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Exit Glacier, Seward, Alaska

Saturday, July 7, 2007

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We spend the morning and early afternoon walking around Seward and relaxing at the campsite.

Then we pack up and head over to the Stoney Creek RV Park, where we have reservations. We really like the municipal campground that we're at, but we made reservations at Stoney since we weren't sure if we would like the Seward Municipal Campground. Well, it turns out that we like the municipal campground more than the more expensive Stoney Creek....oh well.

We arrive at Stoney Brook RV to find that they just lost electric power. That would not be a big deal for us, except their computers need electric and are not working. So without the computers, they don't know which site we're assigned and they refuse to put us in a site til their computers are working--I think they need a back-up system in case their computers aren't working. Anyway, we eat our very late lunch, move the trailer to our assigned site, and then head out to Exit Glacier.

We hike up to the end of the glacier and take some pictures. After seeing the massive Portage Glacier a few days ago, this glacier isn't very impressive. But it is a nice hike and we do get a close-up view of a glacier.

We head back to the RV park and Joe heads out behind the trailer to build a bridge across the creek. Normally, he builds a dam, but today he decides to build a bridge. There are 3 bald eagles flying above the creek that we watch while Joe builds his bridge.


Posted by jengelman 13:54 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Seward, Alaska Municipal Campground

Friday, July 6, 2007

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Wonderful blue skies when we wake up! Today is the first day in quite some time that we have NO RAIN. I forgot how beautiful Alaska is with blue skies.

We pack up (again), leave Ninilchik, and drive to Seward; about 130 miles. We make a few stops, including a stop at Uncle Lloyds to pick up my early birthday present, a wood-carved bear. No wildlife for today's drive, but very pretty scenery on the Sterling and Seward highway.

Whoops--how could I forget the large moose that we saw crossing a very large creek--it was really different to see a moose in a large, flowing creek. No place to stop the truck to take a picture, but we did see some wildlife.

We couldn't get campground reservations for tonight, so we are going to try our luck at the Seward Municipal Campground. We pass dozens and dozens of RVs as we travel to Seward, so we're hoping everyone is leaving Seward, but when we arrive the campground is almost full, even the tent areas. The key word being 'almost'. They have 2-3 sites left so we take one and set up.

The view from the campsite is incredible. The campground is on the shores of the inlet, so we have a view of the water with snow-capped mountains in the background.

As soon as we're set up we head to the downtown to reserve a boat tour to see Kenai Fjords National Park. Our first choice of tours is full for the next two days, but we find another tour company that has 5 seats left for Sunday's full-day tour. We buy our tickets ($400 for the 3 of us for an 8 hour cruise, including food/beverages--I think we're going to be overbudget this week) and then head back to the campground.

After an early dinner we spend the rest of the evening walking along the water. Joe skips stones on the water as Jere and I walk near him.

Walking back to the campground we're suprised to see a sea otter floating on its' back about 20 feet from shore. Very cute. Soon after that we spot a seal swimming in the water. However, by far the most prevalent creature we see is the seagull. We see hundreds of gulls.

We get back to the campsite around 9pm and debate about a campfire, but decide to have popcorn and hot chocolate inside the warm trailer by the back picture window instead. We have great views from our side window and our back picture window. Jere and I pull chairs and sit by the back window (Joe's bedroom). We're missing the smell of the campfire and the tasty s'mores, but with this beautiful scenery we don't care. And yes, it's still very light out at 10pm when this picture of our back window view is taken.

Posted by jengelman 13:27 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Lots of Rain in Kenai, Alaska

Thursday, July 5, 2007

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We wake up to the sound of raindrops again, so we are slow to get going. We eventually get ready and decide to drive to Kenai, despite the weather. The drive to Kenai is cloudy, but no rain; but also no wildlife nor interesting scenery. We stop at the Kenai Visitor's Center and Museum and find out that they are not showing their Alaska movies today because they lent all of their chairs in the theatre to someone -- only in Alaska :-) So we decide to skip the museum and have some lunch.

By the time we're done with lunch, it's raining steady outside. So no walk on the Kenai beach or around old Kenai; instead we decide to do our laundry. By the time our laundry is done, the rain has slowed somewhat so we visit the old Russian Orthodox church in Kenai. There is a retired priest there that gives a talk about the church and the Russian orthodox religion. So our trip to Kenai is not a complete waste.

Rainy drive back to the RV park. We have dinner and the rain finally stops, so Jere and I head down to the Ninilchik Beach.
We're looking for eagles again, but instead we end up watching the commercial fishing boats unload their catch. The Ninilchik harbor is a small harbor and the fishing boats are all small, private boats. We watch about a dozen boats unload before walking back to the RV park.


