Saturday, July 18, 2015

Homer Day

Kinda looks a little like Mt. Hood, doesn't it?
It's Mt. Iliamna across Cook Inlet from the Kenai.
Saturday, July 18 (Day 42)
The clouds dissipated some last night so this morning Redoubt Volcano, just across Cook Inlet from our camp in Ninilchik, was out in all of it’s sun-lit glory. Many taller mountains exist, but when a mountain soars to over 10,000 feet and it’s only 15 miles from the ocean… sea level, that’s a sight. All those Colorado 14-ers are tall, but they’re standing on a floor that’s already a mile high… so they poke up above the surrounding land merely 9,000 feet or so.

Still breezy here this morning. The low was around 52°. Most mornings in the far north, when we think to check the temperature, seem to usually be in the low 50s. Don’t know why. Just an observation.

First thing up, we took the path from the campground to the beach, and had us good old fashioned morning beach walk. Probably the longest walk we’ve taken since starting this journey. Tides here are big, the difference between high and low tide can be 20 feet or more. Our walk this morning was at near low tide, so there was a lot to look at.

Dar spotted it first. An eagle. First thought it might be a hawk… but hawks don’t hunt fish over water. And this was a large bird. Next thought was a golden eagle or a juvenile bald eagle, and that question was soon answered when we found Mom sitting in a nearby in a tree. It was clearly a bald eagle. And then we saw this young eagle had an older sibling, but one not old enough for the full fledged bald eagle white head and markings. Three eagles, just flying around and sitting, probably as curious about us as we were about them. May have caught some good pics too. The bright sky, the scenery, the wildlife, the walk… what a great morning.

We decided to extend another day here at Ninilchik View CG before driving south to check out Homer. Anyone who’s been to Alaska will be happy to tell you about Homer. But their perspective and attitude about it may not be the same as mine. If you’re into fishing, Southern Alaska is the place to be this time of year. Salmon in streams and rivers, and halibut in the nearby bigger water. And there are a lot of people that come here to fish. It drives the economy of these otherwise small quiet towns. It can make things a little crazy… especially if you’re not into fishing.

Anything that’s happening in Homer, if it’s worth seeing, or doing, or catching, or eating, is happening either on the “spit” or on the road leading to the spit. Homer sits at the confluence of Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay. With the big tides around here, large amounts of water flow into the Bay from the Inlet during high tide, and flow out of the bay during low tide. All that water moving back and forth carries sediments that, over many years, have built up a reef or sorts… a long narrow beach-like landform that extends out into the bay for 4 miles. It’s called a spit.

Well, they’ve got RV parks and camping out there, as well as restaurants, tourist-trap shops of every kind, a small boat harbor, larger boat dock facilities, fishing charter services, motels, condos, tattoo parlors, and parking lots. They need the parking lots because everyone who comes to Homer has a car that needs to be parked, so they can wander around all the tourist-trap shops or go out on a fishing charter.

Out on the Spit
We first drove all the way out on the spit in an effort to orient ourselves. A little put off by all the people milling around, we then thought we’d find Homer Brewing Company, the towns craft beer experts, who are not on the spit, and see if we can find something to slake a thirst and feed a mid-day hunger. Finding the place was easy with the help of the GPS. It’s more brewery than pub… while we could get a beer, they don’t serve any food. Dar was looking for some fresh-caught local fish, and the recommendations we got from a local pointed us back to the spit. So back out to the spit we go.

I just don’t do crowds well anymore. Maybe I never did, but I think I was more tolerant when younger… or I was more successful in hiding my feelings. (Put a smile on and you’ll get through this!). Whichever it was, I’m not so much that way anymore.

We eventually found a place to park, found a restaurant that didn’t have a long waiting list, and had fresh caught local fish. It wasn’t the experience we were hoping for, but it was OK.

And we did experience Homer during fishing and tourist season. Wonder what it’s like in Autumn?

Early morning walk on the beach.

Little reason to come if you don't fish.

I don't know.

I think I found a home.