Archive for the ‘Kenai Peninsula’ Category

Seward Highway/Seward 07/19-21/2009

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

We left Eagle River Campground on morning of July 19th heading for Seward. In Anchorage, we picked up the very scenic Steward Highway. Our first stop on the way was Potter Marsh, a state maintained wild life viewing area. Further on, we stopped near Beluga Point on Turnagain Arm where we saw slews of white beluga whales frolicking in the bay. We skipped going to Girdwood and a visit to their Ski Resort due to the rainy weather. We amy get there on our way back through the area.

We went to Portage Glacier to kayak on the lake and take of boat tour of the Glacier. The weather was raining and misty. We went to the visitor center. We were told that kayaking was restricted to bottom of the lake where there may or may not be any icebergs. The weather was so bad we decided to visit again on our way back from Kenai Peninsula to Denali area. We skipped the paddling and the glacier tour.

When we got to Seward, we checked into the Sterling Creek RV Park with full service accomodations. We did laundry and took showers. Fred shaved the beard that had formed while in state campgrounds.  We brought our Alaska trip blog up to date.  On our last full day in Seward, we visited Exit Glacier. Due to rain, we did not hike the trail to the Glacier but viewed it from Park Viewing Station (No pictures – left camera behind!). We also splurged on a sea food dinner on their best waterfront restaurant – Ray’s.

We took a 6 hour Kenai Fjords Wildlife and Glacier Tour. We went to Aialik Glacier. We did see a variety of sea creatures including stellar sea lions, otters, dolphins and humpback whales. We passed a number of glaciers on way to Aialik Glacier. Aialik Glacier did release several small slides of ice while we were watching. The area did not have many large icebergs. It was a disappointment after what we saw at Tracey’s Arm trip out of Juneau.

Kenai Kjords Wildlife and Glacier Tour


Today, July 22nd, we leave for Homer. We may stop overnight somewhere on the way tonight. We expect to be in Homer over the weekend.  We are attending the Annual Birthday Bash of Sally Dodd Butters who has lived in Homer for the last 40 years. Sally and Milly grew up together in western New Jersey. Sally was a very good friend of Milly’s sister Judy Higby. Fred will be meeting Sally for first time after “interneting” with her for the last 4 months.

We have also contacted Edna Peters who lives in Ruby, a remote villiage on the Yukon River. Ruby has a population of about 200 people! The only way for us to get there is by plane from Fairbanks. Edna was married to her husband Emmitt by Fr. Ron Dunfey in Ruby many years ago. She has offered to have us stay at her place with her Family. We hope to visit Ruby in mid to late August if the plans work out.

Visiting an isolated villiage is recommended to see the real Alaska firsthand!!


Soldatna, Anchor Point – Homer July 22-23, 2009

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

We left Seward on July 22 heading for Homer on Sterling Highway on the Kenai Peninsula. We decided to stop overnight at Fred Myers Super Center in Soldatna. Fred Myers is an Alaskan chain of store similar to Wal-Mart. Fred Myers at some locations also allows RV’s to camp overnight without any fees. We were shocked at the number of RV’s that stayed there overnight. There must have been at least 50. We did spent about $100 shopping there. We went in for Milk!

After setting up at Fred Myers, we toured Soldatna and the city of Kenai nearby. We went to Beluga Outlook at the mouth of the Kenai River on Cook Inlet. We watched the hordes of salmon fishermen wading into the water using dip nets on both sides of the river mouth. Many were staying in tents and RVs on the beach.

We met a local Alaskan who owned a fishing boat. He came to watch the fishing scene below us. He told us that he often came here to see if the salmon were running. If he saw many salmon being caught, he would go down to his boat with his friends to try to catch their allocated amounts of salmon. We noticed that no one was catching anything. He explained to us how the fishing regulations worked and were enforced. It was fascinating. You could see the way his eyes gleamed as he talked to us about fishing that he moved up to the Kenai to fish.

From everything we observed in driving through the Upper Kenai area, this is truly a fisherman’s paradise. 

In the morning, we travelled down the Sterling Highway to Anchor Point pausing to a visit an old Russain Orthodox Church. We stayed in Halibut Campground at Anchor Point right on Cook Inlet. Anchor Point is America’s most westerly highway point. The Campground was right off the ocean. We walked along the beach to a place were tractors were used to launch boats and picked them up.

Our campsite was situated in front of a small marsh surrounded by spruce trees. Two ravens were sitting on the picnic table when we arrived. That night, we heard them walking across our roof. There also was a Bald Eagle perched on top of  a tree watching over us for a lot of the time we were there.

Late that afternnon, we went to Homer to see Sallie Dood Butters, who is a high school friend of Milly’s and her sister Judy Higby. Sallie is quite the Alaskan charachter. She invited us to move our camper into her side yard which we did the next day.

