Alaska 2014

NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}.  Comments added AFTER coming back to San Jose are in [square brackets].

Report 32. Day 32. Thu, June 5. Two-Hour Float Trip on the Kenai River, then on to Homer.

 

We’re leaving in 15-20 minutes to go on Kenai River raft, and this is first entry of the day. It's a beautiful blue clear sky day. Yaaay.

We drive the full rig to the takeoff point for the float trip, having checked out the departure point last evening.

Into the office to pay and sign waivers etc., then out for orientation. Sharon's older son is Matthew Smith, and we like his boathouse. Gettin' ready, below. Can you tell it's supposed to be cold? {They have supplied us with overalls that are water proof, rubber boots and the life vests you see. I feel like Randy in the "Christmas Story" "I can't put my arms down" and the Mom says "you'll put your arms down at school."}

"

Our guide clicks this photos of us, then proceeds to review all the do's and don'ts. {Like all float trips, she tells us what to do if we fall out of the boat, how to float with our feet down stream and she will throw a rope to us. Of course, we all hope that never happens on any of her trips. Her name is Elysia and she is from Florida. We have found that everybody here is oriaginally from somewhere else, came here and stayed. Elysia is very friendly and enjoys being able to be "on the river" every day. She says she goes out by herself even when she's not working.}

We board the raft per instructions, and we're off.

We float past a wonderful bald eagle, who supports his mate, in their nest, across the river. Then a group of Dall Sheep - those little white specks at the top of the photo and just left of center.

I think I forgot my voice recorder, but the fact is it's so deep down in my hoodie pockets, inside my jacket, inside their rubber neck-high waders that I don't realize it and can't get to it.. So here's my memory of things we saw.

Harlquin Ducks, Common Mergansers, Bald Eagle in a nest, another Bald Eagle across the river - perched, Dall Sheep high on a mountain to our right, a Kingfisher fly-by past another Bald Eagle in a nest.

Our guide, Elysia, has been doing this for several years. She's very authoritative, well informaed, has a wide range of knowledge, and a good sense of humor. She really cares about the river, and says that she could do it every day.

We start talking about bears, and she says to YouTube "Kenai River Bear Rescue," which we plan to do.[NOTE: I did it, and it seems to me they simply watched the cub swim around. Hmmm. What am I missing?]

A Common Merganser is next, very close to us. His feathers stick out from the back of his head like he was just electrified.

We are back from the float trip - what a peaceful, relaxing adventure. We watch them hoist our raft onto its trailer for transport.

Sorry for the poor coverage in this report. If I HAD discovered my voice recorder, I'd have likely dropped it into the river.

We get out of our river duds, use their facilities, and their van drives us back to headquarters and our own rig. There is heavy duty work going on on the highways of Alaska, and we are grateful because they really know how to lay down a smooth topper.

We take a few photos before heading for Homer. At left is a fence made from skinned tree bark. This is a resort with cabins.

After a time, we are in the queue to be driven over a one-lane road to the other end of the work area. We decide to wait to eat till we get to the other side of the flag turnaround area. Shirley - you know Shirley, says "you mean I have to wait till I die" (scientific classification: hunger indicated). Sharon says take her back to Resurrection Bay (name of the bay at Seward).

We make it to our lunch place about 2:30.

Afterwards we trade drivers. I have a nap, and when I wake up, we are crossing good salmon rivers and creeks, but there are no fisherman, so we guess no fish coming upstream yet.

We start seeing a huge bay to our right, and a string of beautiful peaks beyond that. The most famous one is Mt. Redoubt, which is in imminent danger of erupting - all the time. It belches smoke every few days, or maybe it doesn't every few days.

We continue admiring the view, when we pass Long Gone Avenue on the left. Another great peak across the water is Mt. Iliana.

"Moose!" I suddenly yell out as we round a little curve, but as we watch it reappear from behind a group of trees, it turns out to be a Morse, or Moose horse, as we like to say.

We get to our RV park about 5:15pm, and its gorgeous - on the side of a hill, with terraces for level trailer parking. They assign us a spot, and we change it several times, till we get one we think will be perfect for the view of the harbor.

Driving down to our spot, there are two giant rigs - one fifth wheel and another a motorhome, that block most of the view, but what the heck. We can step out into the roadway in the park, and be wowed.

Jerry has set our fishing trip up and we drive down to Inlet Charters to complete payment and learn the ins and outs for tomorrow.

Homer Spit is a famous place, and from our vantage point, it is clearly laid out before us.

We take a turn around Homer, and it looks like a glacier is in imminent danger of covering Homer, as it slides down on either side of a big mountain peak. I like the way the gulls are lined up on top of this building on the spit.

Inside Inlet Charters, we do all our business, then shoot our way around Homer. {They issue us our one-day fishing licenses, our tickets for the fishing derby (you win if you land a fish that has been "tagged", the biggest fish, or just are enrolled in a drawing after the derby is over in September) and give us our instructions to come at 6AM tomorrow to get on the boat.}

This eagle wanted its chicks to have WiFi. We see a pair of red rescue vessels high atop a cruise ship, reminding us of the Tom Hanks movie, where he played the cargo ship captain attacked and taken by pirates.

A Coast Guard flyover and an attractive fishing boat - commercial I'd guess.

We finally head for home, noting this yurt-like structure on the way.

We come back home and have chili and chips for dinner. The water pump has been acting up again, so I clean it out and sure enough there is a layer of green sludge in there. Cleaned, reinstalled, and the water pump is working fine.

I take some photos across the inlet.

A raft of birds has found something in the water to feed on

Even Alaska gets a little dark in the eveningl

At right, below, a pair of Bald Eagles head for their night roost.

I work on the computer, updating some reports and managing photos and videos, and about 11 pm, I put on my seasick patch for tomorrow's trip.

And then its bedtime, thinking about how big the biggest halibut will be tomorrow.

 

Cheers,
Bob and Sharon


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