August Adventures in Alaska

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On the ferry Tustemena, on our way to Kodiak Island, a journey of 13 1/2 hours.

Cars drove onto the side of the ferry onto an elevator, which then lowered us into the bowels of the ship.  We were on a turntable, and it aimed us so we drove backwards into our row, over steel tie downs.  We were accompanied by a ferry employee who guided us into our spot and secured our vehicle.

The car elevator

The car elevator

We left in the evening, and arrived the next day.  I took up my bed pad, sleeping bag, and pillow, and made a nice cozy sleeping spot in the front corner of the passenger lounge.  Denis worked at a table, then stretched out on the bench.  Upon arrival in Kodiak, we drove forward onto the turntable, and were lifted up to drive off.IMG_0046

Constance met us at the ferry, and led us to her house.  We enjoyed the evening with her and a bible study at Theresa’s, with Amanda and Simon.  Waiting for a call that fishing would open, we took a day to ourselves and discovered Monashka Bay.

Beautiful salt water pink salmon; they are huge this year!

Beautiful salt water pink salmon; they are huge this year!

Denis is looking for salmon on a misty morning.

Denis is looking for salmon on a misty morning.

Fishing was fantastic, and the spot at the end of the road was great for overnighting.

On his way to White Sands Beach

Denis, on his way to White Sands Beach

Constance got the call that fishing was opening, so I went with her to shop.  We were going to cook, so I’d prepared a list from our meal plans.  We were going to have lots of meals and baking, and planned to be out at the fish site for a couple of weeks.

Alaska stole my heart.  I loved this part of our trip!

Hiking through the forest on the island

Hiking through the forest on the island

When the crew went out to fish, we went for a walk across the island, so Denis could use the internet at a friend’s house.  Bella (the dog) went with us, and we had a great time finding our way, passing some interesting cottages and beaches.IMG_0097

At the house, we cooked lots of scrumptious food.  Some sample menus were:  For breakfast we had roast beef hash, cheesy Mexican eggs, eggs with bacon, corned beef hash with eggs, biscuits with sausage gravy, and lots of hot cereal.  And we baked cinnamon rolls, pies, cookies and bars.  White bread, whole wheat bread, and oat bread.  I went through 25 lbs of flour in 2 weeks!

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Oat bread- boy that oven baked wonders!

Oat bread- boy that oven baked wonders!

Did I mention Eskimo donuts?!

Eskimo donuts!

Eskimo donuts!

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We had such fun.  Annika appreciated the baked goods, and she took us out to fish.  One day it was just us ladies.  We were out at one of their fish sites, and the other guys on the crew were near by when I hooked into a BIG ONE!  They noticed.  Annika hollered “Stay away!”  We were going to bring this one in all by ourselves!

Well, I was working away at this huge halibut, and after maybe fifteen minutes, brought it up within seeing distance.  Annika said “Oh my, we can’t get this one in the boat!”  So we decided to go slowly backwards, letting out line, and dragging the fish up to the beach.  Well, the guys were getting pretty interested by this time, and didn’t pay any attention to us telling them to go away.  They got up on the beach and grabbed the boat as we put in.  Annika held my pole while I awkwardly, oops, gracefully, made my way over the side of the boat and into about a foot of water.

I got the pole and halibut back, and started to reel it in, planting my feet firmly on the rocks.  The rocks were slippery.  The fish was huge.  It was tugging and I was reeling, and my feet were going out from under me.  Nels grabbed at me, saving me from a most spectacular butt landing in the water.  I got my feet back under me and Nels asked me if I wanted him to take the pole.  I pondered a minute.  I really didn’t want to hand it over, but it was getting a bit much for me so I consented.  It wasn’t a minute later until that ole halibut decided he’d had enough and said goodbye.

Annika estimated it was 5 feet long, and 100 to 150 lbs.  We didn’t want to go home skunked, so we went back out and she caught a beaut:

Look at Annika's halibut!

Look at Annika’s halibut!

We ate lots of salmon and halibut.  We deep fried halibut, had salmon baked with citrus and herbs   IMG_0082

and we had some fantastic smoked sockeye salmon, just to eat, and in a cream cheese dip, and in alfredo!

Sockeye salmon cut up for the brine to smoke!

Sockeye salmon cut up for the brine to smoke!

The Jensen home at their fish site on Anton Larson Island (and Bella)

The Jensen home at their fish site on Anton Larson Island (and Bella)

Constance had a greenhouse with several kinds of kale, spinanch, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  We had great salads, and picked raspberries and currants.

Making raspberry ice cream!

Making raspberry ice cream!

Gordon and Denis picking currants.

Gordon and Denis picking currants.

I made jam too!IMG_0172

Apple pie, pumpkin pies, bumbleberry pie, saskatoon and blueberry pie.  And our meals were lucious.  Besides seafood, we cooked enchiladas, meat loaf, roast chicken, pork stir fry, chili rice casserole, and more seafood, including a delicious halibut soup!

Haliut soup!

Haliut soup!