Sallie Dodd Butters Birthday Party – Homer July 25, 2009

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Sallie Dodd Butters and Milly went to high school together at Gill School in Bernardsville, New Jersey. Sallie has lived in Homer for the last 35 years. She came to Alaska as a singer with Hobo Jack for the summer, liked it and stayed.

On Saturday, July 25, we joined with many local Alaskans in celebrating Sallie’s birthday at her home in Homer. Her home is known affectionately as Motley Farm. Sallie has held this party every year to also honor her wedding anniversary. The love of her life, her husband Dayton, died last February. 

We moved our camper into her side yard on Friday morning. We met a lot of Sallie’s neighbors as they stopped over to say hello, share a beer and/or smoke some weed. In  Alaska, personal growing and smoking of marijuana is tolerated.

We helped Sallie, her daughter Kimmy and her son Ezra, get her place ready for the party. Kimmy and Ezra both live in Wasilla. We dined out at Wasabi’s Restaurant with Sallie and Kimmy for great Friday evening seafood.

The party started around 2 pm and lasted all day. There were people in her kitchen when we went to bed at midnight. People dropped in when they could. They usually brought some type of food.

Sallie is quite the character. She raises much of her own vegtables in gardens that surround the house. She also sells eggs from her chickens. Recently, She finally got running water in the house.

She lives what appears to be a simple life, close to the environment with neighbors helping each other. She seems to know just about everyone. She gets involved in local political activity. Recently, she helped lead the fight against Sara Palin and the state’s attempt to facilitate Alaskan city annexation of nearby property. Sallie lives about 7 miles from center of Homer. Her home is not taxed by Homer. She does pay Borough taxes.

Sallie’s house is full of “stuff”. She is a pack rat! She has all kinds of “interesting” stuff packed into every cranny of her home.

After church on Sunday, we went to Sourdough Cafe for an excellent lunch. Fred had eaten an great breakfast there. Then we went to a  HOMER NPR benefit Musical Festival on the lawn. It was fun watching all the locals, young and old, listen and dance to the rock bands which changed every hour. Part of the festival was broadcast on KBBS live. During that part of program, the head of Homer wished Sallie Dodd Butters a Happy Birthday! It was a good day for a change after the last several days of rain but we forgot out camera.

Homer Split Harbor Paddle – July 27

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Sallie and Kima Butters had never paddled in a kayak. We planned to put our kayaks into Beluga Lake to give Sallie and Kima paddling lessons in calm waters. Beluga Lake is used primarily as a Float Plane airport. As we watched one take off, we decided that just maybe we weren’t suppose to be there. Instead, we put our kayaks into the small boat harbor at the end of the Homer split. Sallie and Kima took turns paddling with Milly touring the harbor out to the rougher water and back.

Afterwards, we all went for drafts of beer at Land’s End at the tip of the spit.

Kima prepared a seafood feast of salmon and scallops that evening.

Portage Valley – July 29-30, 2009

Friday, July 31st, 2009

We pulled into the Williwaw Campground in Chugach National Park. It was just a good stones throw from Portage Lake. We were able to use Fred’s National Parks Senior Pass to get the Campsite at 50% of normal cost. We also got same break at Russian River!

We caught the last boat tour of the Portage Glacier that left at 4:30 PM 

The weather was rainy and somewhat windy. On the way down to Seward, we had stopped at the Portage Visitor’s Center but skipped kayaking on Portage Lake and the Glacier tour due to the rainy weather and a howling wind.

Two weeks later, we had almost the same weather!

The boat tour of Portage Glacier lasted an hour. Most of the hour was spent right in front of the glacier wall. We hoped  to see parts of the Glacier drop into the water. This didn’t happen when we were there. The sight of the Glacier was quite majestic. The National Parks naturalist on board gave an excellent talk about Glaciers and this particular one.


Back at our campsite, Milly prepared an outstanding chicken dinner while Fred poured over the travel and campground guides trying to figure out where we would spent the next few days. Since it was rainy, we had our wine, appetizers and dinner in the camper. This was followed by a DVD movie and an episode of MASH.

We forgot we had generator going past 10 PM. We also thought we were far enough away from other people that the generator wouldn’t bother people. We were brought back to reality when a neighboring camper rather rudely demanded we shut off our generator. Even nice people like us occassionally screw up!

We arrived on Wednesday evening in Wasilla at the Big Bear RV Park. In Wasilla, before “you can see Russia”, you must first smoke some weed!

Before we left portage Valley, we visited the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center. There were Elk, Carabou, Black and Brown Bears, etc. that had been saved. Where possible animals are rehabed for return to the wild. Their habitats at the Center were spacious. This is a must see when and if you are in the Anchorage or Portage area.

We also went to Girkwood but didn’t take the Ski Area Tram to the mountian top. The weather was too cloudy and views would  probably have been blocked.