Our fifth wheel and the truck

Thursday, July 19, 2012

So much to do and so little time!!!!!

Where do I start?? It has been over a week since we left Denali and we have just done so much and been to so many fantastic places!

From Denali we moved down to Trapper Creek for two nights and spent a lovely day in Talkeetna. This is a lovely little historic town and we visited on a Saturday so it was really buzzing with the open markets and shops and lots of tourists (not always a good thing except of course if you live there!).

One of the cute painted moose scattered all over Talkeetna.

We watched a movie about one of the bush pilots from Talkeetna. Don Sheldon was not from Alaska but made his home in Talkeetna and made some absolutely mind blowing rescues of climbers off Mt Denali. In places where, by rights, no one in their right mind would land a plane let alone try to take off!

After we left Trapper Creek we drove down to Anchorage and spent some time there. We had a quiet day wandering around downtown Anchorage, saw a movie about how Jimmy Carter changed so much of Alaska to National Parks, gave so much to the Native Americans and made much of it into public lands. There were some very unhappy people around when he did it but it seems that many have come around now - probably because of the finance that is injected into the state with tourist money. We also saw another movie about the earthquake of 1964. Wow!! the devastation and loss of life and property was amazing. It is the strongest earthquake registered on the North American continent.

The next day Jim, Jan, Norm and I took a long drive down to Girdwood and took the gondola up to the top of Alyeska Mountain which was just the most stunning scenery especially with the tide out in Cook Inlet. When the tide comes in to the Inlet it can come in, in a six foot wave! Most of the inlet is covered with very fine silt when the tide is out and you don’t want to walk on it. Apparently it is like quicksand!!!

Jim and Norm being themselves up on Alyeska!!!!

Continuing down the peninsula we then went to Whittier through a 2.5 mile long, single lane tunnel!!! The traffic traveling east uses the tunnel at half past the hour for 15 minutes and the west bound traffic goes through on the hour for 15 minutes. This allows the trains to use the tunnel for half an hour out of every hour. So as you drive through not only are you worried about the rock walls right next to your truck but you also have to try to keep the truck off the rail lines. Interesting to say the least. Needless to say we didn’t have the rv on the back of the truck!!

This is the entrance to the tunnel.

The weather on one side of the tunnel was a bit overcast but not too bad but when we got through the tunnel the mountains had created a totally different weather on the Whittier side. Cold, wet and foggy!!! And we were going on a cruise to see glaciers!!!!!

One of the waterfalls we saw on our glacier cruise.  The water is that colour because of the glaciers that empty into Prince William Sound.

But…. Norm and I had decided a long time ago that we weren’t going to let a bit of rain spoil what we did so we all piled on the catamaran and took off for four hours in the freezing cold. Our table was by the window so we had a good view of a rain spattered window so unless we went outside we couldn’t get any decent photos. It was so cold outside that eventually I went and bought a pair of gloves just so my fingers wouldn’t be frozen.

Jan and I spent most of our time outside on the deck of the boat and got some wonderful photos of waterfalls, harbour seals, sea otters, glaciers and small icebergs. The blokes spent most of the time inside in the warm! We saw six glaciers and got quite close to some of them. Interesting that four of them are named after colleges in Wisconsin - Marquette, Beloit and two more I can’t remember off the top of my head.


Amazing glaciers in Prince William Sound, Whittier.

A harbour seal on an ice float just off the glaciers.

Amazing light on Cook Sound.

We just loved the cruise and even saw bald eagles although we couldn’t get as up close and personal as I would like - next time maybe!!!

Kenai was our next stop and Jan had booked us into a cute little rv park with only 12 spaces but it was so nice. Really neat and tidy with flower pots on the picnic tables.

Our first night there we took a drive down to Ninilchik where Steve and Nancy were staying with other family members and had dinner with them. Well! Let me tell you - there isn’t much that can beat the taste of fresh (caught that day) halibut cooked by Ed. It was absolutely delicious and is now one of my favourite fish. And then after dinner witting around Steve’s campfire swapping fish stories. What a wonderful evening. Thank you guys.

On the way home from dinner this moose was standing on the side of the road.

Next day we went to the visitors’ centre and watched a movie then took a walking tour around the town which was a bit disappointing except for the Russian Orthodox Church. the cemetery and the ‘dip net’ fishermen/women/kids!

Dip net fishing is where you have a huge net attached to a large round piece of aluminium on a long aluminium pole. The fisher-people then put on waders and wade into the freezing water and just push the net out as far as they can and wait for it to wiggle a bit. Then they flip it so the salmon can’t get out, drag it to the shore, bang the salmon on the head with a mallet to kill it, clip the tail (legal requirement) and then gut and clean it then and there on the shore. Alaskans are allowed to catch 25 salmon for the head of the household and then 10 fish for each other member of the family. So with three kids a family can catch 55 salmon - probably a year’s supply of salmon dinners!

All those blobs in the water are people up to their armpits in the freezing water waiting to catch salmon with their dip nets.

A bald eagle on a nest.

Since our arrival in Anchorage we have been impressed by the absence of the mosquitoes. Mind you, I have a new name for them now - moosquitoes - because some of them are nearly as big as a moose!!!!!

Our next destination after Kenai was Homer where we stayed for two nights. On our arrival we set up then took a walk down into the town and then a drive out onto the spit which is four miles long and is a real tourist destination. There are rv parks all along it with a hotel right out on the end. Shops everywhere and every second shop just about was a fishing charter business.

After a great deal of thought, and not wanting to miss out on something I had been soooo looking forward to, I decided to go on one of the fishing charters. I really wanted to, especially after having eaten it the other night, so, I booked to go on a half day trip. The limit was two halibut per person and I had to buy an Alaskan fishing license for just one day. Having had no experience with halibut fishing I was a bit anxious about whether or not I would catch anything but made sure that I had plenty of room in the freezer - just in case!!! Wishful thinking or doubtful hoping!!!!

So, the next day, after making sure I was suitably attired, Norm, Jim and Jan took me down to the charter place on the spit. We sorted out my license and got myself aboard the M/V Jackpot. We took a 1.5 hour boat ride out to the fishing site. Lucky for us it wasn’t rough and not much swell so no one got sick on the way out. Arriving at the ‘spot’ we were all given a talk on how things would work. Our lines were already baited with a large, very heavy, lead sinker on it so here I go! Drop the line over the side of the boat and watch it unreel, and unreel and unreel and unreel. No one said we were in 250ft deep water!!!! Easy peasy letting it out but let me tell you - winding that line in with a 10-15lb halibut on the end is HARD work!!!!! And how do I know that you may ask???? Well I caught my two and they were amongst the biggest on the boat so I was feeling pretty chuffed with myself.

Yours truly with her two halibut!!  Woo Hoo!!

Once everyone has their halibut and we start back towards the spit the guys on the boat fillet all the fish and put it in bags for each fisher-person. The seagulls are obviously very familiar with the process because there were so many behind the boat waiting for the carcasses that were being tossed over as we went along.

Back on dry land and met by the gang we went to a restaurant and guess what we all had for dinner - yep halibut!!!! Then it was back to the rv to cut up the fish and put it into the freezer ready for our first home cooked halibut dinner!!!! Can’t wait!!!!

While I was out fishing the others had gone for a hike and Norm and Jan had ended up wetter than I had out on the water!! They had both stepped in a bog out on their hike. Also, they found all the moosquitoes that we had been missing - lucky me! no moosquitoes out on the water!!!

This morning we are on the move again - this time down to Seward so until next time - take care one and all. Love to family and friends.

Ooroo for now!

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