Last week, Anna and Audra Dekle were exploring the Alaskan wild, watching humpback whales glide across the Alaskan waters and observing bears beyond their wildest imaginations.
The twins, 7, returned from a seven-day trip to Alaska with their father and aunt, Renee Patterson, of Augusta. It was the first plane trip for the girls, the daughters of David and Pat Dekle of Martinez, who went north to visit with their grandparents, who are working as campground hosts at Williwaw in Girdwood, Alaska.
The highlight of the trip, which included a train ride on the Alaskan Railroad from Anchorage to Denali National Park, the home of Mount McKinley, was a chance encounter with a black bear.
"They were half asleep," their father said. "A black bear was trying to break into a compartment of my dad's RV. That's where he keeps his grill, and he had just grilled salmon."
Anna and Audra, second-graders at Stevens Creek Elementary School, say seeing the bear's voracious attack on the RV, which was stopped only after their grandfather tossed two flares at the animal, was the highlight of the trip.
"It was about a mom-size black bear," an excited Anna said. "We were inside the camper when we saw it."
Audra didn't think the attack was scary.
"It was kind of funny," she said, knowing that this is the story she'll share first with her friends when she returns to school. "I wasn't scared."
The twins saw whales, a bald eagle, sea lions and a glacier up close.
"We went on a six-hour glacier cruise from Seward into the Gulf of Alaska," their father said.
That's where the girls saw the whales, eagle, sea lions and glacier. Additionally, the twins visited a real Alaskan husky training camp and got to hold puppies and listen to how they are trained for the Iditarod, the annual sled-dog event that spans more than a thousand miles.
The sisters least liked the food on the plane from Atlanta to Anchorage, but enjoyed the salmon.
"We just had a great time," their father said. "The girls will be talking about this trip for a long time."
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