Alaska Adventure travel blog

Most homes around the rivers look like this

Our RV camp. We are a little big for the spot.

Most Alaskans come with 4 wheelers

Crooked Creek is our home away from home

This is another business with hanging flower baskets

The building has grass and flowers growing on roof

Soldotna town sign

A fishing boat with fishermen standing in water

Fishermen lined up on the "hot" spot

A local hardware store with stuffed fish everywhere

Graham is getting his "stuff" ready

The guide boat Graham took King salmon fishing

The tide comes in and out and leaved deep mud

Graham on the guide boat. He's pretty bored but looks good.

They use a pulley system to pull the boats out of the...

This is the line of people dip netting on the Kenai

This is the other side of the Kenai River

More dip netters. Zoom in to see how many people.

Mt Redoubt is an active volcano

We went to a music festival on a Wed

Where did all these people come from on a Wed night?

It's about 11:30 at night. Nice sunset (almost)

The sunset made for a great picture

Look close. You can see Grahams first salmon catch

He had a great first catch with 2 red salmon caught

It's past misnight but he has to clean them before coming home

a dip net

Our vacuum packed salmon

Local liquor store

Local DQ drive through

Regal Theater in Kenai

Our first campsite in Soldotna

Hobo Jim a very good local artist

Wooden walking paths along water ways

Mean rodeo bull

This bull attacked everyone

12yr old trick rider

a pair of cowboys had to tie up the cow legs

A bad bull ride out the gate

Another bad bull ride

Momma moose and her twins

Graham on the King salmon guide boat

A rainbow on the rainy Kenai guide boat

Carin taking out the pin bones from a red salmon

Carin looking for agates on Cook Inlet

Clam Gulch was closed for clamming

Clam cleaning sheds on Clam Gulch beach

Graham on Clam Gulch beach

The town of Ninilchik

Russian Orthodox graveyard

The Russian Orthodox Church still used today

Carins first red salmon catch

Lovely waders!

We catch 6 red salmon in just a couple hours

Satellite pointing to the ground

Some sort of bird

Mushroom 1

Mushroom 2

Mushroom 3

Mushroom 4

Mushroom 5

Mushroom 6

Spawning salmon

Moose sign

Moose crash area

Common greenhouse

Ladies front yard full of flowers

Swanson River

Freezer full of fish

Halibut fishing boat

Graham on another Halibut charter

Graham pointing at his big Halibut

Fileting the halibut

Lots of Halibut. Hope I have room in the freezer

Our RV site on the Kenai River

The boardwalk in front of our RV spot

Kasilof is where we will be camping the next 2 weeks. This is where we hope to catch salmon. It’s only about 120 miles from Homer so we can take a lazy drive today.

Kasilof is a town of roughly 500 people, is the hub of outdoor activity. In the summer, fisherman float in boats or line the banks of the Kasilof River in hopes of catching one of several species of salmon that return annually, including chinook, sockeye and silvers.

We get into Crooked Creek camp on a Friday and what a zoo. There are hundreds of campers and tenters and all the campgrounds are full.

Lots of people live here year round. What we are seeing is that most people that live on the rivers live in an RV that has been modified. They buy a spot at an RV camp, then build a structure around their RV. This way they don’t have to pay for taxes on a home, just the land. Everyone in this RV campground that lives here has built a fancy building that surrounds their RV. Alaskans are very clever and use what they have to survive. I never realized before that unlike San Diego where most people have plenty of money, here people have to live off the land and many of them are not employed. I was surprised that life here is so very hard and you have to use every little thing you possess to live here.

We squeeze into our RV spot. It has enough room to set up our tent cover for bugs, but there isn’t many bugs here. Just bees!Yellow jackets love fresh bits of salmon and Graham has been stung twice already.

The closest town is Soldotna, about 15 miles away, and we quickly find out that that’s where all the activity is, or where the other thousand people are camping. Soldotna has the Kenai River that flows through it. The Kenai River is where we need to fish this time of year. The Kasilof River has smaller salmon than the Kenai. So we drive to Soldotna every day to fish.

