By Ken Tucker
Updated December 19, 2010 at 12:00 PM EST

After last week’s special Invasion of the Kate Monster episode of Sarah Palin’s Alaska, La Palin had to unwind a bit, as who would not after Hurricane Gosselin had swept through Wasilla?

So she loaded most of the family into a big RV and went rafting, camping, dog-sledding, even panning for gold, as well as enjoying all the treats of the great outdoors.

“Where’s the s’mores ingredients?” Sarah said to her children, adding, “This is in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert.” I would assume this was a shot against the First Lady’s campaign against childhood obesity, wouldn’t you?

The hour was beautifully filmed, as usual, and it looked like great fun to shoot the “class-three rapids” (I don’t know from rafting; seemed challenging to me), and only a little tedious to go panning for gold. Palin’s father, Chuck, told the camera, “On a good day we can find an ounce of gold, and gold is $1,200 an ounce, so you can make a living at it.” Wow — why hasn’t everyone headed up to Alaska for this, especially after seeing all those invest-in-gold commercials they air on Fox News?

Oh, yes — the cameras. Herein lies the perplexing quality of Sarah Palin’s Alaska. In the midst of this idyllic getaway, framed against majestic mountains and glaciers, Palin could not resist saying how glad she was to “get away from the idiots and the bloggers who do not like our family.” She also said, “We like to get away from it all — certainly get away from the press.” But, of course, she was saying this to people who were filming her to create a TV show that would be written about by the bloggers and the press, the “idiots” she claimed she wants to escape.

That’s our Sarah, a dog-sledding paradox to the end.

Twitter: @kentucker

Oh, and check out the latest TV Insiders podcast featuring Dalton Ross, Annie Barrett, Michael Slezak, Jeff Probst, and me, running down my 10 Best and 5 Worst 2010 TV shows.