Friday, July 25, 2014

Fjords Trip out of Seward AK! Great Trip.

We took the Kenai Fjords Boat Tour out of Seward and it was absolutely fantastic.  I loved every minute of it but Bob thought he would have preferred a 4 hour tour instead of a 6 hour one.  The captain was very knowledgeable and took all the time we needed to get close up to wildlife as well as the glaciers.  What a day.  One of my favorites on the trip.  We followed this up with a great meal at Ray's, best seafood pasta ever, and found a wonderful cafe for fish lunches.  Yummy.....Continuing to eat my way across AK.  It must stop soon.

We couldn't have asked for a better day to do the Fjords trip.  There were lots of fishing boats as we were going out to sea.
Here we are on one of the "Slow Boat Breaks".
I think this is a Common Murre and a Guillemot.
Dall's Porpoises.  There were three or four of them and they would romp beside the boat on one side for awhile then swim under it and entertain the passengers on the other side.
Note the melting ice from the glacier.  We went in close and could hear the constant breaking of the ice.  Sounded like thunder or a loud gunshot.  
One of the many beautiful scenes on our trip.  Alaska is breathtaking.
This Humpback stayed close to the surface for a good while.  Then he took a dive.
These guys were enjoying themselves sunbathing.  I'm sure they were saying, "Thank goodness we finally have a sunny day!"

Seward Alaska Here We Come........Yipee!

We arrived in Seward late afternoon and decided to Boondock on the way to Exit Glacier.  Very nice spot on Resurrection River.  We had time to park Tucscon and then went to Kenai Fjords National Park and hiked up to Exit Glacier.  Amazing place.  The next morning we found a camping spot right downtown Resurrection Bay which houses Seward Harbor.  I think at least 3 different cruise ships have been in and out since our arrival.  Shorebirds are everywhere but I am ready to see Puffins.
Our first night in Seward.  Boondocked right on Resurrection River.  
There are so many National Parks that I am unaware of.  This one however is huge.  A truly amazing place.
Bob posing for me in front of Exit Glacier.
A close up of Exit Glacier.  The park service has done a great visual on how far the glacier has receded in the last century by putting year signs along the trail.
We couldn't have asked for a better spot.  Here we are in downtown Seward right on the bay.
There are so many glaciers in this area and of course so much water which brings much sea life.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cooper Landing.....What a great spot to camp.....Alaska

We were lucky.  The generator problem was only a broken hose.  Fixed within an hour.  We left Soldatna and headed back east for about 70 miles to Cooper Landing.  We camped at a lovely Forest Service Campground.  Only problem was lots of tree scratches on side of coach.  Hope a good wax will get rid of them.  Had lots of fun with Floy and Gary as we knew this was where we would say goodbye.  They needed to get back to FL before us so off they went after 2 days.

The Carmichael Brothers on a hike to Russian River Falls in Cooper Landing.
Russian River Falls
Look carefully and you will see the salmon trying to jump up the falls.
On another hike down by the Russian River, we ran into this guy who was dragging his freshly caught salmon back to his truck.
We had a great time rafting down the Kenai River.  Our guide Christie was a superb rower.
This is Fly Bob who is a Fly Fishing Guide.  While we were standing there he instructed his client where to land his line and as soon as the guy followed his instructions, a rainbow trout was caught.
We saw between 20 and 30 eagles on our trip down the river.
And, with much regret we had to say adios to our amigos Floy and Gary.  What a special time with you guys.  I already miss Gary's planning.  Now I have to do it!

Catching Up...Homer, Seldovia, and Ninilchik Alaska

We made an appointment with a mechanic to work on our generator when we would be coming back through Soldatna.  So, we departed Soldatna heading for Homer.  Fishing was on our To Do List.  The trip down was fine with a few moose spottings.  Homer was a fun place.  Campground was tight but it was in town.  The spit is where most of the action is because it has a large harbor.  Great restaurants.

