Homer. If Cape Cod and Switzerland had a child, it would be Homer, AK. What a fabulous few days we have spent in Homer, and talk about drop dead gorgeous, sitting at the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula.
Even the ride down to Homer from Soldotna was unbelievable. As you make your way down the Sterling Highway you see off to your right the Cook Inlet and beyond that the Lake Clark National Park, replete with volcanoes (in the picture below you can see both Redoubt (on the right) and Iliamna (on the left).
Mount Redoubt is an active volcano – in fact it last erupted in 2009. As story has it, at the time of the eruption a KLM flight was passing overhead and got caught in its plume and descended 13,000 before the pilots could restart the engines. Humina humina… “Excuse me, Flight Attendant, could I get another drink and a change of underwear please?”
A little bit further south you see Mount Iliamna, which is another volcano within the Lake Clark NP and also part of the Aleutian Range. This volcano has not been active, but regularly sends plumes of steam up into the air from a side vent.
We stayed on Homer Spit, a jut of land that reaches out into Kachemak Bay. Unbelievable!
Our campsite was right on the beach at the Fishing Hole city park, about 30 feet from the water at high tide, and about 3 miles from the water at low tide. That is of course an exaggeration, but the tide here rises and drops about 28 feet, so when it is low tide it is probably a quarter mile to touch the water.
Here are a few pictures from our campsite. Many of the views are looking from our campsite across Kachemak Bay and into the Kenai National Wilderness Area.
As is consistent with our trip so far to Alaska, we had really nice neighbors. Native to Alaska (he, not she), Sean, Marsha and family (Luca, Loren and Henry) were so nice and friendly – suggesting other places we might like to visit on our journey, which we have already begun to explore.
With the water so close, it was inevitable the kayak would get wet. I paddled out into Kachemak Bay to see beautiful vistas, more seagulls than I have seen in my life (and babies!), and an inquisitive otter that swam right up to my boat – so close I could have patted him (yes, I know you should never touch an otter because of their sensitive fur coat).
By show of hands… who has ever seen a Coast Guard station that was NOT in a pristine location? I thought not. Now the men and women of the Coast Guard do a great job, take extraordinary risks to save peoples lives, and are exactly the people you want to see if you find yourself in a bit of a boating jam. But still, they have some nice duty stations!
And fishing. I would be remiss if I did not mention the passion here for fishing. You can do it any way you like here. Some go into “combat fishing” position, where you are but feet away from the next angler. Or you find your own little private place to cast a line. Or go out by boat, as many people do.
Saturdays are good for us when there are local fresh markets, and Homer was no exception. We (Karen) found some great salad fixings (including edible flowers), I bought some Halibut cheeks to cook up later, and found a little stand where they sold fresh oysters – all while listening to some live music!
We headed out East End Road one day to see what we would see. East End Road runs along the Kachemak Bay and provides all kinds of fabulous views.
Talk about a stunning road. Mind you, it ends on the beach, after descending on hairpin turns that in the truck required 3-point turns they were so sharp and steep. And loose gravel – did I mention that? I suppose at low tide we might have gone a little further, but what we saw of the bay and the mountains was spectacular.
While I have yet to see the show, reliable counsel tells me that Karen and I could body double for Otto and Charlotte Kilcher. Otto and Charlotte star on Discovery Channel’s Alaska: The Last Frontier as they demonstrate their homesteading techniques in Homer.
I’m thinking… maybe a show about how we homestead in our Airstream… perhaps call it… Airstream: The Last Front Tire, starring the Slowsky’s. Stay tuned.
Now the reason I mention the Kilcher’s is because we drove (unknowingly) right by their place on East End Road! Next time we come to Homer we’re going to get a map of the stars first.
Speaking of sights to see on East End Road, we came upon a good-sized moose, just having a salad at the expense of someone’s front yard.
Hopefully we won’t see her next season on the Kilcher’s as jerky.
Until next time!