Lots of Alaskans come down to this area just for the weekend so they can dip net salmon. Most of them bring along a couple 4 wheelers. Even small children run around on these. The 4 wheelers help to carry all their gear to the beach.

Dipnetting is an Alaska resident only sport fishing adventure. Dipnetters stand in cold water for hours, they hold long metal poles with huge round nets attached. Each time a salmon swims in their net, the net is flipped and quickly dragged back to the shore. One person gets a fish, then her friend next to her, then the guy 10 feet away. Everyone rushes back to shore, then back out again. It's an amazing site to watch.

We are camping within walking distance of the Crooked Creek and the Kasilof River. We took a walk down to the Kasilof River. It had very grey water and was very swift. You definitely need a boat to catch King Salmon on this river. Graham has booked a King salmon guide trip for the next day. Let's hope he catches a King because the season is over the last day of July.

We went into Soldotna and I saw this pretty building with hanging flower baskets. There was also a very small building that had grass and flowers growing on its roof.

The guide boat was a nice sturdy boat. 4 men went on the boat. All were hoping to catch a King salmon. You can only catch 1 King salmon a day, and 2 for the season.

There were lots of other boats on the river. And fisherman lining the banks trying to catch red salmon. If the fish are running then everyone, one after the other, will catch salmon.

Graham was pretty bored on the boat, since you don’t really fish for King salmon. It’s almost like trolling for fish. You don’t touch the rod until you get a good bite. He was even more bored by the end of the day when only one of the men caught a King. Bummer!!

When the tide goes out it leaves thick mud on the banks. Your boots sink into it and you almost fall over trying to walk. The boats can’t be pulled onto shore.

The guides use a special pulley system to pull the boats out of the water onto a small platform. The truck just pulls up to the platform and hooks up the boat. Easy Peasy.

Lots of very nice people here. Tons of people just fishing over and over next to each other. Hoping to snag a salmon in its mouth. A lady caught a nice red salmon and showed it to me. It took her 4 hours. Told us what kind of gear to use and how to set it up. I took pictures of the equipment so we could buy the correct stuff. With this information, we are guaranteed to catch salmon.

Went to the local hardware store and bought all of our salmon fishing equipment. This is definitely a fishing town. Everywhere there are stuffed fish. Even in this hardware store.

We took a drive to the town of Kenai. Saw many dip netters in the water. Their limit is about 50 or 60 salmon a season. That's a lot of salmon coming out of the water.

The Mountains are across Cook Inlet in Kenai, and are part of the Aleutian Chain. This is Mount Redoubt and is an active volcano. It has erupted several times in the last few decades

We went to a music festival in the park one Wed night. The music was bad but it was packed with people. We are not sure if it’s packed like this every Wed, but there were a lot of people there that night.

Graham is determined to catch salmon. He wants to try again after the music festival. What! I’ve been drinking and it’s almost 10 o’clock at night. OK. He gets in his gear and we head to the Soldotna Bridge to fish the Kenai River. It’s not really fishing like trout fishing. You throw your hook out about 5 feet in front of you and drag the line across the water and hope you snag a salmon in the mouth. If you snag it anywhere other than the mouth, you have to throw it back. You do this over and over until you snag one. We are fishing for sockeye (red) salmon, (or any damn thing he can catch).

Talking to the neighbors, they tell us that the fishing is going downhill. It’s very expensive with license and lodging. Almost $500 by the time you buy license and equipment and find somewhere to stay. And then you are lucky if you catch anything. The commercial fishermen are getting most of the fish. It’s almost cheaper to fish in the lower states, and we might want to do that from now on. It’s been worth it to come here. We just thought the fish would be jumping into our boat the way they advertise the fishing here. But it’s not true.

It’s now 11:30 and the sun is setting.

It’s a beautiful sunset with Graham silhouetted in the background.

Grahams catches one salmon after the other. He learned to catch red salmon by watching others, and that you have to snap the line before you pull it out. You want to snag the fish in its mouth. It works and he finally has the technique down.

