years and here I am, still living in Juneau. I married my high school sweetheart, Daniel  11 years ago. We have 2 amazing children; Jason who is 9, and Natalie who is 4. I was lucky enough to marry into a family who had a cabin just a few miles away from town. We are down at the cabin nearly every weekend during the summer and frequently during the winter as weather allows.

Here’s a little more about Juneau:

 Juneau Alaska is in Southeast Alaska which borders British Columbia, Canada. Juneau is a completely land locked town which means, the only way in or out of Juneau is either by taking one of the Alaska state ferries or flying. Want to learn a little more about the history of Juneau check out the Wikipedia page (here)

Until next time!

In Sight of the Mountain Book Review

Let’s do something new, write a book review! I’m not a big reader, which is something is should probably work on doing more of, but when I was given Jamie McGillen’s Book “In Sight of the Mountain” as a Christmas gift and I was excited to read! I knew I would probably like reading it because I like history and young adult novels since they are a great way for me to get out of my head and the current daily stresses. I enjoyed this book immensely! I think you will too.


In Sight of the Mountain is a young adult historical fiction based in Seattle Washington in the early 1900’s. This book follows the main character Anna Gallagher as she dreams of becoming the first woman to summit Mt. Rainer. When Anna chooses to attempt to summit the mountain, she decides she must prepare in secret in fear of the disapproval friends and family. She is also afraid they will try to prevent her from attempting the summit as it is not what ladies do.

About the Author:

Let me introduce the author, Jamie McGillen. She was born in Juneau Alaska but moved to Seattle Washington area when she was young. She has written two books, In Sight of the Mountain and In Light of the Summit, which are the first two books of the Rainer Series. For these books she has spent countless hours doing research on how life was in the early 1900’s to ensure the accuracy of the time period, mountaineering gear, and the societal pressures on women to marry well and early. She is currently writing the third book in the series. To learn more about Jamie and purchase her books go to

 The Review:

The story starts off in Seattle June 6th, 1889 the day of the great Seattle fire. Jamie’s description of early Seattle paints the picture as if you were walking through the streets yourself. Anna Gallagher’s spunk and determination are evident as she tries to help with the fire. Though out the book Anna’s love for her family, the mountain, and her love interest, Ben a crew member on her brother’s fishing boat, are constantly pulling her heart in different directions. Through it all Anna stays true to herself.

Some of the things I liked about this book was that it kept my attention. I would sit and read multiple chapters until I HAD to put it down. I couldn’t wait to keep reading! Jamie paints such a vivid picture of how life was during the time period you felt like you were there watching it all play out. Jamie shows her love of Alaska with casting Anna’s brother Levi as a fisherman who fishes for Halibut in Alaskan waters. It made me smile every time she mentioned his ship being in port I recognized by living in Alaska myself. This story doesn’t stray from some of the realities of life for young single women of Seattle. One of Anna’s dearest childhood friend, June, is a prostitute at one of the city’s most respected brothels.

As I write I keep trying to think of things I didn’t like about the book and honestly, I can’t think of a single thing. This book is an easy read. It kept my attention, there is adventure, a love story, and history. What more could you ask for? Once I finish the next book In Light of the Summit, yes, I will be reviewing this one too, I will definitely be reading this again! As long as the 3rd books isn’t out yet. I want to say a big thank you first to the Author Jamie McGillen for writing these books. They are a true treasure. Second to Jamie’s mother Beth for sending me the book! Until next time!