The hardest part about moving to Alaska right as the summer was starting is that we had to spend the first couple weekends we lived here unpacking, buying things for the house, cleaning, and other equally not interesting things INSTEAD of running around exploring this amazing new place we live in.
We knew though that this long weekend meant we were going to finally do some "Alaskan" things. We were committed to exploring as much as we could, and checking off some things on our "Must Do In Alaska List."
First things first? Catch a salmon.
Man did we look the part! We spent Saturday running errands. Picking up a king salmon fishing pole for me (these fish are beasts! None of our small poles would work), picking up those boots I said I needed, line, do-dads, you name it we had it.
On Sunday we got up, packed the dogs and our gear in the truck and headed south to the Kenai Peninsula; the land where the king salmon run.
The drive was nothing short of spectacular of course. Mountains, mountains, and more mountains. Rivers and wildlife, stunning beauty every place we looked. I saw about 24 hikes I want to try, 12 campgrounds I need to check out, and a tiny river town that is BEGGING for me to come spend some time in.
Sadly, even with the gear, the books, the recommendations and the drive, we came home salmonless. We also spent a good 1-2 hours driving around Soldotna, AK with a map yelling at one another. Which is a highly reccomended way to begin a day of fishing.
"WHERE THE HELL ARE WE GOING?"
"I DON'T KNOW I NEED TO GET THE LAY OF THE LAND."
'WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? ARE YOU FUCKING LUIS AND CLARK? PICK A SPOT AND FISH GOD DAMN IT!"
Ahhhh we're so sweet to one another when we're lost.
After all that, driving, yelling, checking about 4 access points that were suddenly for no reason CLOSED, we finally found a spot. A great spot. A spot I'd like to return to and do a little camping. So after all the nonsense we gave that river hell I tell you. Fished like we meant it. But, turns out the salmon are running ESPECIALLY slow this year and have barely made it into the rivers yet.
THANKS ANCHORAGE FISHING BLOG FOR TELLING US TO HEAD TO THE KENAI FOR "EXCELLENT" KING SALMON FISHING.
Watch yourselves salmon. We'll be back.
Now that I can officially say I've fished (fished, not caught. There's a difference!) in Alaska, on Monday I wanted to tackle another item on my list. Hike in Alaska.
I picked up a great book on hikes in our area, checked out some websites, and found about 700 trails I wanted to checkout. But you see, we own Stella. The worlds most high needs pup in America. I can't predict how she'll do with something new, and I had this vision of being four miles in on some hike in the middle of nowhere and Stella just laying down and refusing to walk any further.
So, fearing the worst we decided to take it slow and pick the easiest hike in the book, closest to home that still guaranteed we'd have an amazing view if we only actually made it 1/4 mile in.
I give you, Eklutna Lake.
The hike is up to 26 miles walking directly next to this AMAZING lake. Plus, the trailhead was 25 minutes from our door! Delightful really.
The hike was basically like walking on a dirt road along a lake, which doesn't exactly give you the feel that you're "hiking," but it was a good starter for Stella.
Granted, on the walk back she did lay down twice and had to be coaxed into standing up and finishing our walk, and at one point she started swerving on the trail like a drunk, BUT she did it. I have a feeling Stella wont be reaching the summit of any mountains here soon, but I'm hoping we can build up to it throughout the summer so that soon she's tromping along after 8 miles like it's nothing. Either that or we'll send her to the pound.
Cards are in your hands, Stella.
After all the driving, the fishing, the hiking, and the picture snapping I finally felt like I lived in Alaska and I was so excited about what the rest of the summer might look like.
So, I went to the store and made it official.
Hiking, salmon, gardening.
Yep, I live here.
Now for the good part.
Come visit. This place is as amazing as "they" say it is.
I have a guest room. Now use it.
(not joking. Please come visit me. Especially YOU blog friends!)