They couldn’t fish (commercially) for several days, so we went sightseeing by boat.  We saw whales every day we were out.  Lots of birds (gulls and puffins mostly):

A cormorant is well hidden in the rocks.

A cormorant is well hidden in the rocks.

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Puffins perched in the rocks.

Puffins perched in the rocks.

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We dropped the 5 young people off at a beach so they could hike to the top of the hill and maybe hunt too.

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Gordon took us bass fishing, while we waited for them to get to the top of the mountain and back down.

We each got our limit of sea bass!

We each got our limit of sea bass!

Caught these beauties with flies.

Caught these beauties with flies.

Going by another bird rookery, we still had time before picking up the kids, so we fished for halibut.IMG_0138I got two halibut.  Denis got lots of rockfish, but we didn’t keep any.  He also caught more bass, but we already had our limit, so we didn’t keep those either.

We looked for our hikers, and they didn’t come out on the beach.

We couldn't find them until Nels fired off a shot.

We couldn’t find them until Nels fired off a shot.

The hikers were sheltering in these rocks along the shore.

The hikers were sheltering in these rocks along the shore.

They went a different direction from the lakes up on top, and were quite a distance down the shore from where we expected them to appear.

After we got back to the house, we had work to do:20160815_163849

There were lots and lots of raspberries, which I just loved to wander by and eat by the handfuls on my way to the outhouse.IMG_0165

While they weren’t fishing, there were other projects:

Denis helped Gordon with a new roof for the shop.

Denis helped Gordon with a new roof for the shop.

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Nels and Ryan went hunting:

Nels first deer of the season, a young spike.  A perfect shot!

Nels first deer of the season, a young spike. A perfect shot!

Nels and Ryan processing venison.

Nels and Ryan processing venison.

And of course all this hard work, meant we all needed a banya.  Now I’m not sure how to spell that.  It’s pronounced “Bawn-ya”, but it’s kind of like a bath and sauna:IMG_0062Wood is hauled in for the fire, and a big garbage can and wash tub filled with water.  The fire is surrounded by rocks, and you can put water on the rocks.  It gets very hot in there.  There are benches and wash bowls, soap, shampoo, and it is a most cleansing experience!

Fishing opened again, and they were back to work.  We kept on cooking (more culinary delights):

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Gordon’s specialty: Barbecued sockeye salmon fish heads

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And they were yummy!

And they were yummy!

and exploring the island on it’s many trails.

Beautiful forest to hike through on Anton Larsen Island.

Beautiful forest to hike through on Anton Larsen Island.

It didn’t rain much, but that didn’t keep us in!20160814_122715

Denis' working corner.

Denis’ working corner.

We fished some more too, and I got another halibut!IMG_0131

Denis and I both got to go out with the fishing crew on one of their picks at their gill net sites.  So interesting!

Gordon at work, and red, pink, silver, and chum salmon in the skiff.

Gordon at work, and red, pink, silver, and chum salmon in the skiff.

Annika, at work.

Annika, at work.

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(that’s Denis waving)  We watched them pitch their fish into their holding skiff,

IMG_0059then later load onto the tender.IMG_0069Watching them race around in circles, we wondered what they were doing:IMG_0067I actually guessed correctly; this is how they flush the fish blood and yuck out of the floor of the skiff.

Nels, Ryan, Annika, and Morgan, the fishing crew.  (Kyle and Gordon too!)

Nels, Ryan, Annika, and Morgan, the fishing crew. (Kyle and Gordon too!)

We grew very attached to this terrific group of young folks!

All too soon, it was time to leave.  Kyle and Nels took us and Constance back to the end of the road to the truck so we could go back to their house in Kodiak.20160816_213827 20160816_213814

 

We had two more days to explore the island, so we went to the Alutiq Museum, and the Baranov Museum.

Fun to see a fish site in the museum, and it looked very similar to the Jensens!

Fun to see a fish site in the museum, and it looked very similar to the Jensens!

In the Baronov Museum

In the Baronov Museum

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The Baronov Museum, (on the right) is the oldest building in Alaska. It used to be the fur warehouse and is still standing because the Russian builders used the Scandinavian method of log construction. It has been used for just about every purpose since Baronov moved the Company Headquarters to Sitka.

Then we drove all  the way to the end of the road at Pasagshak Bay, first lunching at an overlook of the town of Kodiak.IMG_0296We drove past salmon streams and beautiful bays on our way south.IMG_0284

Some of the terrain reminded us of the Big Island of Hawaii!

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Kalsin Bay

Kalsin Bay

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Crossing over to the west side of the island, we discovered surf!

Pasagshak Bay, with sea lions fishing for salmon.

Pasagshak Bay, with sea lions fishing for salmon.

And a few other interesting things:

Bison roaming at the end of the road.

Bison roaming at the end of the road.

A space center building disappearing into the cloud.

A space center building disappearing into the clouds.

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We finished our explorations back at the north end, and caught two more salmon for the road,

Beautiful salt water pink salmon

Beautiful salt water pink salmon

then walked around Fort Abercrombie.