It is past midnight but still light enough for Graham to catch another salmon, for a total of 2 big salmon. Well done Graham. I’m so proud of him.

But now he has to filet them and it is dark outside. He butchers the first salmon until he gets the hang of it. The second salmon filets are perfect.

We get it vacuum packaged and into the freezer as soon as we can.

On night I needed to buy some wine. You still gotta drink! The liquor laws in Alaska are strange. You can’t buy alcohol in any store unless the store has a back room that has a door separating the alcohol from the store. This building was attached to the back of a small rundown gas station and it felt like I was doing something illegal. The clerk said, “go outside and around the building to the door in the back” Surprisingly they had lots of wine and beer.

Its laughable what some people will do to get a hamburger. We saw a lot of RV’s drive through this DQ drive through. I just had to take a picture. How did they know their RV would fit??

Sometimes it rains for days and I’m not crazy about fishing or hiking when it rains so we thought we would go to the movies. This was the Regal Theater in the Kenai. Just a very small building that we almost didn’t find. The seats were hard but the new Ghost Busters movie was good and funny and worth the visit.

This isn’t a good picture of a dip net, but they are so big it’s hard to take a picture of it.

We finally moved out of Kasilof after two weeks and are headed for Soldotna where there is a bit more activity. We park in front of the Kenai River bridge where we can watch the fisherman in front of us and across the river. It was good for a couple days until they started to do road work on the bridge, at midnight. After a miserable night of sleep, we moved to a new site on the river.

Alaskans loves their summers. There are music festivals almost every day. We loved Hobo Jim who played at a local pub and in Homer. Summer is very short here. After June 21st, the longest day of the year where it’s daylight for almost 24 hours, the day light quickly starts to diminish. By the 1st of August it’s getting dark by 8:30. It looks like winter and the weather is getting colder.

Alaskan’s love their outdoors and really do a good job of protecting the environment. There are miles of wooden walking paths along the waterways to protect the grasses next to the water for the baby fish that live there. There are miles of hiking trails. In the summer people fish and in the winter they 4 wheel or snow shoe for fun. It’s a very outdoor environment which we really love. Plus the people are very nice!

We try to other things other than fish (it’s hard not to fish when that’s why we are here) so we went to a rodeo. This bull was so mean he kept throwing dirt with his back hooves. He kept attacking the cowboys. Good entertainment

They had a 3 young (12yr old) trick riders that were very good.

The 2 people that had to tie up the cows hind legs.

And our favorite is always the bull riding. I can’t believe that out of 12 bull riders, not one stayed on the bull long enough to qualify.

There are so many moose in this area we have stopped taking pictures of them. Most momma moose have a set of twins. The baby moose in this picture wouldn’t come out from behind his mother so I couldn’t get a good picture of it. Once again, this moose is right next to the road.

These signs are all along the road to make people aware of the moose. We have seen a couple dead moose alongside the road. I would hate to hit a moose in the truck.

We booked another King salmon trip, but this time I said I would go. We met a nice couple from Colorado on our boat. The guide was a bit of a flake and we didn’t get out on the water until about 8pm.

It poured rain most of the trip and I was miserable. A rainbow came out early in the night, but then rained hard the rest of the night. I was freezing cold and wouldn’t go into the water to catch red salmon. I was wet enough. We didn’t get back to the guides home until 2am in the morning. Then the guide continued to talk and talk, I just wanted to get home. We caught no King salmon once again.

Graham caught 4 red salmon and the next day my job was to take out all the pin bones. I do this because I know that people don’t like to eat salmon that has bones in it. I’m sure that I miss a few bones. The only problem is that the RV is smelling like salmon!

We took a drive to Nikiski to the North of Kenai. There wasn’t much there to take a picture of, but the Kenai Spur Highway take us to Captain Cook State Park with spectacular view of Cook Inlet and an amazing string of volcanoes. I’m looking for agates on the Cook Inlet beach. This is the end of the road. A very pretty area with calm rivers and tons of hiking.

