Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The lower end of the Kenai

Just before  you get to Homer, it is almost mandatory you stop here. Everyone does! This is looking back up the Kenai, the Spit is on the other side.
 I was really impressed by the veggies in the gardens at this rest stop. I was even more impressed when I  they are for the food bank in Homer.
 These flowers are off in the embankment. Pushkey (not sure how to spell that!) is the white  one and it is VERY not nice if you get it on your skin!
 At Land's End you see people fishing (for junk fish, but they are a lot of fun for the kids to catch) and gulls (this area has what is called a gut chute). The boats scared up clouds of birds when they blew past.
 This area is the first spot you can stop at on the Spit. It used to have a few trees and I played out there with my sister. We'd dig holes in the sand, find clams, play with the tiny Irish lords mum caught and had a great time in our little black boots with the red stripe on top.
 This is a sign I am just tired of. EVERYWHERE in Alaska you find these signs. I sort of understand why they exist, but we used to play on this beach all the time (we'd bike down and hang out on the river or the beach) and it was free. The saddest part is how little the river is used now since it is closed to serious fishing. You can still catch some things to keep, but not like we used to.
 Fisherfolk out in the Inlet arrive at the Anchor River beach in their boats and get hauled in by one of these.
 Mum, watching the gulls.

 The mountain Iliamna is across from Anchor Point.
 This is an iconic bridge. I crossed it on bike, on foot, and in cars often when I was in 4th and 5th grade. The Anchor River was the perfect playground and up the hill from the river near the Inn was an old gravel pit with a pond. And a raft....
 looking down the river-

Monday, June 23, 2014

The night after Solstice

I decided to hit the beach again-one of the things I miss the most in the states. I was lazy and visited a non-hiking beach, but it was a great spot tonight. It was about 11 or so and the tide was perfect. I found a boat.
  I found a dog (really, I don't know if you will see it, but there is a dog on this rock!)
 A platform on the inlet (am sorry, I don't know the name of it!).
 Fishing nets hung to dry.
 Purple skies and blue mountains and a gorgeous inlet.
 MORE platforms that I don't know the names of. (there are two in this picture)
A super cool 'flower' that was probably seaweed when it was alive. 
 Docks lit up for the night that was fast approaching. (so was the rain-I was sitting on the beach rocks and couldn't figure out what was hitting my head til I looked down and saw speckles from raindrops~)
 And probably the funniest thing I've seen all day. Yup, these two were stuck in the soft rocks on the beach. Thankfully, it wasn't the mud part of the inlet and they are above the tide line.. But, I reckon it will take them awhile to get free.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Seward SeaLife Center Part 1

The birds at the SeaLife Center were great fun. Because they are 'safe' they tend to take long baths, which generally end up in splashing fits. And  yes, I was splashed by the puffins! 
 They often check on the birds to see if they are all still there (they can't escape from the pen, but they might hide out somewhere). They also monitor behavior. One of the males (I forget which bird) was being super aggressive and may end up needing removed.

 Common Murres.
 Oyster Catcher.
 These Eider ducks are actually a male and a female. The female is the brown one.

Seward SeaLife Center: Part 2

The Alaska SeaLife Center is a very cool and super amazing spot to visit. It has a small and busy 'petting zoo' with urchins, sea stars, hermit crabs, and anemones. 
 The Center also is the home for several sea lions. This bull is Woody and he  has been the top seal for quite a while.
 There are a couple levels to the center and downstairs you find many creatures in aquariums. Mum has always been a fan of jelly fish.
 This young man is a bull from the Netherlands. His name is Pilot and he'll take over from Woody once he gets old enough. Right now he resides outside in an area used as a learning/teaching area.
 I found this small map very interesting. Sea Lions have a love/hate relationship on the Kenai. They eat fish and often don't even eat all of the salmon they catch. However, they are fun to watch and a lot of study has gone into their species.

 Seward is also a  part of the Iditarod and is the home of many sled dogs.

Exit Glacier

Exit Glacier is a glacier I got to climb on when I was much younger. Since we were in the Seward area, I wanted to see it again. So, I left mum and JaLeen in the car for just a minute. Or several, as it turned out. When I was in HS, this glacier was a very short walk away and provided a great place to climb. Now, it is a park. The trails are mostly paved and there are signs everywhere. I figured I'd walk a little ways in,just to see what I could see.
 Every so often there would be a sign with a year on it. Those signs showed where the glacier was at that particular place in time. The last sign before you almost reach the edge of the glacier was 1961. I had determined (before I knew there weren't any signs) to walk to the 80's. I was not expecting it to be so far away. Some locals I met suggested the spot below was probably about where the edge was around that time.

I was as close as I was going to get was a long hike and I still wasn't at the edge yet! I did find someone to take a photo of me with the glacier. Funniest part? The last time I was photographed with this ice, I was on TOP of it and waving to my uncle!
 One of the washes left by the receding ice. Not only has it shrunk lengthwise, it has shrunk from side to side, too.
 A great view of the wash and the water coming from the melted ice of the glacier.
 Mum and JaLeen.
 Not sure if you can see this larger, but it is a great overview of the glacier. Do follow the highlighted link at the top and if you get a chance to stop in Seward (or before  you get there), take an hour or more and visit this cool spot!

Who is shooting who? Seward Photo Fun

One of the things I found amusing when I looked over the pictures mom and I took on our trip to Seward to the Sea Life Center was how often we shot the same things, from different points of view!
 Lunch time shots at a super amazing spot...and I forgot the name of it. It was on the waterfront.
 The Center  has this really small, but wonderful 'petting' zoo. JaLeen wasn't too sure about the anemones and sea stars. I, however, was taking a photo of the most lovely flotsam creation ever.  Ophelia, made up of debris and stuff in the surf.

At the end of our visit, I had made a detour to see a glacier. On the way back, we stopped to see it from the road and mum found a tiny flower. I was pretty sure it was a dwarf fireweed, but it is a tad early for those guys. So, we took photos of it. I, as  you can tell, wanted to get the flora's best side!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Just a few More Faces in the Rocks!

This first rock, I almost didn't photograph. And then I realised why. I tend to shoot rocks with faces that are facing the other way!
 I also found several more heart shaped rocks this afternoon. I discovered looking for awesome rocks in the rain works better, cuz you can see them without having to spit on them or take them to the waves to get them wet!
 This rock has a frowny face.
 One of my favorite heart rocks. Not only is it a heart, but there is a face on it AND when you turn it over, it is all white.

 This rock  has a pointy chin--and right above that chin is a nose.
 I'm always impressed when I find colored rocks with faces in them.