Leaving Kenai – on to Anchorage

What do you call a person who lives in Anchorage, and Anchorite?  I don’t think so.  Apropos of nothing at all!  It just popped into my head.

Leaving Kenai, we drove up the the highway to the Seward and turned off onto Portage Glacier Road where we pulled into the free spot we had found the week before.  It was populated with mostly day users and by nightfall there were only a couple of tenters and a van.  WE drove into Girdwood and fulfilled our promise to ourselves and dined at Double Musky.  This is  a highly regarded apres ski place and a dining venue that people from Anchorage (see the opening sentence) take an hour drive to for dinner on special occasions.  The meal lived up to the reviews and later that night we returned to the coach sated and content.  During dinner a staff member announced that if we wanted to look out in the parking lot there was a bear passing through.  We chose to stay seated and enjoy the meal.

Wednesday we drove back onto the Kenai Peninsula and took the Hope cutoff for a 16 mile drive to this small, historic near ghost town.  It is another remnant of gold fever and yet 151 people live there, some still prospecting in the area.  It is not a place you will read much about as the gold fever was very short lived and it was not a huge draw.  The Klondike boom dragged most of the prospectors away.  Hope is actually very close to Anchorage by air or boat, right across Turnagain Arm, but the road trip is a couple of hours.  Sort of like the distance between Rochester and Toronto.  Once the railroad was built Hope no longer served as an entry to the Kenai and it dwindled.

Back to the coach for dinner.  We prepared for departure in the morning and midmorning we  left the Kenai area for the last time, this trip.  As we drove to Anchorage we stopped along the Seward Highway at Windy Corner to view the Dall Sheep on the cliffs above us.  And we made a stop at Bird Point to look for Beluga Whales and birds.  Birds yes (green violet swallow), whales no.  Our last stop along the way was Potter Marsh just outside of, or maybe just inside of Anchorage.  there are two long boardwalks and we saw birds and salmon in the stream waiting for the the next rising tide to help them up the next step.

We continued on through Anchorage to Eagle River and the Eagle River Campground.  It is glorious here, but our gaining a campsite was pure luck.  After our first circle looking for a suitable site it appeared we were out of luck.  I stopped just past site 1 and flagged down the campground host to ask his suggestions.  He told me the people on site 1 were just preparing to leave.  This seemed strange to me at 3 in the afternoon, but I did not question the luck and prepared to take possession.  After we separated the car from the coach, I decided to back clear.  Today our insurance replaced the back window on the car.  Later, as I was buying firewood from the host’s wife, I learned why they had left.  They had seen a bear in the campground and that was too much for them.  My question, where can you go camping in Alaska without the chance of seeing a bear close up?  Only someplace where there are no campers stupid enough to put food in their tents and there are no moose with calves.  In other words, no place.

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