Thursday, July 29, 2010

July 29, 2010

We went to the visitors center and then to the fishwalk. They have several in town on the Kenai River. We watched people fishing and even saw a salmon caught. We drove to St. Elias Brewery and had a beer. When we returned the people from Utah with the Casita we talked to in Seward were in the Fred Meyers parking lot by us. We talked to them a while until it started to rain. They were headed to Anchorage and then to Valdez to meet their son to go fishing. It only rained for about 20 minutes and then stopped. I went into Fred Meyers to buy a couple of things and then we We to Kenai Brewery. We had a sample of all their beers and then Jim bought a liter of IPA in a flip top bottle to share with Phil when we meet them tomorrow at their property south of Soldatna.

July 28, 2010

We went to the Raven Bakery this morning and had coffee. I had a slice of fresh cherry coffee cake and Jim had an apple cinnamon roll. It was so much better than the famous cinnamon rolls we had in Canada. We waited for the museum to open to get a key to the St. Peter's Episcopal Church. It was built in 1906 and had a beautiful mural behind the pulpit painted by Dutch artist Jan van Emple titled "Ascension of Our Lord". Instead of Apostles, he painted Alaskan natives, a prospector, a trapper and a homesteader. It showed Jesus' resurrection set at Resurrection Bay instead of the Holy Land. He used local people for the faces. The church also had three beautiful stained glass windows which were really pretty. We hitched up and drove to Soldotna. After unhooking the trailer at Fred Meyers we drove to Kenai and went to the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Russian Orthodox Church and St. Nicholas Chapel. It was built in 1894-1895. The inside was closed to visitors because they were doing some structural renovation. We went inside the last time we were here. We drove to North Kenai and visited Kassik's Brewery. The owners Frank and Debra were really nice and gave us a tour. The Anchorage paper today said on the front page that this has been the eighth rainiest July on record. We have had only one really clear day this month. It seems to sprinkle or mist every day.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July 27, 2010

Jim paid bills this morning and we talked to the people next to us in a Casita from California. While we were outside talking to them a dolphin was in the water just behind the Casita. We drove to Exit Glacier and hiked the 2.1 mile round trip to the edge of it. They no longer allow you to get close enough to touch the glacier. There were a few workers making a new trail to be able to get a little closer. The glacier is receeding. It's called the exit glacier because it is an easy way for people who go to the Harding Ice Field to get back to solid ground. We drove the short road to Lowell Point to view Seward from across Resurrection Bay -- you can see our Casita in the picture. When we returned to the Casita there were 2 otters in the water just behind the Casita. A couple from Utah with a Liberty Casita stopped and talked to us for a while. His name on the Casita forum is Pooh Bear. We had good weather today, cloudy most of the time with periods of sun. At least no rain today and it got up to 63 degrees. We sat outside and watched people walk the path along the water and read our e-books. Another otter showed up in the early evening.

Monday, July 26, 2010

July 26, 2010

A cruise ship left the harbor this morning and blew its horn several times, waking us up. I wish I was on it! We went to town and walked through a few shops. I bought some material for making a quilt. Vicki and Lowell went to the library to get a wifi connection and when they returned they hooked up and left. We got their spot on the water side of the RV park. It is raining again today and about 51 degrees. We decided to go to the Kenai Fjords National Park Visitor's Center. We watched a movie about the Kenai Fjords. We walked around the harbor where the boats are kept and saw another cruise ship in port. We were going to the library to update the blog because the wifi is faster than using Jim's phone but the library was full with no place to sit. We went to Safeway for more groceries and then back to the Casita. When we returned an otter was just behind the Casita in the water and was eating either clams, oysters, mussels, or sea urchins. He kept going under and bringing up food. He floated on his back and ate using his tummy as a dinner table. We took a walk along the paved path that connects the waterfront city RV parks and took a picture of a bald eagle flying. These are about as common up here as buzzards are in Texas.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 25, 2010

We slept a little later this morning and it was raining when we got up and it has rained all day. The sound during the night sure made it easy to sleep with the rain on the Casita. Phil fixed eggs and hashbrowns with green chiles and link sausage. Jake cooked the sausage. I gave Phil ham steaks to grill. We all got hooked up and left camp. Phil, Mary, Jake and Hyatt were going to fish in Quartz Creek before going back to Anchorage. We left and drove to Seward. We picked out a campground (the City of Seward Iditerod Campground on Resurrection Bay) and when we got there Vicki and Lowell were there. We all went to the Alaska Sealife aquarium and saw the fish, seals, sea lions, and various sea life. They had a bird section with sea gulls, ducks and puffins. One puffin was really taking a bath and kept getting Vicki wet. We all decided to go eat at the Salmon Bake. Jim and I had salmon burgers with garlic butter rice. Yummy!! We went back to the Casita and caught the up the blog.

