Monday, October 18, 2010

Alaska from the Back of the Bike, Day 10

Wednesday, June 30

Hiked to Russian River Falls, a 2.3 mile hike, where we watched the salmon jumping the falls. Absolutely astonishing! We hiked part of the way up with a friendly guy from Texas, enjoyed the conversation. Pretty scenery on the way back down the Skilak River Road, but it was gravel and pretty dusty…not Duane’s favorite type of surfacing on the motorcycle.

The blue sky came out in its full intensity, so we decided NOT to waste the beautiful afternoon and took another half day trip down to Homer, an artist community at literally the tip of Alaska on the Cook Inlet. Most of the days have been cloudy to partly cloudy most of the time, so you just don’t want to waste a bee-yoo-tee-full day! So off we go again.

Along the highway across the inlet, you can see the Ring of Fire volcanoes. Mt. ReDoubt and Mt. Eliamna are the closest. So incredible that God cleared it up for us, because this day is absolutely breath taking! You can see steam rising from the top of the volcanoes.

At Homer, we walked to the lands’ end and bent down and touched the ocean. Picked up a few rocks to bring home. They are black, like river rock, but they have a white stripe running through them.

A while back I decided to forgo the crummy tourist souvenirs and purchase something on a trip that helps us remember the adventure and is worth keeping. We usually decide on a piece of art, or pottery, or something like that. Our bed and breakfast had some whimsical Alaskan pictures that caught my eye, so I asked Dick about them. He said they were by a native Alaskan painter, Barbara Lavallee, and they had purchased them in Homer…so we went to an art gallery in search of some prints. Nabbed one, Tidepool Pals, and had it shipped home.

Dinner in Homer at Captain Pattys. Fresh grilled halibut and clam chowder. Mmmm… can’t get enough of this fresh halibut.

The way back was hazy. It is still daylight, you know, at 11 p.m., but we couldn’t see across the inlet at all. However, we began to see eagles riding the thermals and drifting above us, or simply nesting in trees. On the way home, we saw a Mama Moose, too. I smile as my head hits the pillow.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Alaska from the Back of the Bike, Day 9

Need to finish the last few days of my vacation log. Have been distracted for a few weeks, but here goes!

Tuesday, June 29

Breakfast at the Lodge. Then we prepared for our salmon fishing, bear watching experience. High Adventure, the outfitters we were going with, recommended bringing a sack lunch, so we stopped at a little sandwich shop and picked up a fully loaded box lunch with a little of everything included.

So we took a float plane over Double Glacier and Cook Inlet to Wolverine Creek to fish for sockeye salmon. The plane landed and pulled up to a flat bottom boat that was anchored to a patch of land in the water about the size of my sofa. We stepped off the plane, into the boat, and motored a little bit further into nowhere. Pulled up to a shallow, rocky creek that was emptying into the lake and threw out the anchor. It was very shallow, and you could see the salmon circling the boat and pooling up at the base of the creek. Nearing the end of their life cycle, they were preparing to swim back up the creek to lay their eggs and die.

Greg. our guide, was very good, and patient. He taught us how to salmon fish by simply throwing out the line and waiting for them to swim through it. (The best part was when they started to fight and splashed around everywhere trying to break the line!) He didn’t get flustered when the other couple in our boat nailed him in the nose with a hook or he had to dive into the water to catch their pole which fell in. I caught the first one fairly soon – about a 4 pounder. We caught our quota – 3 each- but managed to take the rest of the afternoon to do it. However, we ended up with 18.6 lbs of sockeye, which we took to get smoked. Yummmmmm.

While fishing,, a grizzly comes running downstream and dives in to the water after the fish. She was so skinny, you could tell she just recently un-hibernated, woke up, was starving, and trying to fatten herself back up. She hung around the creek all afternoon, occasionally diving in, occasionally actually catching a fish that was starting up the rocky, shallow creek. When the float plane came to pick us up, we flew low over the terrain on the way back. We saw a huge moose with a full rack of antlers, and several more bear. They almost looked like little animal figures someone planted down there for us to see. Hmmm…I wonder.

Oh Happy Day!