We were in Homer for about 10 days and in Kenai for a couple days. Kenai Alaska,
located on the Kenai Peninsula is about an hour and a half drive from Homer. The Kenai River is what has made this town and it's neighboring town of Soldotna famous. The Kenai river, in the summer months, is a rip roaring huge river of the most beautiful blue green water you'll ever see. I've never seen a river with a color like this river has. Some of the best and biggest Salmon ever caught have been caught on this river. In fact, the world record of the largest salmon ever caught was caught on this river. The King Salmon weighed in at 97.4 pounds and was caught by Les Anderson in 1985. Les Anderson owned the Ford dealership in Kenai and I got to meet him myself when I was about 12 years old. My eyes were big and round while listening to him tell me about the fish he had caught. All I remember
was that it took hours and he had to go into the river to keep from being spooled by the monster of a fish. During the month of July 50,000 - 80,000 King Salmon swim their way up the Kenai River in search of their spawning grounds. If you are so lucky to catch the next world record, and if you went and bought your derby ticket earlier that day you win $50,000. Pretty exciting.
Homer was much more peaceful and relaxing than Kenai. All the dip netters were in Kenai the weekend we went trying to catch their fish limit. Alaska residents are allowed to catch a certain amount of salmon per person which they catch using huge handheld nets and I think the whole state was in Kenai. The nets seem to be about 6-8 feet long and the opening to the net seems to be about 3 feet across.
You can pretty much figure if you see a truck or boat with a big dip net on it, that they are Alaska residents as they are the only ones who can catch their fish this way that I know of. I was anxious to get back to the quiet beach house back in Homer. We stayed at our friends house on the Kenai River for one night, caught a couple fish in the river and went home. The fish were pretty quiet the day we fished the river. I suspect the fish were all getting caught by the dip netters getting their allocation of fish down stream. It was nice to get back to Homer and away from all the chaos.
Back in Homer we took an afternoon to go over to a little place called Halibut Cove. Halibut Cove is only accessible by boat or plane. The boat ride is about 30 minutes from the Homer Harbor on a calm day. We took our husky dory out for a trip.
This was mostly to take some pictures and to show Darren the infamous Halibut Cove. The best part about visiting Halibut Cove in my opinion is the view as you are floating into the cove. The homes and cabins all whisper mystery to me. You can see the rickety wooden steps coming down the sheer rock faces to their little docks where they have or have had their boats tied up. Trees surround each of the cabins giving each place the look of seduction and adventure. What more could a girl want? Mystery. Seduction. Adventure. Perfect. My kind of place.
A boardwalk connects most of the homes and you are welcome to walk down in it during a certain time of the day. I suppose the boardwalks are all privately owned and
not just anyone is welcome to walk along them at any time of the day. The boardwalk leads you past some homes, little pastures, and into artist galleries. Luckily we showed up during the time it was "okay" to walk on the boardwalks. We spent about 45 minutes taking pictures and wandering around. We
ventured into a couple art galleries, smiled at some of the locals, one man said it was a waste to have so many young people just wandering about and not working. ... that's nice, badger the young tourists who may spend money about not working. We all smiled and walked by. For all he knew, we didn't speak English as there are many foreigners visiting.
We took the boat out a couple more days, and did some fishing. We caught a lot of fish but they were all "junk" fish for the most part. We caught lots of Irish Lords. Irish Lords are one of the ugliest fish ever. They have this huge open mouth and big ugly bulgy eyes with a little meatless narrow body. We must have caught 30 or 40 of these. We also caught some flounder and sole and some baby halibut that were just too cute to eat. It was fun though. It was nice to be out in the ocean, land in sight of course since we were in such a small boat, but out in our own little space of peace and quiet with the boat bobbing beneath us, the birds flying by and relaxing. It was cold though. Don't think for a minute we were out in shorts and t-shirts. We all had our Under Armor on with several layers of clothing
complete with hats and gloves. It is always a lot cooler on the water than on land. We saw lots of otters floating around on their backs with rock in one paw and shell in other, floating, calculating our distance from them and then all at once rolling over quickly and diving down. It made me wonder if they dropped their rock and meal or if they still held onto it once they rolled and dove. We explored up China Poot Bay another day. China Poot held more mystery, seduction and adventure in it's
scenery than Halibut Cove did. We didn't spend much time there. There weren't any fish biting and it was much more secluded and private feeling so there weren't any
boardwalks to walk down which was okay. I preferred viewing from the ocean anyway. I don't know the history as to why it's called China Poot, but the main mountain you see that looks just like a volcano is called Poot Peak. I would like to climb that mountain one day. There's a funny ledge that pokes out on one side, you can see it in the photos. I want to stand on the edge of that ledge and look out over the wilderness. One day maybe I will.
