Last Days on the Kenai Peninsula
Today will be my last day here at the Halibut Cove CG at Anchor Point, thus the end of my time on the Kenai Peninsula. My week in this campground has been a welcome respite from the cramped, noisy conditions I have experienced in most of the places I have camped here on the Kanai. Adequate spacing of sites makes quite the difference.
As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.
I’ve spent the last several days checking on the eagles on the beach right here at the campground, as well as watching the fishing charters come home and had the opportunity a couple of days ago of seeing up close and personal what a 380 pound halibut looks like. BIG! The huge fish was stretched across the deck of the charter boat and was easily six feet plus long. I can’t imagine what it must take to fight something that size up through 200 feet of water, I’m not sure I would enjoy the experience, sounds like an awful lot of work to me. I am told that once they reach this size, they are not that great to eat so bringing in something this size is mostly for the bragging rights, I suppose, and $$$ if the angler is entered in one of the lucrative halibut derbies conducted around here.
Giving Up on the Fireweed Shots
The image above is of Mount Lliamna on the far shore of Cook Inlet, taken on one of the few blue sky moments I have encountered here in the past few weeks. This inactive volcano tops out at over 10,000 feet in elevation and is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. The prevailing weather patterns here make days like this quite rare. Most of my month and a half down here around Seward and Homer have consisted of gray, dense cloud cover with rain showers almost every day. Never any heavy rain, just overcast conditions almost daily, not prime weather for any great landscape shots.
Notice the fields full of fireweed in bloom in the distant background ( as well as in the foreground ) of the image above, one I took twenty-two years ago on one of the back roads above Homer. I was really hoping to see this again on this trip, but alas, it was not to be.
After fruitlessly roaming hundreds of miles on all the back roads down here on the tip of the peninsula searching for fields of blooming fireweed, I am forced to give up and head north for my camping reservations in Denali National Park. Here and there I am finding small patches of fireweed in bloom but nowhere am I finding the solid pink fields that I remember from my previous trip here. In another week or two, I am sure they will be here in profusion, but I will be several hundred miles north by then.
Moose, Moose, Moose
One thing I have been quite sucessful at finding around here has been moose!
That is, cows and calves, but absolutely no bulls, at least not around here.
Roaming all the back roads in my fruitless search for fireweed landscapes has put me in close quarters with many moose mamas and their offspring.
And it isn’t just out in the boonies that I encounter these guys, I had quite a bit of luck near town on Skyline Drive as well as at the end of East End Road. I imagine that the moms are clever enough to realize that the close proximity to humans and their dwellings, rather than being a bad thing, is actually a much safer spot for their offspring because of the lower incidence of predators this close to humans.
Today, on my last trip into Homer, I encountered this mom and calf grazing along the very end of Skyline Drive. With no traffic, and thus no disturbance, I was able to shoot a ton of images from the car without disturbing this duo. The calf, at first very unsure of what to make of my presence, was particularly endearing. Twice during the half hour I spent with them, the calf approached my vehicle to a distance of only twenty feet or so, staring and sniffing, trying to figure out what I was. Mama fed contentedly and unalarmed just a little farther back.
Staying in your vehicle, not getting out and trying to get closer, is one of the best ways to get some closeup shots of these guys, not to mention safer, since mother moose can be quite protective of their youngsters.
Junior was experimenting with various types of plants, to see just what was palatable, here sampling Cow Parsnip, not sure this is something that they actually do eat,
here trying a bit of metal, heck, how do you know if you don’t try,
and here trying to sample some short mowed grasses, but their long legs make it difficult to graze anything that low to the ground, so …
he has to kneel down to partake, something you also see that they have to do when drinking from a shallow water source.
These calves are a delight to observe as they go about discovering their new world, but as I head farther north I hope I can can locate some of these guys Dads.
And so I depart the Kenai Peninsula, heading first to Anchorage, and the Toyota dealersip there for my 40,000 mile routine maintenance service, then a little farther north to the Wasilla area for a few days of exploration, before continuing north to Denali National Park and my reservations within the park at the Telanika Campground at the end of the month.
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