Can you imagine a more perfect morning wakeup call than the wild cry of an eagle, especially when he lands right in front of your window on the beach? We woke up to incredibly beautiful clear skies this morning with sun pouring in the back windows of the MoHo and illuminating the beach in front of us at low tide once more. This eagle was searching for breakfast, and as I tried to get a bit close for photos he flew off with his friend to see what else was lying around after the tide receded.
I could enjoy staying on this beach for awhile, just enjoying the views and the lovely water, but the road calls and we will be heading back north today toward Seward. Our plans included a stop at our favorite Fred Meyer store back in Soldotna, a free dump there, and a nice fill-up with our gas discount which was still .20c per gallon! Pretty nice, especially when the store had the lowest price gas around without the discount at 4.17 per gallon. We also filled up the Tracker and bought a bit of chardonnay to last the rest of the way before we enter the land of no wine in Canada in a few days.
Our trip from Homer to Soldotna was gorgeous, with the volcanoes in full view and the gorgeous sunlight illuminating every turn in the road. The Kenai Peninsula is truly a magical place, a definite destination to enjoy for more time than we had to spend.
The line at the free dump station was much too long to spend waiting on this gorgeous sunny day, so we just decided to wing it and keep going to the next stop where we decided maybe it was time for some hookups. We continued east along the Sterling Highway to the junction with the Seward Highway with a perfect stop for chips and that wonderful salsa I bought yesterday while looking out over the magnificent mountains. Wow.
On the entire trip today, I spent the whole time in awe, taking deep breaths as I watched the wild Kenai River open up into huge Kenai Lake and the mountains rising all around me, jagged spires reaching to the heavens spiked with ice and snow and metamorphic rock so shiny it glistened like mirrors. As we approached Seward it just got better and better, with the turquoise fjord of Resurrection Bay stretching south toward Prince William Sound.
There is nothing at all tacky about Seward, at least not on this sunny day. We found the city campground with a spot with electric and water for 30 bucks. It’s a good thing we get in as early as we do, because after we parked the campground filled up fast with folks jockeying for slots here by the beautiful water. The old town is on a slight hill behind us, and there is a beautiful walkway all along the water that enticed us to spontaneously just start walking, no map, no visitor center instructions, just walking. We found the lovely town center of Seward, with its charming shops, murals, and incredible vistas. The park is perfect, and was originally created to welcome President Harding when the mayor attempted to convince him that his town should get the coveted name of Seward. It worked, and Seward is still important as the major port city for much of Alaska as it remains ice free all year.
I felt the push of time because I wanted to be everywhere and do everything in the gorgeous remaining hours of sunlight. The Exit Glacier hike was high on my list of priorities, so our little wish for some kayaking in the bay gave way to the drive north to the Kenai Fjords National Park and the small but beautiful little glacier that descends from the biggest ice field wholly contained within the United States, the Harding Ice Field.
There were many folks walking the excellent but tame trail to the side of the glacier, with view of the dramatic outwash plain and wild water rushing from glacier melt. The most impressive signs were simple: 1917, on a brown sign along the trail, indicating where the glacier was that year. The visitor center has impressive displays documenting the glacier as it recedes into the warming climate and another favorite 3D map of the Harding Ice Field.
I know we will probably see more glaciers as we continue home, but this was truly beautiful and the sun was in just the right position to capture that magical glacial blue of the ice. I loved it, in spite of the black flies that accompanied us on the short but lovely 2 mile round trip hike. I took some photos of rouche mountonees, a glacial landform that we have in very minor abundance in Klamath County in the glaciated mountains, but this was a prime example that I have to take home to my boss Chris back home. I laughed as I remember our discussions of this particular landform as we worked on the soil survey geomorphic terms. This spot was one of the best up close laboratories of glacial landscapes that I have had the pleasure to see so far.
Home to our slot in the park, I made a great quesadilla to carry the rest of the salsa, and really wished I had bought another pint! We watched folks come in and try to find a place to park for many hours into the evening before Mo gave up and went to bed while I worked on finally catching up on my writing with the pleasure of full electric power. Writing takes a long time, especially as I attempt to manage my excessive photo habit, and it’s nice to not have to worry about the inverter, or the generator, or running out of computer battery power.
In all my excitement about the beauty of the day, I almost forgot that we were having battery problems, and for the last few days we had to start the MoHo with the auxiliary power of the house batteries. We also were having a bit of a problem with the charge staying high enough for a decent length of time. Finally when the MoHo refused to start in Homer Mo decided it was time to get a new battery. We stopped again at Johnson’s Tire in Soldotna where a great guy named Mike checked things out and sent us over to an auto parts store, warning us that the batteries there at Johnson would be way to highly priced. After getting the new battery, we went back to Mike and he put in it no charge. Of course Mo slipped him some cash, what a nice guy! Now there is no more hesitation when we start up the rig. The battery was five years old so it was time for a new one.
It was an absolutely perfect day. I am now in a little espresso joint called Sea Dog Café in Seward, uploading photos and one more time catching up on my “job”. Of course, the minute I walk out the door I will start getting behind once more, and that makes me laugh inside. I told Mo I really have to figure out how to write while she is driving, but she wondered how I would manage to take photos and navigate while writing! Sometimes when things are happening it is easy to write it, and then later I have to go back and look up names and such and it’s such a pain, so I am going to try to document as we go. Laurie, stop laughing at my documentation obsession, right now!!
Miles traveled today in the MoHo: 168
Road conditions: irrelevant again, we are in the easy part of Alaska
The rest of the photos for this day are linked here