While we have a few modern conveniences (ie, power and internet thanks to the McDonalds at Homer), I’ll write another post before I forget what’s happened. We’re now at Homer, which is as far as the road goes down the Kenai Peninsula. Next stop: Kodiak Island and then the Aleutians, but probably not for us – Denali is calling us.
We had a bit of car trouble yesterday – flat battery ‘cos the headlights were left on for a while, but a nice young man in Seward came with his huge Toyota and gave us a jump-start. We now have our own power pack and jumper leads. While we were parked at the Seward marina we had showers at the Harbor-Master’s building. Hot showers, $2 for 7 minutes. Excellent.
There is a lot of Russian history in the area – Russian churches with onion domes, place names, people’s names. We have seen a few places called ‘Alyeska’ and wondered if that was the Russian name for Alaska. Thanks to Wikipedia, I now know that Alyeska is an archaic spelling of the Aleut word Alaska meaning “mainland”, “great country”, or “great land”. The American state of Alaska derives its name from this word.
As we drove south to Homer, Halibut Fishing Capital of the World, we went along the eastern side of Cook Inlet, with spectacular views across the water to the snow-capped volcanoes and mountains of Lake Clark National Park. We still get surprised that there are so many people, even down here at the edge of Alaska. There are 5 council-run campgrounds, including 3 right on The Spit, a narrow piece of sand that extends south from the town, plus lots of privately-owned RV parks as well. We looked at one, but it looked a lot like a gravel car park full of buses, then went to one of the council-run ones that is not suitable for RVs – small sites, no ‘pull-throughs’ – which means it’s great for tent campers like us. It’s a lovely park set above the town, with amazing views over the bay and across to the glaciers in the Katchemak Bay State Park.
The days here are very long – sunset around 11.30pm, sunrise around 3.30am, and it really only gets just a bit dimmer at night anyway. Most days I can only tell that it’s ‘dawn’ or ‘evening’ by birdsong, and then it’s quiet during the 4 or so hours of ‘night’. Our headlight torches won’t get used until we get a long way south of here.
We just had a chat with a local who very proudly showed us photos of a flowering lilac tree that grows in his front yard. Magnificent tree, and it has twice as many flowers this year as this area had a very mild winter because of the drought in California. Unlike the eastern part of the state, and of North American which had a very cold winter.