I loved going down to the beach. We all went down a couple times and Darren and I
went a couple extra times. I liked looking for treasures on the beach. Nobody was on our beach. It was all private beach, no public access. Just private owners all along it so it made for all sorts of things to be found and lots of peace and quiet. The tide swings in Homer are huge so you have to watch the tide and know when it's time to go so you
don't get stranded somewhere against a cliff when the ocean rolls back in. Kenai loved the beach. She loved all the sticks and the water. She is such a funny dog. If you tell Kenai to get something, she will get it. She will attack it. Stick, rock, clam, sand... whatever. You can point to the ground and say, "get it!" and she will dig and dig looking for whatever she is "getting" all while growling and barking her aggravation at trying to get it. Silly girl. I think the beach was Kenai's favorite part.
By the time it was our last day to take the boat out, we all had pretty well learned what our jobs were when putting the boat in or pulling the boat out of water.
My job was to collect the launch fee, fill out the little paper and put it with the money in the lock box then to run down to the dock where my father was launching the boat in and hold onto a line. Darrens job was to undo the line and crank that held the boat on the trailer and to hold a line once on the dock as well. My sisters jobs included bringing down the gear, loading boat, undoing the string on the steering wheel that kept the motor from twisting sideways and to assist in keeping other boats from bumping into us by pushing them away from us. It was really fun. We all had our jobs.
We all had found our place and without each other it would have been more difficult. It was fun to work as a team.
The moose came to visit again the day before we left. Kenai regularly barked at the moving brush in the night. She knew the moose were there, I'm sure she could smell them. I couldn't see them or smell them but I trusted what Kenai knew was true. It was surprising to see how much larger the moose calves had already gotten since when we had arrived. They looked like stout ponies you could ride. The mother moose was still very annoyed that we had moved into her space and made sure to let us and the dog know this. I told mama moose that she would have the yard all to herself again in just another day. I don't think she understood me.
Mama moose and the calves explored the area around the trucks and boat. Mama moose nibbled on my truck antenna and the calves licked the salt off the boat motor. Finally they decided to move on again. I figured this would be the last time I saw the trio as our time in Homer was ending the next day. It was kind of sad.
The day to leave came all to fast as it always seems to come when you're on vacation in a place you really love. Cassie, Darren and I went to some garage sales and stopped up on the ridge for some pictures of both the ocean and of the wilderness on the other side of the ridge. The fireweed was in full bloom by now and it moved like purple waves across the open meadows. It was truly beautiful. I decided then that I wanted to paint what I saw. It is on my to do list.
We got back to the cabin, shut her all down and we all said goodbye to the cozy little beach house. It was kind of sad to leave it. She was sitting there, like as though she was happy to have someone come stay in her and then sad that she would be all alone again. Just her and the moose for the fall, the winter and the spring until next summer when we would all be bustling about her and relaxing all in one. Does that make sense? To me it does.
We put the boat away, put the truck away, positioned the Bronco until our next arrival. Luggage was dragged from the house, down the steps to my truck. Sleeping bags, totes, found beach and garage sale treasures carefully organized and stacked to the ceiling of the truck shell. Kenai was sad. She looked at us when we told her to get in the truck and then looked around, like as though asking us if this was it. Her eyes asked, are we coming back? Come on Kenai, time to go. I think she knew and she reluctantly jumped in the truck and went in her crate.
The drive into Anchorage was sad too. We all knew our trip and adventure that we had been enjoying all together was coming to an end. This was it, the end of the trip. As with every vacation, you have to go back to reality at some point. At least for Darren and I, we still had a week of adventure to go but I thought about how quiet it would be.
There had been six of us staying in a two bedroom beach house with one in operation sink and two toilets. I had gotten to know my sisters more so in those 10 or so days than I had in the last 5 years. Being that we don't live together, it was surprising how much we had all missed out on. Experiences had been shared, stories had been shared and I grew to love my sisters even more.
Advice, thoughts and dreams had been shared and I knew none of us would ever forget this trip. That one summer in Alaska when dad went with his four girls. That trip when we were all young, that trip when we all learned something about ourselves and each other. The trip where we all gave each other nicknames. The trip we would always remember. We all had grown closer and we all knew it. I couldn't think about all of this at the time. I knew it, but couldn't think about it. I can't be seen crying. I'm the oldest, I am to be the strongest. I focused on the rest of the trip Darren and I still had ahead of us. We all hugged, wished each other safe trips and they walked through the airport doors and they were gone.
Thanks for reading, more to come.