Saturday, July 26, 2008

Alaska '08 Day 37, Sterling to Homer

Fri July 18, 2008

Sterling to Homer

We want to get down to Homer early before all the beach spots are taken in the city campground by weekenders so we headed out at 7:00.

We stopped at The Moose is Loose bakery at the Soldotna Y (across from the city fishing park). We got a moose snack (a frosted/glazed donut about 10" in diameter) and a 10" tall maple frosted glazed donut ginger bread man. The biggest donuts I have ever seen!

We saw lots of moose (5) just after Soldotna. We saw a cow with twins and had a cow moose run out across the road in front of the camper.

Just after the Soldotna Y the road rises and we could see Mount Redoubt. We had a beautiful clear day and all along there were views out across Cook Inlet to the 3 volcanoes; Mount Redoubt, Mount Iliamna, Mount Augustine.

We hit the city campground (Mariner's Campground) before lunch. Mariner's is the first campground on the spit (Cook Inlet side) and has great views across toward Seldovia. We were able to get 2 sites right next to each other.

We visited the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Visitors' Center. This is probably the largest and nicest NWR visitors' center I have seen, better than even Ding Darling in Florida. We hit it just right, they had a kids discovery lab that was open a couple days a week and it was open when we were there. They had a classroom lab, 8 tables with different subject staffed by a volunteer. They had projects and a couple fish tanks, the kids really liked this.

We walked the slough trail behind the visitors' center. It is really short and goes through the slough down to Bishop's Beach. There were about 20 sandhill cranes back in the slough. I saw a couple dancing around, flapping their wings, and squaking and one even picked up a stick and threw it at another. I found out later this is a common mating ritual with sandhills. We walked out onto Bishops Beach, they say at low tide there are tide pools here, it was high tide. We'll come back here when the tide is low (there are some good minus tides, really low, while we are here).

The kids and I walked the beach out in front of the campground looking for tide pools. We found some ponds in amongst some gravel patches that had anemones and hermit crabs. Lots of eagles on the beach.

Mike asked around at the spit bait store and there are no silvers in yet, we had hoped they would be around so we could fish off the beach. There are people fishing the hole but no one is catching anything.

80 miles today.

5797 miles so far.

- Jon


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