Wednesday, April 16, 2008


August 2005
8 days isn't nearly enough, but a lifetime probably wouldn't be either. In totality, Alaska is the most beautiful place I have ever been. Well, actually now that I write that I feel like I'm taking something away from NZ, Fiji, Norway, MT, and WA. Since I really enjoy many/certain places within those and I would actually consider as beautiful, but this is about AK.
I was only on the Kenai Peninsula, didn't make it inland, that will be next trip.
The trippers: Myself, My Dad, My buddy Ben from MT, My Dad's and my buddy Mike V. also from MT.
Transportation: 22 ft motor home, loaded with food, beer, fishing poles, 1 BF net (for netting BF fish, relatively speaking) and the AK gazateer.
Route: Anchorage to Soldatna. Soldatna to Homer. Homer back to Soldotna. Soldotna to Kenai. Kenai to Soldotna to Seward.
Of course there were stops for fishing and tourist type activities. And that was over several days.
Nights: Most of our nights were spent in a nice little camp ground near the confluence of the Crooked Creek and the Kasilof R.
Notable happenings in the campground: only 1, and that was a young moose who walked within 5 feet of our camper one night. No pictures, but I happened to get this on video. He actually hung out there for several minutes and then moved on into the woods.
Most of the fishing we did was on the Kasilof R. and some on the Russian R.
Notable fishing experiences: 3 come to mind right off.
1) The first was when Ben and I met a Soldotna local who took us to his honey hole - "where the locals go". It was fun to sit with him and talk about life in a small relatively removed Ak town (not even close to removed as far as AK is concerned, but coming from the lower 48, removed enough). I caught my first and only Dolly Varden because of him and his fishing spot.
2) The second would be the day that we did go out with a guide on the Kasilof. We were fishing for Silvers since the King season was over, even though we weren't fishing for the Kings we caught several and realeased them back of course - it was incredible how big these fish were. Absolutely amazing to realize that they were only days at most from dying and they still had so much power. They were a beautiful red like no other I have seen in nature and within the azure blue of a glacial river, which was also a color I have never seen in nature (it was close to that which you see in caribbean waters, but not quite the same).
3) The day we got into the Reds and the Humpys (yes, this is a type of salmon). The best day of fishing we had was this day, which I will post pictures of in a bit. Again it was only because of a local who showed me what to use and how to use it that we limited out within hours, with 10lb + fish. There is no doubt in my mind I could have stood on that shore all day long and cought 1 fish after another, but there is a limit and I'm also ethical - so, I happily ended my day with what I was allowed.
About the towns:
Anchorage. I was only in Anchorage for about 14 hours (over the course of 2 days). My genereal perception of it the 2 days that I was there is that it was overcast and rainy (which I actually like when I know the mountains are near by), next to the ocean which I also like a lot, and when the clouds broke the view of the surrounding peaks was incredible, and of course it's proximity to all the outdoor possibilities is awesome. All that being said I could easily live there and given the right opportunity - my bags would be packed in a second.
Soldotna. This is a great little town for the sportsman, cause as far as I could tell there isn't much else for someone to do. The Kasilof runs right through town, so you could easily ride your bike to some of the best fishing anywhere.
Kenai. Maybe it was because we hadn't been fishing yet that day. Maybe it was becuase it seemed like we were in an area flatter than Fargo. Or maybe it was knowing that we were going to have to back track the same highway for the next couple hours to get to the fishing. I don't know, but all I could think of when I finally got to this town was I couldn't get the hell out of there. I still wouldn't care if I never made it back to visit.
Homer. Very nice looking town and a great view of Glaciers across the Bay. Knowing how inaccessible the other side is makes it even more impressive. There is a neat little area out in the bay that you drive out onto. Lots of people fishing there and charters available for Halibut (the real big fish) if desired. We didn't go on any charters. Possibly the best part about Homer is drive going to Homer, I can't remember exactly how many miles before - maybe about 10 and all the way in, everywhere you look is a postcard view. Absolutely beautiful. Flowers all around. Flowers of all sorts of colors, dramatic mountains with panoramic views.
Seward. There was something about Seward and that day and a half I was there that I hope never leaves my mind. It was amazing. For starters the wind and rain were unbelievable. Incredibly strong, it was equivalent to the power of a prairie thunderstorm and being right next to the water and mile 0 of the Iditarod, which is where the little RV parking area is, was almost like a sensory overload. It was one of those moments when you are standing somewhere so out of your realm, almost out of body and wonder where am I, I can't believe this place exists.
The surrounding glacial peaks are incredible, the atmosphere of the town is very touristy, but that wouldn't bother me a bit. I would absolutely love to live in Seward mainly because of its beauty (both the geologic and character) and its proximity to the amazing hunting and fishing. All that it would take for me to go to Seward would be for my wife to give the OK and I would be there.
Thats enough, if I haven't bored you to death already. I hope you found it enjoyable and I guess I will have to post the pictures tomorrow, as I cannot access them right now. Sorry.

No comments: