Yesterday, we went to Deep Creek State Recreation Area (SRA) where we spent a day watching the boats being launched and the eagles on the beach and in the Deep Creek feasting on the remains of the fish carcasses thrown into the water by the fishermen cleaning their catch of Halibut and Salmon. We were there 9 years ago and though there were not as many eagles this time, I did see three mature and three immature bald eagles on the beach or in the sky or in a tree. One of the mature eagles appeared to be injured as he was simply sitting in the creek with a fish with his one shoulder drooping. It was very sad to see though perhaps he was just resting. I also saw many glaucous winged gulls, sanderlings, lesser yellow legs and black turnstones and some unidentified ducks. Bob spent his time watching the boat launch process. There are no marinas along this stretch of coast because of the rocky bottom and because of the twenty foot tides so boats are launched by huge tractors now rusted by the salt water that haul the trailers into the water, release the boat with its inhabitants already inside and wait for the boat to return. Each boater gets a large sign with a number corresponding to its trailer. When the boater is finished for the day, he floats to the area, holds up a sign with his number and the tractor gets the trailer, pushes it into the water, the boat is placed on the trailer and hauled out. The boater gets his car or truck, and hitches the trailer to the vehicle and off they go! Quite an operation with an unending line of boats ready for either launching or returning. Such an interesting system but it works! We also drove to Whiskey Gulch beach that can be reached by four-wheel drive only. It was a very steep descent to the beach but the beach itself was lovely. There was a “campground” on the beach (no services) where you simply parked your trailer or set up your tent basically wherever you wanted. The beach itself was beautiful and wide for as far as the eye could see in either direction. Across the Cook Inlet were the omnipresent powerful silhouettes of Mt. Redoubt and Mt. Illiama. We met some “locals” who were fishing from various kayak contraptions. One guy, age indeterminate but definitely rode hard, (though his tobacco chew spittle may have colored my judgment somewhat) used an old walker to fashion a set of pontoons. The walker was cut in half and each side had floats inserted over the legs. The two sides were held up by bungee cords and when released, went down onto the water and were used to stabilize the kayak on the waves. Talk about ingenious! But, since many home sites here boast a collection of every single appliance, car, boat, trailer ever owned by the inhabitant in the front, back and side yards, I’m not surprised that there was a walker available to use as a pontoon.
We left Homer today and traveled to Johnson Lake State Recreation Area near the Kasilof River and Tustemena Lake. Tustemena Lake is 26 miles long and 5 miles wide and boating on it is not encouraged for kayaks and canoes because of the high winds that can come up unexpectedly from the Kenai Mountains and Harding Icefields. Johnson Lake, on the other hand, is a calm, lovely lake in the middle of a black spruce forest and perfect for kayaking and fishing for trout. The Kasilof River is known for its salmon run but after our experience last week, we may not fish here for salmon. The weather is awful again; rainy and about 59 degrees. I have not worn shorts since we left North Dakota in early June. Here, the peonies are just starting to bloom and lilacs are still blooming despite the 17 hours of sunlight (or rain light depending on how optimistic your view is). If it is still raining tomorrow, we will probably press north to the Skilak Lake region still on the Kenai Peninsula and try to find a campsite where we can stay for the weekend. It is tough to find a campsite weekends now so, if you are not settled by Thursday, you are pretty much limited to roadside pullouts; OK for a few days. But now, it is dip-net season and everyone is out on the rivers trying to get their limit each day. We’ll keep you posted on our fishing success (or lack thereof). By the way, groceries are really expensive here. We went shopping today for a few things and spent $77.00! for only 13 items with my grocery discount card. Fuel is more expensive too but diesel is less expensive than unleaded so, better for us with our diesel RV.