Stayed at Fred Myers in Soldotna last night. Filled our gas tank for $4.17/gal. regular, bought supplies, dumped our waste tanks and filled our water tank so we were good to go. It was 44 degrees F. and overcast this morning and even with the heater running it feels cold stepping out of the morning shower when it is that cold outside. Must be psychological but it feels cold when it looks cold outside. The sun came out later in the morning so it warmed up and turned into a beautiful, sunny day with the temp. in the high 60′s. We took off headed first to “The Moose is Loose” bakery to pick up more of the really great tasting dark bread they make and RATS! it was closed for July 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Oh well, we’ll make do with the bread we have. We’re now traveling east and then north as we leave the Kenai Peninsula behind.
Will boondock tonight along the Sterling Highway as it runs through the Chugach National Forrest.
The town of Sterling with a population of a little more than 5000 is small but it is located at the confluence of the Moose and Kenai Rivers so it is heavily dependant on the tourist and the fishing enthusiasts. They offer all types of services to those who want to be on these waters for fishing, to take commercial float trips, for canoeists and campers. The salmon aren’t running in their usual high numbers so business is suffering as is the the sports fisherman that came here from the lower 48 for his two week vacation and is now going home practically empty handed.
Wanted to see something of the town of Sterling so turned off the Sterling Highway to Bing Landing where there’s a state run campground, day use area and boat ramp into the Kenai River. We stopped and talked with the “Camp Host” who is a resident of Sterling and just stays here for the “season”. While standing there chatting with her, I noticed a mama moose and her baby nibbling on the young willow shoots on the grassy hill next to the day use parking lot. The mama and baby looked healthy but when the baby walked you could see it had injured it’s leg somehow making it probably not long for this world where running is essentially the only defense for a moose. Nature can be rather harsh.
The color of the Kenai River, as well as numerous other bodies of water in this area, is a beautiful light turquoise color, said to be caused by ultra-fine, suspended silt from glacial melt. Didn’t see anyone catch a fish here but the surroundings are lovely and peaceful.
Also stopped to see the Russian River Campground as it is in the Chugach National Forest and seemed like a good entry into the forest. There were a lot of folks camping and waiting to get a campground site in the campground so it is very busy here probably because the Russian River runs through here and there is usually good fishing. The area looked lovely and seemed like it would be a pleasant place to stay.
This place is even smaller than Sterling with a population of only about 350 people many of whom depend on the tourist trade, fishing, and campers for income. Stopped repeatedly along the Sterling Highway and many times in Cooper Landing to see the rivers, lakes and creeks. We ate lunch along the Kenai River, relaxed and enjoyed the beauty of the area.
On one of our stops along the Kenai River, we met some nice RVers from Washington. They, too, are loving their visit to Alaska and we chatted awhile about some of the places each had visited or planned to visit.
Another important stop for us was a visit the Post Office in Cooper Landing to mail more postcards. We admit, we’re both in full-blown grand kid withdrawal. It has now been months since we’ve seen them. They’re all quite young and we know they are changing quickly as little ones are wont to do. This feeling of missing the family is the only difficult thing about travelling for us.
Took a few short hikes along some of the many trails that are found in this area. This time we were well prepared for the mosquitoes. As we hiked along, we could see that moose had been in the area so we knew there had to be bear around. We didn’t see any bear but we made plenty of noise as we walked along just in case. One time, at Eguman Lake trail, the path was so filled with water we turned back from the hike rather than get wet. The woods are quite thick along most of these trails so as soon as you are away from the road, it becomes almost silent except for the slight wind in the trees, the trickle of water near-by, or the sound of your footsteps. Lovely.