Bald Eagle at Fort Abercrombie

Bald Eagle at Fort Abercrombie

Old military radios, just like Dad's!

Old military radios, just like Dad’s!

Fort Abercrombie Museum communication equipment.

Fort Abercrombie Museum communication equipment.

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Spectacular scenery driving south from Kodiak.

Spectacular scenery from the fort.

Enjoying the fruit of our labors:

Denis was thrilled to cook up his salmon!

Denis was thrilled to cook up his salmon!

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And we are on our way again…… it was hard to say goodbye to Kodiak….. we loved every minute of it!

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On the ferry, I slept on a nice padded children’s play area cubby……. Denis at a table on a bench.  I slept very well!  The trip back was 14 hours, as we also went to Port Lyons and Ouzinkie.

Morning sunrise greets us upon our return to Homer

Morning sunrise greets us upon our return to Homer

What gorgeous weather upon our arrival!

Looking out towards the Homer Spit, and Kachemak Bay

Looking out towards the Homer Spit, and Kachemak Bay

We drove up to Anchorage,

Mount Iliamna, viewed along the road north near Ninilchik

Mount Iliamna, viewed along the road north near Ninilchik

Lucky Wishbone:  a favorite for Beth & Oty's family for decades.  A MUST stop and eat in Anchorage!

Lucky Wishbone: a favorite for Beth & Oty’s family for decades. A MUST stop and eat in Anchorage!

spent the night at our usual abode, Cabella’s parking lot, then after meeting at Wendy and Gordon’s, followed by a gospel meeting in Wasilla, we took a little side trip to Sunshine.

The road into Sunshine

The road into Sunshine

Fishing in a drizzle, and Matt cleaning a silver salmon.

Fishing in a drizzle, and Matt cleaning a silver salmon.

This was a favorite old fishing spot, and there were lots of fish in the stream, but the silvers were about done.  Denis caught a chum salmon and let it go.  We drove on up to Eureka,

There's Denis taking my picture!  (Another traditional food stop for our family and the Kings!)

There’s Denis taking my picture! (Another traditional food stop for our family and the Kings!)

where we had supper at the lodge, then found a great camping spot by several other RV’s and rigs pulling hunting ATV’s.

We scored blueberries!

We scored blueberries!

We walked in a ways on the trails and picked blueberries, and what we thought were low-bush cranberries, but think now they are lingonberries!  IMG_0424

Matanuska Glacier, autumn just beginning.

Matanuska Glacier, autumn just beginning.

IMG_0459Oh, it is beautiful up here!

Soon we were turning south at Haines Junction, driving on into the Yukon and British Columbia, along the Haines Highway.

Kluane Lake

Kluane Lake

Walking a trail in Kluane National Park

Walking a trail in Kluane National Park

We found a lovely camping spot at a state recreation area:

Camped beside the river, with a campfire.

Camped beside the river, with a campfire.

Million Dollar Falls

Million Dollar Falls

On into Haines through low clouds and fog:

Glaciers peeking out of the clouds.

Glaciers peeking out of the clouds.

Trumpeter swans resting and reflecting.

Trumpeter swans resting and reflecting.

There weren’t many eagles yet at the Bald Eagle Preserve, but we saw some interesting fishing on the river, and met Cheryl and Mike.

Morning drift netting on the Chilkat River

Morning drift netting on the Chilkat River

Mike's set net, subsistence fishing on the Chilkat.

Mike’s set net, subsistence fishing on the Chilkat.

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A working fish wheel

A working fish wheel

Hearing there were bear on the Chilkoot River, fishing for salmon (first we saw a mother bear with two cubs, probably last year’s)IMG_0671 IMG_0661

we made our way to the end of the road, camping at Lake Chilkoot.IMG_0582IMG_0572

IMG_0686We saw a mother bear and this year’s cub.

Clouds were lifting, and glaciers were appearing out of the mists around Haines the next day: IMG_0584

There was a small French ship in Portage Cove.

There was a small French ship in Portage Cove.

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Clouds lifting from Haines, and Fort Seward.

Clouds lifting from Haines, and Fort Seward.

We walked around Fort Seward.

A totem pole carving in process in the arts center.

A totem pole carving in process in the arts center.

Totems at the tribal house.

Totems at the tribal house.

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Denis admiring a Model T

Denis admiring a Model T

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And discovered lots of caterpillars on the sidewalks:

The banded woolly bear caterpillar turns into the Isabella Tiger Moth.

The banded woolly bear caterpillar turns into the Isabella Tiger Moth.

Enough small animals, so we went in search of big ones.  Myrna told us they went out to the river about 7:30 p.m., so we did the same and met her and Melissa and the family they were staying with.  IMG_0696

Okay, this is just too close!

Okay, this is just too close!

We encouraged them to leave the area.

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Denis is urging our friends to RETREAT!

Denis is urging our friends to RETREAT!

Mr. Curious says "Goodbye"!

Mr. Curious says “Goodbye”!

And we say “goodbye” to Haines, the beginning of our journey south through Southeast Alaska.

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