Fresh from scorching Texas, Liesl Morehead savors cool rain and waves on the shores of Eyak Lake. Shellhorn family photo

Remember all those great vacation plans that were spoiled by lousy weather?

Not so with my grandkids Huckleberry and Liesl Morehead, from Austin, Texas, who along with their mother, Heidi Shellhorn Morehead, recently made their annual summer pilgrimage north to Alaska.

Grandpa and Huck enjoy the vista from Midway Ski Station on Mt. Eyak on the nicest day of their visit from Texas. Shellhorn family photo

While Texas was gasping in record-setting temperatures well over 100 degrees, no air conditioning was necessary here in Cordova. In fact, one of our first stops was at LFS to get properly sized XTRA-TUFS to match their ever-growing sets of hand-me-down rain gear, as it was sunny on only three days of their 17-day stay.

A daily math problem over breakfast was to look at the thermometer out our window to see how much hotter it was in Austin, and it was commonly 106 minus 56 equals 50 degrees or greater, with rain pouring off our roof blurring visibility of the numbers.

Biking in the rain on Alaganik Road. From left to right, Huck, Heidi and Liesl. Shellhorn family photo

But you know what? They loved it. Cordovans weary of the extended run of bad weather had to be scratching their heads at these hatless kids smiling in the rain.

Hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, kayaking, playing outdoor basketball and corn hole, kite flying, visiting the library, museum, and science center, at least five trips to Baja Taco, and going full bore out the pot-holed Cordova roads for picnics at McKinley River and the Mile 27 sand dunes on rare sunny days, were just some of the activities.


Of course, some days required a break and indoor activities, and a highlight for me was almost spilling my coffee when Huck, a fourth grader, inquired “Hey Grampa, you want to play poker?”

On a rare sunny day Liesl and Huck, left to right, wade out in chilly Eyak Lake toward their cousin Ellie Carpenter in a kayak. Shellhorn family photo

It seems that the last-day-of-school activities in the Lone Star State include playing cards, and naturally Texas hold ‘em was the game of choice, with toothpicks as collateral. Gramma found some betting chips, and Huck had me borrowing from the bank until the sun finally popped out and I challenged him to a game of “HORSE” at our outdoor hoop down on the beach.

Alas, they headed south in late June to scorching Texas where a TV weather commentator compared the heat index temperatures of 120 degrees there to those of the Sahara Desert.

Meanwhile Cordova weather continues to be anything but desert-like, and our Tex-Alaskans called to say they were ready for another hike to rapidly retreating Sheridan Glacier or swimming in Eyak Lake.

They had to settle for seven hours in their backyard swimming pool.