Another day we drive to the town of Ninilchik which is south of Soldotna. On the way we stopped at Clam Gulch which is known as the clamming capital of Alaska. But razor clamming isn’t currently allowed along the beach. The number of clams on local beaches has plummeted. So the closure is to allow the population to rebound.

All along the beach there are a bunch of small sheds set up for clamming when in allowed.

Graham is looking down the beach where as far as he can see, where there are these small huts. We would have dug clams if it was allowed.

Ninilchik was originally a Russian town dating back to the early 19th century. Several of the building in town date from the 1800’s. It’s a charming little village by the sea.

When Russian Orthodox colonist first came to Ninilchik it was in 1847. Alaska was still owned by Russia. 20yrs later, in 1867, the United States bought Alaska for $7.2 million. The old families of Ninilchik are both Russian Orthodox and Native Indians. This Russian Orthodox Church and graveyard is still in use today.

We are back to fishing and I have just caught my first red salmon. Yippee. I was so excited. It’s a fun catch. And don’t I look pretty in my waders.

I ended up catching 1 more and Graham caught 4 for a total of 6 red salmon. What a catch for only a couple of hrs. of fishing.

We tried to use our Dish satellite everywhere we have been but with no luck. Come to find out that the satellite has to be pointing almost at the ground since the satellites are going around the equator and Alaska is at the equator. (I think this is correct)

We saw this bird (don’t know what it was) while driving the dirt road on our way to Swanson River.

The Swanson River is a small stream/river, 40 miles long, on the Kenai Peninsula. It took about an hour to drive here from Soldotna. There are no buildings here just beautiful lakes and forest. Swanson River is the canoe system that covers over 100 miles of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The canoe route links more than 40 lakes with the Swanson River. The river is very calm and looked like a great fly fishing area

We wanted to take a hike next to the river, but the only hike was about 2 miles one way. It was a nice day so we took off. Many people this time of year collect mushrooms. I took pictures of some of them so that I could buy a book on local mushrooms and match them up. Maybe next time we come to Alaska we will gather mushrooms.

We FINALLY got to the end of our hike (I think is was more than 2 miles!!) which ended at another part of the Swanson River. We could see lots and lots of red salmon in the river. You could really see their green heads and red bodies. We could see that these salmon would not be good to eat since they were a very dark red, meaning they were ready to let their eggs lose. We had a picnic and watched these salmon for over an hour. Very pretty fish.

We have to watch out for moose where ever we drive. I didn’t realize there were so many moose. These signs are all over the roadways.

Since July 1st of this year 235 moose have been killed on the road. We have seen several of them in the ditches next to the road. I would hate to see the car or truck after it hit on of these moose. It would do a lot of damage.

I mentioned this earlier about all the flowers everywhere and that most people have a greenhouse. Alaska has a very short growing season yet everyone had very mature flowering plants. I asked a lady that had this greenhouse and yard why that was. I never thought about it but she said because they have so many sun light hours. I thought it was because of the rain and didn’t even think about the sun light.

Well our 5 cubic foot freezer is finally full. Graham has gone Halibut fishing again today and if he catches some we are just going to have to eat some of the smoked salmon. Oh well, to bad!

Before we leave this area I convince Graham to go Halibut fishing one last time. He still has one more chance to fill his Halibut license requirements. He books a trip for the next day, but instead of going all the way to Homer, he will be going out Ninilchik, not far from Soldotna.

Thank goodness I didn’t go with him. The boat didn’t have a head.

Graham had a great day. He kept catching big fish and had to give them to the other people. You are only allowed to catch one fish over 28 inches. He could have kept 1 small halibut if it was smaller than 28 inches, but he never caught one that small.

He is pointing to his biggest Halibut caught that day. It weighed between 40 & 50 pounds.

They fileted the halibut and vacuum packed it. I just hope I can find room in the freezer for it.

I wanted to mention that we had a great spot right in front of the Kasilof River. I could watch the water, birds and fishermen by just sitting in the front seat.

I mentioned about all the boardwalks around Alaska. This board walk is right in front of our RV spot and is perfect to fish from. You didn’t need to put your waders to fish. These boardwalks go for miles sometimes.

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