Porcupine Mountains, MI 2019

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Why we came to Alaska

We came to Alaska for the cooler weather, to see the wildlife and the scenery…
We took our time coming up through British Columbia, because we heard that June was a very wet month in Alaska, and the weather would be better in July and August.

It feels like it rained most of July.

We spent four days at small park called “Scenic View”, high above Cook’s Inlet. We know there is a good view. 

We got a short glimpse of it the day we arrived.

The top of one of the volcanos peaked out above the fog bank over the water for a few hours

This is the cliff at the back edge of Scenic View RV park. There was no beach access from the park, but we could have gone down another way. The curved beach is Clam Gulch. 

On Thursday we continued our journey by driving about 25 miles north to Soldotna. As I checked into the Best Western King Salmon Motel and RV Park, I mentioned how we had spent several days overlooking the Inlet, without seeing it.  The clerk said “Well, you won’t have that problem here.  We don’t have a view.”

Which was true. The RV spots in Soldotna were, like  many Alaskan RV parks, in a large parking lot, with gravel spots and just a bit of grass here and there between the rigs.

But, the sun did finally come out for a few days. We took advantage of the nicer weather by packing some lunch sandwiches and driving out to Captain Cook State Recreation Area,  the northern-most accessible park on the Kenai Peninsula. 

Can you have a Mackerel sky in Salmon country?

I had considered spending a few nights at the Discovery Campground in the Captain Cook SRA, but didn't trust the sunny weather to hold for the rest of the week. So we drove the Jeep up, and  enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine as we picnicked on a bluff overlooking the water that wasn't there. 

It reminded us of our time at the Bay of Fundy last year. The tide was out. Way out! We could not see any open water beyond the mud flats. Across the inlet we could see the snow capped mountain range that we had missed seeing at Scenic View.

While in Soldotna, Craig had time to replace the broken latch on our big bay door.

Days later, as we both looked at this picture, we did not know what Craig was doing. I think he dropped a screw or something in the grass! 
As you can see it is a full pass-through bay, that has doors on either side. Ever since the accident, if we needed something from this side, Craig would have to unpack it and crawl through from the other side. Needless to say, this was no fun. We had ordered a new latch by mail, a few weeks ago, but we waited for the weather to clear before doing the job. 

Our next stop was in Coopers Landing, just 45 miles up the road.
With the nicer weather, we were looking for some outdoor fun.  

The Kenai River rafting trips offered by Alaska Wildland Adventures sounded good. Unfortunately we were not able to get seats on their seven hour River Canyon trip, but were able to get onto the shorter "casual 2-hour Scenic Float".

I wasn't sure what we were getting into when we donned the rain gear they provided.

It did turn out to be a bit of "overkill" for the gentle ride we took down the Kenai River.

Each raft carried twelve passengers and one guide. He controlled the oars and told us about the river and the wildlife in the area.

Rivers and lakes that are fed by melting glaciers have an opaque blue to jade coloring. This is caused by the light refraction on the suspension of fine rock dust in the water. Near the source glacier the water is cloudy.

The river was running quite quickly. Not exactly white water, but a bit bouncy at times. Our sister raft was way ahead of us here.

This rock cliff was colored by patches of orange lichen. It grows where there is a lot of nitrogen. Eagles like to sit on the top of it, and nitrogen from their droppings seeps through the cracks of the rock. 

Speaking of eagles, they, along with a few ducks, were the only wildlife we saw. But we enjoyed every one.

The adult eagle had part of a salmon. The juvenile behind her was also tearing into the red flesh of the fish. The magpie was waiting for leftovers.

Eagles do not get their characteristic white head and white tail until they reach maturity at age four or five. This guy seemed to be working on his grooming. If you look carefully, you can see one of his feathers floating down below him.

And, of course, we saw many of them flying above the river looking for fish.  Based on the number we saw in the trees, they were having a good day of it.

All in all, it was a very pleasant day. I have never rafted before, and maybe next time we will be able to ride some rapids.

We came to Alaska for the cooler weather, to see the wildlife and the scenery…  We are not disappointed.


  1. You have been doing a wonderful tour we have been enjoying your photos too.

  2. Did you pack and unpack craig every night or just in the morning. LoL. We enjoyed our time rafting, our trip was just us 2, and the guide, as it was raining. But we got within 6 Ft. of a Grizzly feeding

  3. Wonderful. You are both so good at making every experience (even the rain) into the best they can be.

  4. Just getting caught up on blog reading. Sounds like you're having quite the adventure in AK, your posts are bringing back some great memories of our trip last summer.


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