There are boats lined up in the bay waiting their turn to come into the harbor and unload their fish.

I always pictured commercial fishing boats as large trollers with lots of men with large nets--so tonight is a learning experience for me. The captains and their helpers have such a different lifestyle from me -- I can't even imagine having a job as an independant Alaskan fisherman.

On the way back to the RV park we see a couple of eagles. This eagle is sitting by the Ninilchik pond near the dock area:

Posted by jengelman 13:17 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Bicycling on the Homer Spit

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

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Happy 4th of July! Jere says we need to take a photo of a bald eagle today for our blog. We see lots of eagles today, but none really close enough for a good picture. Here's the best we do:

Today is Homer, Alaska Day for us. We have the bikes loaded on the truck and drive about 30 miles to the Homer Spit. At the outskirts of town is an overlook of the bay and the spit, but the most interesting thing to us is the volcanoe in the bay. There's smoke coming out of the top of it. We learn that it has been active for the past year or so and it's Mount Augustine. Since it's in the middle of the large bay, it doesn't pose a threat to land; however, there is a concern that the earthquakes and rock slides from it could cause a tsunami. I'm glad we're not camping on the edge of the bay and I'm starting to understand why there are campgrounds on the spit but no houses :-)

We drive down to the start of the Homer Spit Bike Trail, unload the bikes, and take off. It's 3.5 miles to the end of the spit.
We take our time biking to the end, where we have lunch on the patio of a restaurant. Homer is famous for halibut fishing so we have halibut for lunch and watch the fisherman on the shore, who appear to be catching flounders. The day is overcast so the view isn't perfect, but we enjoy the fresh air and mountains/glaciers across the bay.

After lunch we walk along the pebbled beach for about an hour, looking at the scenery, rocks, and birds, including an eagle perched on top of a condo. We bike & walk around town a little before biking back to the truck. The lupines along the bike trail are in full bloom and really pretty.

We stop at the National Wildlife & Refuge Visitor Center in Homer before heading home. Interesting museum and movie. We see more sand hill cranes in the pond below the visitors center. I am still fascinated by how large these birds are.

On the way home we see yet another moose. This one eating grass alongside the road.

After we get back, Jere and I take a walk down to the Ninilchik Beach to look for eagles. We see several of them, but none get very close to us. By the time we get back to the trailer it's starting to sprinkle rain again. At least most of the day was rain-free.

Posted by jengelman 13:11 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

More Rain for the Kenai Peninsula

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

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We wake up to the pitter patter of raindrops hitting the aluminum trailer roof. Unfortunately this rain will stay with us off and on til we arrive at our Ninilchik RV park later this afternoon. The drive is scenic today, but very few pictures of the mountain this morning due to the rain.

One highlight of the drive is a pair of cubs and a mama black bear that are climbing a tree. They are causing quite a traffic problem. We pull off at a parking lot down the street and walk back to see them. By that time we get back to see them they are honkered down in the tree for what appears to be a daytime nap. They must be at least 20 feet above the ground in the tree. Very cute.

I told Jere and Joe that I want a bear sculpure carved out of wood for my birthday, so we stop at Uncle Lloyds to look at their wood carvings. They have some great carvings. We will stop here again in a few days to make a final pick for a birthday present, when they have a better selection of carvings. They took about 50 of their carvings to Seward for the Mt Marathon July 4th Festival.

Part of our drive follows the Kenai River--the water color is a pretty blue-gray from the glaciers. It's 'claim to fame' is for salmon fishing. We see a few fisherman, but I think the hot salmon run arrives later in the month.

We also stop in Soldotna at their fish viewing boardwalk and visitor center. A few fisherman there, but no salmon to be found.

We arrive at Angler's Resort RV Park in late afternoon. The 3-day reservation that we made several weeks ago cannot be found, but they say 'not to worry' they will figure something out (they're full). So after 30 minutes or so they move one of their rental units and give us a site with full hookups. We had to wait awhile, but they did get us a site as quickly as possible with a smile on their face. I'm not sure that all RV parks would have done the same. In fact as I think back about some of the RV parks we've stayed at, I'm sure that some parks would have said, 'sorry, but we're full and can't do anything'.

We have TV and good wifi! It's been awhile since we watched TV--I miss it and am looking forward to watching the morning news shows tomorrow morning.

After dinner we drive down the road to the old Russian Orthodox church that overlooks the ocean. It no longer appears to be used as a church, but is very interesting to look at.

Then we walk along the Ninilchik Beach before calling it a day. Lots of seagulls and several eagles entertain us during our walk.

Posted by jengelman 13:41 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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