Sea Otters are so cute.  They were out and about in the Seldovia Harbor.
Homer Spit.  Scenery from atop a ridge is just gorgeous.
Seldovia Harbor which we had to take a ferry to get to.
This Juvenile Bald Eagle amazed me.  He was in a cottonwood tree stripping the leaves off the twigs.  Then he would rub his face in the leaves.  They have huge feathers as juveniles before molting into adult feathers which are smaller.
Gary and I went on an 8 pack Halibut fishing charter.  We could only catch 2.  This was my first.
These are not all mine.  Great day for fishing.  Water was calm but fish were not abundant.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Finally, The Kenai Peninsula. Soldatna and Kenai City

When we left Turnagin Pass where we camped, we headed across the Sterling Highway to Soldatna and boondocked the first night at Myers.  They actually have an area outside their business for RVs to park.  Mind you, there is a method to their madness because the four of us spent lots of bucks in the store.  Unfortunately, we developed a problem with our generator and have made an appointment with a mechanic to work on it Monday as we go back through Soldatna.  We left Soldatna and spent 3 nights in Kenai City over the 4th of July.  Nice little town.
I think this is a Common Redpoll.  Such an unusual bird.
This is around 2 pm and the fishing boats were all racing out of the inlet because it had been so rainy all morning.  Remember, it doesn't get dark but for a few hours.
Russian Orthodox Church in Kenai City.
This could be a Savannah Sparrow.
Alaska has tons of beautiful wildflowers.
I spotted these moose early one morning while out birding.  It is no wonder that so many are killed on the roads.  They feed so close and imagine winter when it is dark so much of the 24 hour day.
View down the hill from our campground in Kenai.
Gary, Floy, Bob and I had a really nice Fourth of July.  The only problem was that fireworks weren't a big deal.  Reason being that there is very little darkness.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Alaska...Too much to do, too little time. Denali State Park to Turnagin Arm and Soldatna.

After leaving the Denali area we headed to Anchorage for an overnight at Cabelao's.  Great RV parking there.  Gary had to have his truck serviced so we celebrated at a sushi restaurant.  Yum.  Then we headed to Portage which is south of Anchorage on the Seward highway.  We stopped for a train ride up to Spencer Glacier.  What a cool trip.  After a boondocking overnight at Turnagin Rest Area, we headed for Soldatna on the Kenai Peninsula.  Nice trip through a mountainous area and we caught a glimpse of Alaskans who were netting salmon in the Russian River.

Spencer Glacier near Portage.  Part of Chugach National Forest.
This is Gary, me and Floy boarding the train.  They served wine and beer on the way back.  Believe it or not, I had water.
Spencer Glacier.  Amazing.
This bridge was completed in Chugach NF within the past couple of years.  Longest, wooden, single-span bridge in the world.
Waiting for the return ride.
Heading south from Portage on Seward Highway we finally saw our first bit of brackish water.  This is a view of Turnagin Arm shortly before we turned onto the Sterling Highway heading to Soldatna and Kenai.

Monday, June 30, 2014

From Denali National Park to Denali State Park

What a very pleasant surprise!!!  We left the DNP area on a wet Friday morning and traveled south to a delightful Denali State Park where we spent 2 nights.  Gary is a great planner.  This park was perfect for hiking up mountains and around lakes, kayaking, and catching Mt. Denali (we think we qualify as natives now so that is what we call Mt. McKinley) with crystal clear skies.  They really should change the name back to its original title.  We are now in Talkeetna and this morning Bob took a tourist plane trip over the mountains with Gary and Floy.  The bottom four pics are from that.  Words do not do justice to the beauty of this place.
A 50's cabin out in Denali State Park that is returning to nature. 
The view of Denali was even more spectacular south of DNP close to Denali State Park.
We had forgotten how much we missed paddling.  The water in Byers Lake was not that cold.
The wildflowers in Alaska are so varied.  As we drove south of DNP, we noticed that the vegetation was quite different.
View of the mountains out of the window.
This is a glacier with a small pool of melted water.  Note how dirty the glacier looks but how clear the water is.
We have seen several mountains that have this shape here in AK.  Am not sure if it is the natural shape or if receding glaciers are responsible.  Or aliens, maybe.
This is a glacier.  The dark areas are really ice.  On either side where it is brown, the brown parts are still part of the glacier and are 300-500 feet of ice.