To paraphrase Yogi Berra ( I think ), ” It’s like deja vu all over again”.
This morning I left my roadside boondocking site on the Exit Glacier Road in Seward after two nice nights of listening to the babbling of the Resurrection River, just a few feet from my bedroom window. I made the return drive up the Seward Highway to pick up the Sterling Highway to Soldatna and watched the temperature climb as I made the short trip west. By the time I arrived in Soldatna around noon, the thermometer was registering 91 degrees! My Milepost says that the average high temperature in July for Soldatna is 65 degrees, and this is a month earlier. Guess we’ll have to have a few days in what’s left of this month where the temps don’t get above freezing to make the averages work out. Kinda doubt that’s going to happen.
I speak of deja vu because on my last, and only, other visit to Alaska in 1993, it was a record breaking warm summer. I remember many nights struggling to get any sleep when it was still sunny at 11 PM and the temps were still in the high 80’s or even 90 degrees. I sure hope this doesn’t continue too long. The heat has produced one large forest fire near Willow and i could see the smoke from a second major fire quite close by as I drove through Sterling, just 10 miles from where I am today at the Centennial Park Campground on the Kanai River here in Soldatna.
Soldatna’s Centennial Campground
I had read that it was all but impossible to snag a site in this campground but decided to give it a try anyhow, and was surprised to find most of the campground empty, and found myself camped in a semi-shaded site with no neighbors in sight, despite the fact that the sites are right on top of one another. Most of the sites are level gravel pads with lots of spruce trees between sites. There are no hookups, but there is a water filling station, dump station, and dumpsters. I get 3 bars of 3G on my JetPac here and a couple of Anchorage stations with my over the air TV antenna. The reason for no crowds, I am told, is that there are only King Salmon running right now and the season for them here is closed. No fishing, no people camping here. In another few weeks, I was told, the campground will be full, as Reds and then Silver Salmon migrate up the Kenai River.
Tuesday, June 16, Day Trip to Homer
With the temperatures today again hitting the high 80’s and no relief from the heat at the campground, I decided to take an air conditioned road trip to check out my next destination, Homer.
On the way south I stopped at Ninilchik to check out the Russian Orthodox church there. Not a terribly imposing structure but the overgrown cemetery with all its wooden crosses made for a nice composition or two.
As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.
Below the bluff where the church is located is the very small village of Ninilchik, with a nice little boat harbor that has seen better times.
I also checked out the Anchor Point boondocking site on the beach, a spot I remembered staying in when I visited in 1993. Back then, I had to actually drive along the edge of the beach itself to access the camping area, an undeveloped piece of dry land between the river and the inlet. Today, there is a gravel road all the way in and actual designated campsites, several that are right on the edge of the beach. There is plenty of room for a big rig to turn around out here, though no facilities. There is a camping fee charged at a self pay station. Today there were a few sites open, but once the salmon are running here, the place will be packed.
In Homer I checked out a couple of the commercial campgrounds to see if getting a decent site with utilities was a possibility, since I may stay there a couple of weeks. Well, at $78 and $50 a night, I am going to have to hope I can snag one of the muni Homer Spit campsites at $15 and hope the sun shines so I have some electricity. The Spit certainly looks interesting … but it is mobbed!
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