Thursday, July 26, 2012

Homer, AK

Friday, July 20, 2012
We had to take a short side trip on the way to Homer. Anchor Point is as far west in the U.S. that you can get to by car or RV.
On the beach there, these birds wanted the eagle to share...
"Um, no..."
And we have arrived in Homer, which is known for its Halibut fishing, among other things.
This is the overlook before you go down into Homer. It was too cloudy to make out everything on the map, but it was still a nice view.
We could see Homer "Spit," where we'll be camping while here.
Zoomed on the end of the Spit.
We camped at Castaway Campground overlooking Cook Inlet. I am enjoying the luxury of electricity without generator for a few days.
The campground owners live in this RV, converted from a bus. There's a tiny deck on the back.
In addition to all the RVs camping on the Spit, there is some creative tenting going on too. This person built a wind break for his tent.
Teepee-style tent, made with poles and tarp.
Some interesting and colorful things wash up from the sea.

Herschel thinks a salt-water dip would be good for his skin.
Followed by a roll on the stones.
Barnacles on rocks.

The for all ages to explore.
We toured the end of the Spit, starting with the tip, where we ate lunch. We decided if we start here, we could eat our way back up the Spit during our stay.
The food was great. Tina bought this seafood appetizer for us all to share. None was leftover.
 I had a tasty salmon & scallop burger.
Eating with a view of the bay.
 After lunch we walked around and did a little shopping. First we checked out the Boat Harbor. My mission from Jennifer was to look for the Time Bandit, Deadliest Catch crab boat, that harbors here. Found out later that it is out fishing in Bristol Bay, and won't be back until mid August.
 Saw another converted bus parked by the harbor.
 Nan tried on a few hats.

 Next we hunted down the Time Bandit store to buy Jennifer a T-shirt.
 Me, posing inside a crab pot.
 Birdie took us here...she had already discovered this place before we got here.
 Inside, I discovered "Death by Chocolate." It was so rich it took me two days to eat it. Time to go back, I think. I'm not dead yet.
On Saturday, Birdie and I went on a guided hike through the estuary at Islands and Oceans Wildlife Refuge.
Outside the Visitor's Center.
Lupine are growing wild everywhere.
Another purple wildflower...forgot its name.
The estuary....where fresh water meets saltwater.
There are two families of sandhill cranes here raising their young.
I learned that these are tsunami warning poles.
Glacier across Kachemak Bay.
After the tour we walked on the beach. There were two painters out working.
He was painting the bluff.
A woman was painting the bay at low tide.
What she was looking at.
The bluff.
Ripples in the sand at low tide.
A boy and his dog.

We walked around the tide pools awhile. Heard there was an octopus out here, but we didn't find it.
We were near Two Sisters Bakery went there for lunch. The Fish Chowder was good, and I resisted the chocolate. This dog was waiting patiently for his owner.
Walking back through the estuary we watched the cranes for awhile. We learned that the babies are called "colts."
This pair has two colts. We were told the rust color of their feathers comes from staining of the feathers by the tannic colored mud. 
The huge boulder by the Visitor Center is an erratic...left by the glacier that formed this bay.
Across from the Post Office is an eagle nest with two fledglings. This one was practicing for his first flight.
In another part of town these two adult eagles appear to be rebuilding or remodeling their nest.
The clouds cleared away and across the bay we can see the steam from one of the volcanoes...Mount Augustine
Otters are playing in the bay in front of our RVs.
And fish are jumping.

I think this was our first real sunset while in Alaska. It was about 10 p.m. 
It was so nice to see the sun again, that I took several pictures. 
 Ok, that's all.
 Stayed up late...the wildlife seemed to appreciate the sun too. Otters were eating,
 Loons were swimming and diving for fish.
 And then the moon came up catching the last orange glow from the sun's rays.
 On Sunday Tina and Nan left Homer in pursuit of other adventures in the newfound sunshine. Birdie and I are staying for an upcoming adventure of our own on Friday. On Sunday we went hiking and Geocaching.
 The Homestead Trail starts out on the ridge above Homer Spit.
 We walked among an array of wildflowers.
 Cones on the Spruce trees.

 Birdie on the trail.
 A view of Kachemak Bay.
 Just another pretty view from the trail.
 Fields and fields of lupines.
 We turned around here....figured out we needed to hike the other way to the geocache.
You can see how tall some of the wildflowers are. The white ones are Pootschki (push-key), also called Cow Parsnip. Skin contact can result in painful blisters which is intensified by the sun. So be careful not to touch.
 Not sure what this one is called.
 A little birding along the trail. This is a Gray Jay.
 This is the part of the trail with the geocache.
 It has great views too. The trail goes through a field of Fireweed which is not blooming yet. Imagine a riot of pink surrounding a few weeks it will be so.
 We can see another volcano from here....Mt. Redoubt. It last erupted in 2009 a few months before I was here. I got pictures then of steam still rising.
 A cabin with a  mountain view.
 We never found that geocache, but on the way back we drove along Skyline Drive for this view overlooking Homer Spit. 
 And a view of the glaciers in the Harding Icefield.
 Out by the airport we found another geocache....and this White-winged Crossbill.
 Wetlands near the airport.
 Colorful channel markers waiting to be deployed in the bay.
 Took this photo of the Fishermen's Dock on another geocache quest. Sometimes looking for geocaches brings you to interesting and beautiful places.
 Where cargo is loaded and unloaded from big boats.
 A cute little shop with a cute little name.
 Stopped by the Seafarers Memorial. The bell on the right says "the bell tolls for all the souls set free in the sea."

 Names of the lost, dates, and vessels are recorded.

 A poem describing the sea and its dangers.
 It was time for lunch. Mine was baked halibut.
 From our table we could watch the beach.
 This loon just caught his lunch.
 After lunch we stopped at the fishing hole for yet another geocache find. 
 The fishing hole is a protected area of calm water where anyone with a license can fish.
 And Birdie spotted the Black-legged Kittiwakes fishing here without a license.


  1. Looks like you have a great week coming up judging by what you have already seen. This was a fantastic post. Enjoyed all the photos.