Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 26 along the Russian-Kenai River

Cooper Landing-Kenai Peninsula :
Raining again, at least that is what it looks like. Little drops, when they hit the roof, a noise is made. And the ground is wet, yep, wet. That’s what it is all right rain. We expected rain on Saturday (July 25th), but as we traveled it was a lovely day until we got on the Seward Highway. The wind came up and clouds came in and sometime during the night it started. Not heavy, but steady and lite drip, drip and more drips.

So where are we, we are in a fishing spot along the Russian-Kenai river, this  area is managed by a concessionaire, titled Alaska Recreational Management Inc. It is located in the Chugach National Forest, and for the small sum of cash, you can camp in the parking lot along with all the fishing people. Stay limit is 48 hours, then you must leave for 24 hours and come back in if ones wants to. But as I look out, I really do not  think they are sticking to the 48 hour rule. How come you ask, well there is a lot of room available in both parking lots and not a lot of vehicles are driving in. But our plan is to spend 2 days to see the area.

Location - W 60.48512, N150.00821

So, here we are, sitting out the rain, and figuring out our next steps.  This evening we are taking an oar-guided rafting trip down the river. This one will be a drift trip, one where you sit in a rubber raft and slowly drift down the river.
BUT!, while waiting, Susan heard the word BEAR!, she grabbed her camera and went running in search of this elusive creature… Whoa there, what's that on the other side of the river? It’s a Grizzly which happened to be on our side but swam across the river to the other side for a stroll on that river band and to see how many fishermen/women he could scare into the water and maybe snag a fish they had caught....or was it to...

Now why did the bear cross the River?
Why to read the sign of course.

But 5 o’clock came along and it was time to head out to the rafting company, so we headed up the road. Our guide was Kenny, a 26 year Maine resident. He travels in the summer to rafting jobs and in the winner he heads to ski towns to teach and skiboard. He explained this is his love and he loves the different places he goes to.

We got dressed in rubber waders, rubber boots and weather jacket. It’s not because of the river, I can tell you this. It is mainly because of the rainy weather we were having. We went through the safety intructions, where we would be heading and maybe some of the sights. This is not your class 3,4 or 5 river rafting trip. This is a rubber raft, which can hold up to 10 people, total of 11, with the guide. Kenny provides the power sitting in the center, he along with the current.  We drifted down the Kenai river until we meet up with the Russian river. 

Our plan was to drift down about 11 miles and see what we can see. That along with the rain did not really make for a wonderful trip, especially as it was in the low 50’s that day. So dress warmly, wear 2 pairs of socks and bring something to keep your hands WARM.

Kenny talked about the sights along the way and other interesting things. But let’s face it, drifing down a river, slowly drifting down in the rain will not make it a great trip.

So what will make it wonderful, why seeing wildlife, of course: Our first encounter was of an eagle on the bank having dinner.  
At this point he was thinking "don’t you dare try to take my fish".

Hey, things were looking up, we saw an Eagle and a American Bald Eagle at that. We continue to drift, and what did you think was going to happen? We are drifting down and at a pretty good pace. It is not easy to go against the currents flow.  As we continued down and what else did we see?

Another Bald Eagle on the side of the river bank:
We both were amazed, as we continued we lost count of how many adults and younger bald eagles we saw. Young eagles do not get the white crown until they are 5 years old.

We lost count after a dozen of the wonder birds. We contnued to drift down the river hoping to see signs of bear life. Kenny, was saying as we rounded a corner, if we see a bear it will be here…..
But as we rounded the corner, all we saw were fisherpeople and a dog barking. We contniued along and wait, what is that behind us, is it, I think it is a bear just came out of the woods:
But, we kept drifting down and before long we could not see it anymore. But wait, what are those people pointing at? Is it ?
Yes, it is another bear having dinner and not sharing it with the birds. Kenny was on track, be quite, and don’t move:
Let’s see how close we can get

Folks, the reason that the last photo is out of focus…. Well the camera lens requires the subject, in this case Mrs Bear, to be at least 8 feet away. Yes, we were closer then 8 feet from this Bear. Oh by the way that was Mrs Grizzle Bear to us drifters.

Ok, so where are we heading? We are heading to Ninilchik, where we plan on spending the night at Deep Creek Beach State Park, overlooking Cook Inlet viewing the mountains.

Location: 60.03141, -151.71009
Our final stop on this leg will be staying at the City of Homer Campground for $15/night – dry camping

As Susan Says SeeYa

Safe Travels and Journeys 

Della                     &                      Tilly