Thursday, July 7, 2016

Kenai, AK - Stop 25 on our Trek North to Alaska

Tuesday brought us to Beluga Lookout RV Park, situated high on the bluffs of Kenai overlooking Cook Inlet.  A look out it was—look out for highway robbery without a gun!  At $50 a night for a pull thru—and that’s after a 10% Good Sam discount—this place was tighter than a size 6 bathing suit on Mom!  Some rigs had so little room, they could not open their slides fully.  Others, like us, had to park our trucks and toads in a grassy knoll at the end of the block, which was quite soft from all the rain we have experienced.   This from a place that touts itself as “big rig friendly”.  They offer only 30 amp electric, water, and sewer lines that open up right under the next rig’s front door.  It seems the more we pay for a place, the worse the accommodations.  Campgrounds just aren’t willing to invest in their infrastructures to accommodate the size rigs churned out by the RV industry.

Once settled, we did a Wal-mart run—this time for more fishing supplies.  The campground office says folks are catching halibut right from the shoreline!  Off Dad runs, excited like a kid getting a puppy for Christmas.  He caught one!  No, not halibut, but some stinky little bottom feeder fish —a throw back that could only be used as bait.  But at least something finally snagged the end of his hook!

Dad's big catch of the day

The weather turned out lovely—at about 11:00 at night!  So we went for a stroll to watch the gulls congregate along the shoreline at low tide and chuckled at how they harassed a pair of golden eagles scouting for food.


The shoreline view--at 11:30 PM!

More sun at 11:30 p.m. than all day long!

We headed to Soldotna to check out what they have to offer for tourism.  Short answer—not much.  It's really all about fishing here.

Handcrafted fish-themed bench outside visitor center


Check out the name at the bottom of this carving.  What a coincidence!

We observed the Kenai River from their boardwalk platform, viewed their exhibits, and took their one tourist suggestion of visiting the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.  Unfortunately, all the hiking trails within this 1.92 million acre wilderness that are compatible with our hiking abilities and offer the best wildlife sightings are more than an hour away.  But we did all the trails around their visitor center and headquarters, which included seeing the Elwell Fishing Cabin.  Mamie and Luke Elwell moved from Ohio to Alaska in 1920.  From 1939 until 1960, they ran a fishing lodge along the Russian River.  After the Refuge received title to the property in 2012, they relocated one of the lodge fishing cabins to the Refuge, taking painstaking efforts to restore it with historical accuracy.  Amazing what were considered deluxe accommodations back then!

Elwell Fishing Cabin


Interior of fishing cabin

Dad and Mike decided they wanted to go fishing again—back to Wal-Mart to get more bait!  I think the fish in Kenai must be spreading the word about the great buffet served by these two.  Newsflash:  no fish have made it onto my dinner plate yet.  Dad learned that our M.O.C. friends Curtis and Stephanie, whom we have met up with several times on this trip, have been continuously skunked, too!  Misery loves company.

Meanwhile, Mom, Claudia, and I went on a historical walking tour of Old Kenai.  There are several cabins throughout the area which are now private residences, as well as a selection of one room cabins maintained by the Kenai Historical Society and open for viewing at their Historic Cabin Park.  I especially enjoyed the Russian Orthodox Church with its simple yet lovely architectural design and its beautiful icons.  Built in 1895-1896, it is still in use today, despite suffering damages through the years from earthquakes.

Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church

Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church

Interior of the Church

St. Nicholas Chapel, circa 1906


Parish House Rectory (now private residence), believed to be oldest building on Kenai Peninsula (circa 1881)

Miller Cabin, circa 1910

Interior of Miller Cabin


Interlocked Moose Horn Club (now private residence)

Today provided the first sunny morning for us in quite some time.  We took advantage of the nice weather and visited Captain Cook State Park, where we did hiking, walked along the waterfront, and had a picnic lunch.  The weather provided a decent view of four volcanoes within the Alaska Range:  Redoubt, Spurr, Augustine, and Iliamna.  We spotted a bald eagle and a golden eagle today, too, while accessing a public viewing platform.

Captain Cook State Park

View of volcanoes from Captain Cook State Park

Bald Eagle spotted from wildlife viewing platform

Would you believe this photo was taken through binoculars!

As I sit writing this blog, Mom is scouting for whales.  I don’t need to tell you what Dad is doing…

View from campground bluff--no whales to be found


Tomorrow we are off to Homer.  Talk to you soon!

1 comment:

  1. Great photos! Maybe Les and Mike should hook up with Jim and Barb for some fishing. 😉