July 24, 2010

We got all set up this morning to go fishing with Phil, Mary and Jake in their boat down the Kenai River. It sprinkled off and on all day and the wind made it rather chilly. We stopped along the way and Phil made chicken fajitas on the grill in a nice protected spot alongside the river that he knew about. They were so good. Phil caught two Dolly Vardens and released them but Jim didn't catch anything. The salmon had not made it that far up the river yet and no one was catching any. We floated until around 5:00 and then went back to camp. We had a great time and the scenery was marvelous and we saw about seven bald eagles. Some fishermen shouted from the shore to be on the lookout for a grizly but we didn't see him. It was just about the place we saw two bears last time he took us down the river four years ago. The boat ramp was so crowded with people trying to get out that the whole shore was taken up and more still on the river coming. When we got to camp Phil started the fire again and his friend Hyatt came to camp. Phil grilled fillet mignon steaks for us and put potatoes in the fire to bake. I made a Nutter Butter Trifle.

July 23, 2010

We drove only 59 miles down the road to the Quartz Creek US Forest Service Campground. This campground is just before Cooper Landing. After setting up, we drove to town and bought Jim a fishing license to use tomorrow. On the way we passed the Sackett's Kenai Grill - Pizza. I went inside and talked to them since Sackett is my son's last name. They were originally from Fresno, California. Mary, Phil and Jake got to camp earlier than they thought. We shared the long camping spot. Phil and Mary had other friends in the campground also who had his boat. We made a campfire and sat outside and played dominoes.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

July 22, 2010

We left camp and drove about 50 miles down the road to the USFS Tenderfoot Creek Campground on Upper Summit Lake, still in the Chugach National Forest. This campground is a few miles before the Seward turnoff. We have site number 1 overlooking the lake. We decided to take a drive and went back about 10 miles to the Hope turnoff. At one of the pull offs we talked to a really nice couple from Belgium about beer and politics. We drove down to Hope and into the USFS Porcupine Campground. Vickie and Lowell stayed here a couple of nights. From there you could view the Turnagain Arm and its mud flats. This place has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world, and one of a few bodies of water that has a tidal bore (a tidal wave that travels against the current.) Turnagain Arm got its name from William Bligh (of Mutiny on the Bounty fame). He was Captain Cook's sailing master. In searching for a northwest passage Cook's ships sailed up the Cook Inlet and its two arms. The Knik Arm was found to end in a river, and when they discovered that the other inlet also led to a river they had to turn around again.

We went into the old town of Hope and went to Resurrection Creek where a lot of people were fishing for salmon. Most everyone had a stringer of fish. This is where Phil and Mary took us fishing last time we were up here and I caught a salmon. We had a couple of beers at Seaview Bar and talked to the fishermen. The bartender told us that the Chugach-Resurrection Pass Recreational Area was a place you could pan for gold. We tried again. I don't have any patience for it, just like trying to dig for diamonds in Arkansas. Too hard on the knees. We went back to camp and I fixed dinner.

July 21, 2010

We decided to stay here another night and went for a drive. We visited the Begisch-Boggs Visitor Center for the Chugach National Forest. This is at Portage Lake going toward Whittier. The view is the Portage and Burns Glaciers. The Portage Glacier in 1914 extended to the visitor's center. It has retreated severely. We called and made a reservation for the Alaska Railroad Discovery Train from Portage to Grandview and back. We saw fabulous scenery of mountains, glaciers, rivers and animals. We saw moose and a nesting bald eagle. We made a stop at Whistle Stop at the Spencer Glacier and took a walk. On the way back to camp we took pictures of the Explorer Glacier and Middle Glacier and went back to the Portage and Burns Glaciers. There is a trail by our camp called the Trail of Blue Ice and we took a walk on it. We didn't go the extra few miles to Whittier through the longest tunnel in the U.S. because we went there last time we were in Alaska in 2006. On that trip we took a ferry from Whittier to Valdez. We also took the 26 Glacier Tour from there.

July 20, 2010

We did a lot of preparations today getting ready to leave. We washed clothes, updated the blog, took showers, went to buy waterproof shoes (to wear on the boat this weekend), bought groceries and washed the Casita and Pathfinder. We left at 3 pm. Just after turning off of Mary and Phil's road, a cub and mother black bear went across in front of us. We went to dump and fill up with gas. We drove out of Anchorage on the Seward Highway and around Turnagain Arm. On the way we saw where houses around Portage had sunk and broken apart as a result of the 1964 earthquake. We decided to camp at Chugach National Forest Williwaw Campground on the Portage-Whittier Highway. After setting up camp Phil called and wanted to know if there was any excitement at his house before we left. The two bears had doubled back and broken into his trash storage shed, ripping out the back and strewing trash everywhere. We told him we had seen them but they were heading away from his house. The view from our site is of the Middle Glacier.