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June – Touring the Kenai Peninsula - Alaska

Alaska, the final frontier… Shortly after landing in Anchorage we drove down to Ship Creek to watch local folk fish for King salmon. On our way there, just a couple of miles down the highway, a moose came out of the woods, stared at us then put her head down to munch on the green grass. We were so amazed we did a U-turn, spun around to take another look. Not your ordinary sight here in Texas.  She was awesome. 

The next morning we drove from Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula, home to some of the largest King salmon every caught. Our hopes were to come home with at least 4 Kings and a few reds and although we didn’t quite make that goal we saw some absolutely gorgeous country. Majestic snow covered mountains on one side and wide glacier fed rivers on the other. Bald eagles could be seen flying across the rivers heading to their nests high in the spruce trees.  Wildlife was everywhere. It is said that there is at least one bear for every square mile on the Kenai Peninsula….hmmmm.

We pulled off the road several times to take a look at glaciers from the ice age, melting into the rivers below.  Portage Glacier was ‘calving’, dropping big chunks of blue ice into the water below. We couldn’t help but wonder what might be preserved, frozen within that tundra of ice.   

We stayed in Soldotna at the Beaver Creek Cabins on the Peninsula. Two of the nicest people you will ever meet own and operate these cabins, Keith and Jane Holtan. There are four log cabins available; we selected the two-story with the second floor being a huge open loft. Keith is also happens to be one of the best fishing guides on the Kenai River, so we knew we were in good hands. Special to us was a mama Moose and her twins that called ‘our’ front yard their home. They were wonderful to watch, from a distance; Mama was as tall as a pickup truck and very protective.  By the way, Keith has a great blog for everything you want to know about fishing the Kenai River. You can check them out at Beaver Creek Cabins and Guide Service. 

Taking a break from fishing, we took a day trip to Seward, southeast of Soldatna. Our first stop was Exit Glacier which offered an opportunity to hike right up to the glacier’s edge. Signs along the way, read 1917, 1950…these were markers where the glacier used to be years ago, it showed  how quickly this piece of our planet’s history was melting away. Hiking up to the top of the glacier, we spotted our first bear.  Fortunately, it was up high on the mountain side and absolutely had no interest in any of us. Later in the day we took a cruise around Resurrection Bay where sea otters played in the harbor, seals layed out on the rocks, dolphin swam alongside the boat and the Okra and Humpback whales kept us entertained. Pretty cool stuff.

Homer, on the southwest side of the Peninsula, is partially outlined by volcanoes and has a beautiful view as you drive down towards the town.  If you’re in the mood for some flavorful wines stop in and visit the Bear Creek Winery; their wines are made from every berry you can think of. And for you Deadliest Catch fans, The Time Bandit and its crew are based right in the harbor at Land’s End and no doubt they have tossed back a few at the famous Salty Dog saloon. 

One of the best memories that we brought home with us was meeting a character named Hobo Jim. Running away from home at a very young age, he picked up his nick-name traveling from town to town on railcars. Now, 40 years later, he has performed all around the world. He’s written Christian ballads for Anne Murray, performed with Jerry Jeff Walker, Ted Nugent and a dozen more famous entertainers and he has entertained our troops in Afghanistan. When we walked into the Riverside Inn, Hobo Jim, smiling and wearing a white cowboy hat came over to our table, introduced himself and offered us some homemade pickled hooligan (pickled fish)…yup, we ate it and it was darn good. Strumming his guitar and singing his tunes, Hobo Jim entertained the enthusiastic crowd with his music, his off-colored toasts and his stories about the wilderness way of life in Alaska. From commercial fisherman, logger, songwriter and performer, Hobo Jim is a character in every sense of the word. Currently, he is now working with Johnny and Andy Hillstrand, of the Time Bandit, on a new series to be aired on the Discovery Channel.  One can only imagine what that will be about! Yup, this guy was one unique character and we loved him.  Thanks for the tunes Hobo!  Check out more on Hobo Jim

Oh yeah, one of the strangest things to get used to while in Alaska was figuring out what  time of day it was.  Alaska, the land of the midnight sun… Sunrise was around 4:20am and sunset was at 11:42pm.  And even during those few non-daylight hours, you could still go fishing!  Amazing. 

Alaska filled with beautiful wilderness, abundant in wildlife, adventures on every river and wonderfully happy people.  Don’t forget to take a jacket!

For your own travel arrangements, near or far, call Sheron at 281-480-1988.Travel Leaders

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