Friday, August 31, 2012

Kayaking Kachemak Bay

Friday, August 10 – We caught the water taxi out across Kachemak Bay to go kayaking with Seaside Adventure. We had done this guided excursion two years before when we had been in Homer with our friend Becky, and thought that it would be fun to share this with Laura and Dave.
The ride out on the water taxi was a lot less exciting than the last time had been. The water was calmer (though not calm) and we were not bounced all over the boat. I love coming up on Rick and Dorla’s place…..It was designed by Rick to blend into the hillside.
After getting outfitted with life jackets and kayak skirts and paddles …..that is a paddle, not a harpoon….though Laura does look a bit like “Nanook of the North”  : )   ……..
And getting some basic instructions from Rick…..
We got in the kayaks……and  headed out to explore the shoreline around several of the islands in Kachemak Bay.
Rick took this picture four of all of us in the kayaks. It was the first time in a kayak for Laura and Dave, though all of us have done quite a bit of canoeing. Laura and Dave were naturals….DSC07471
Not even hesitating to go exploring a little ways into this cave.
We kept our eyes out for any cute marine mammals…….DSC07490
Like this little sea otter.
And we examined other interesting creatures, like this Sunflower Sea Star.
The helpers, Mary at Catoo helped gather the ingredients, like this kelp, for our beach soup for lunch.
At lunchtime, we stopped on a gravel bar …..
And went with Rick in search of a few ‘extras’ to throw in the soup. Here, Rick shows us the wild herb, goose tongue.
Mary and Catoo started the soup. Lunch was delicious! Beach soup, with smoked salmon and rice added to fresh sea ingredients and a few spices added from the beach, and accompanied by fresh homemade bread.  Yum!
After lunch, Rick pulled out a few special arrowheads and other artifacts which he had collected over the years and told us about the natives which had lied on these islands.
It was a wonderful way to really ‘experience’ the seaside aspect of Alaska.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Homer, AK - August 9-12th

Thursday, Aug 9th – In the afternoon, we loaded up and drove on down to Homer, AK, at the tip of the Kenai peninsula.


We were staying at the Homer Spit Campground, where Fred and I had stayed several weeks before.

After settling in, and doing some laundry (chores must be done, even when on vacation), we went out to investigate Homer Spit.

We had some fish and chips for dinner, fresh caught halibut…..


Then walked around the marina and looked at the fishing boats.


Laura and Dave have a college friend, Brooke, who grew up spending her summers in Homer working on her dad’s fishing boat, fishing for halibut. It was fun looking at all the commercial fishing boats, though Brooke’s dad was finished fishing for the season, and his boat was in dry dock, already.


We tried to guess what these boats were used for. This looks like a crabber boat, like what is shown on the show “The Most Dangerous Catch”.


Then we headed over to the Salty Dog Saloon……


And marveled at the wall d├ęcor…..It is traditional to sign a dollar bill and leave it on their walls….And we toasted Brooke and all the adventures in Alaska. Then walked back to our camper on the spit…..


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fishing The Russian River and The Kenai

We stayed at Russian River Campground Aug 7 & 8th, just past Cooper Landing (on the Sterling Hwy - mile 53) on the way to Homer.The campground was very nice, no hook-ups, but vey nice, private sites.
Wednesday, August 8th, Dave took a guided fishing trip on the Upper Kenai…..we had been told that they are having a very good run on sockeye salmon, and Dave hoped to catch is limit of 3 sockeyes.
While Dave was off fishing, Fred, Laura, and I took a drove into Cooper’s Landing to have breakfast at Gwin’s Lodge. A very nice start for a special day. Did I mention that Aug. 8th is our anniversary? 37 years! Happy Anniversary, darling….
After breakfast, we took Jade for a walk along the Russian River….
Where we watched people fishing.
We have learned a lot by watching and asking questions. We learned that the big red sockeyes, which we easily spotted swimming upstream, were the males and were not good for eating. When one was caught, it was released, so as not to count for your limit. The fishermen hoped to catch only the silver colored, female sockeyes.
As we strolled along the board walked trail by the river, we enjoyed the beautiful flowers. The Fireweed is in full bloom…..
As well as the Larkspur.
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We were surprised by a black bear that strolled down by the stream to catch a fish.He was really quick at it, and disappeared up the trail with his fish in his mouth.
Back at the camper, we ate lunch and enjoyed a quiet afternoon catching up on some reading and blog writing.
About 5 pm, we picked Dave up from his day on the Kenai. He had caught 3 nice sockeye salmon which the guide had filleted. We dropped the fish off to be vacuumed packed and frozen, planning to pick them up on our way back through so that Laura and Dave could take them home on the airplane.
We had kept one nice fillet out which we grilled for dinner. Delicious! Boy are Laura and Dave going to enjoy those fish when they get home!
For dessert……roasted marshmallows over a campfire…..
Thursday, August 9th Laura and Dave decided to take the morning to try their hand at fishing, without a guide, at the Kenai – Russian River Confluence.
They had rented waders and poles……
And crossed the Kenai on the ferry to get into position to fish from the opposite bank. This ferry ran, hooked on a rope, across the river, using the downstream current to push it both ways. Very interesting.
They gave it a good go….fishing for several hours….
Practicing their casting and fly tying skills……
They had a number of bites…..and landed a red male or two, which they released…..but no silvers to take home. It was a fun time, anyway, with a unique experience of fishing in Alaska.
That afternoon, it was time to head on down the road. Next stop Homer…….

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Portage Glacier

Tuesday, August 7th – On our way from Denali to Cooper Landing, we stopped by Portage Glacier……


And went glacier viewing on the MV Ptarmigan day boat cruise….

This glacial lake was not here 100 years ago. Then, Portage Glacier covered the entire area, and prospectors would use the glacier to cross over to Seward. With the glacier’s retreat, the 500 ft deep Portage lake was left behind.


The waterfalls from the run off from the glaciers and ice field look so pretty.


Portage Glacier……


200 feet high above the water, 300 feet below….1 mile wide…..moves down the mountain about 1.5 feet /day.


So much fun to share this with Laura and Dave…..

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And to see it again, ourselves.


A few pictures of that wonderful blue ice…..


Glaciers sometimes look ‘dirty’ because of the dirt and rock which stick to the ice as it moves down the mountainside. As the ice melts, the dirt is left behind.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Denali Landscapes

A few pictures to show you the grandeur of Denali…….


Much of the Denali landscape consists of these wide, u-shaped valleys that were carved out by the glaciers. Across the valley runs the gravel glacial moraine that was left behind. Across this moraine flows braided ribbons of water.


The Polychrome range…named for the many colors of rock and mineral deposits.


The Savage River trail follows the drainage of the Savage River.


The Savage River…..As the rivers flow,  they cut v-shaped valleys……


Until they reach the glacial floor where they widen out into broad ribbons of water.



There are several distinct areas of vegetation in Denali. In the lower park area you find thickets of willows where the moose and caribou like to hide.


The upper park has broad, open tundra.

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And of course…in the background….is the mountain. Mt. McKinley (also known as Denali, or ‘the big one’). We did catch sight of the mountain on our bus ride on Monday. The clouds lifted for just a short while. Just long enough to say “We saw it!” and to get a picture, of course.