On our last day in Palmer, we met up with several friends… some we’ve known for a while, some just that day! We hiked up The Bluffs and had a fabulous view. The wind was pretty wild up there!
After our hike, we all had a light dinner…
The area around our campsite was awesomely gorgeous!
When we set up camp at our next desination, Cherryl swept the floor, and handed me three little round buttons. I recognized them as being from our Sleep Number bed controller! Ouch! It fell off my “nightstand” and got caught in the bedroom slide… and was transformed it into a good number of pieces. I had a glimmer of hope when I saw the circuit board looked intact… I was able to put all the puzzle pieces together and we now have a perfectly functional remote again!
Next stop was Soldotna. This is on the Kenai Peninsula, and there is a lot of Russian influence here. The U.S. bought Alaska from the Russians in 1867 for a bit over 7 million dollars. Many towns have Russian names, and there are lots of Russian churches scattered around.
In Soldotna there is a heritage area where there are several cabins that display different building techniques. They were built in Gold Rush days and moved to this area. It was fun to see how folks survived in this rugged country, and how interesting the school was.
Down by the river is a nice boardwalk… for some reason it smells pretty fishy by the water! The walk up higher from the water was especially pretty.
There is a fence along the trail to keep folks from shortcutting down to the river. But there are gaps for Moose to get through! All of Alaska seems to try hard not to interfere with animals.
The Kenai peninsula extends south and west of Anchorage. There is also a town of that name, with a nice visitor center and a nice old Russian Church. They still use it, and in fact they were having a funeral while we were there, so you don’t get any pictures.
Between the town of Kenai and Soldotna is another cute little Russian church. We couldn’t get in, but we enjoyed the gorgeous surroundings.
Homer is at the bottom of the Kenai Peninsula. It’s about as far west as you can go in Alaska. Homer spit is an extension of land reaches out into the bay. It was originally a natural land mass, but during a huge earthquake it sank 8 or 10 feet, and was rebuilt by hand. It is a harbor for tons of boats, and location for even more crazy little shops. I could hardly wait to get to Homer so I could tell my longtime great friend, Bob Homer, that I was in his namesake town. Thanks, Bob, for leaving us such a cute town!
Our campground was not right on the spit, but a couple of miles up the coast. Right on the beach. Fantastic!
Millions of rocks are on the beach, and most of them are covered with that many million more barnacles. They almost look like little flowers!
We took a nature viewing boat from Homer out to Gull Island, then on to Seldovia on the other side of the bay. Gull Island is home to a couple million Black Legged Kittiwakes, lots of Cormorants, and plenty of Tufted Puffins. Great fun to see them! We also saw lots of Bald Eagles.
The Sea Otters were fun to watch. They often float along on their backs, using their tummy as a table and watching the world go by.
Below on the left you can see Elephant Rock. Our guide said that as we pass it, it will raise its trunk. I didn’t believe it… but then I saw it!
Humpback Whales were the stars of the trip. We saw several… some just the spouts in the distance, but some much closer.
This is a very tiny town, again with the Russian name. I don’t believe it is accessible by roads. There are tourist shops on the main street, a hotel (or two?), and a nice looking school. Houses are hidden in the dense forest.
The “Otter Bahn” is a trail which leads through the forest to a beach on the other side of the peninsula. It was recommended for birding, but while we saw beautiful scenery, we saw few birds. Or NO birds. But a great hike…
On the way back to Homer we saw whales up closer. Here is a little sequence of a whale showing off his tail fluke.