Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Soldotna to Hyder

So finally the fish came, and in abundance!  From very little to over 300,000 in one day.  The fish started pouring in to Soldotna on Tuesday July 16th.  Dean and I decided to take a half day Halibut charter out of Homer on that day.  We didn't regret it because we both came back with 2 nice Halibut for a total of 31 lbs of meat.  Added to our 20 from the previous charter we have how 51 lbs. of Halibut.  The half day charter is the way to go.  Half the price, half the time on the water, and everybody caught 2 fish!  The fish are not barndoor size - most under 20 lbs  - but everybody caught one and no one got seasick.  When we got back to Soldotna all of our group had limited out that day (for the first time in 3 weeks) with 3 each.  On Wednesday we went fishing and caught 5 and then Thursday we caught 6.  Friday I think we were both tired.  That day I caught a nice one and then fell into the water trying to land my second one.  I was ready to quit.  Dean caught a small one and said that was enough for him.  One of the pictures below is Dean cleaning the fish.  We fished twice more during the next week and only caught one.  So the excitement lasted for about 4 days and then the fish count went down.  But we filled our freezer and that was our goal.  One of the pictures is of the Kenai River - combat fishing at the  locals call it - on the weekend of the big run.

We meet some really nice folks - Jack and Robin Ross - who live in Soldotna fulltime.  Jack took us fishing and one day we all went over to their house and smoked salmon all day.  We played cards, worked on a zigsaw, and marveled over the quilts that Jack has made.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Rosses. 

Dean and I went clamming a couple of more times and got our limit both times - 25 each.  They are razor clams and some of them were small but we froze about 15 sacks of clams to bring back.

The last weekend in Soldotna we attended a Hobo Jim show again at Hooligans and went to the Progress Day Parade (Soldotna's big event of the year) and sawfeast ( chainsaw carving competition).  That afternoon after being in Soldotna for 33 days we decided to move to Seward.  The Moore's and the Schindel's also left that day but the Poutney's stayed on to fish another day!  We caught 14 salmon between the two of us, Ron caught 39 fish by himself!

In Seward we stayed by the water in a great spot.  We could see the fishing boats leaving the dock in the morning and the cruise boats leaving in the afternoon.  We went to the Sealife Aquarium the first day and walked around the town.  We had a HH with the Schindel's, Moore's, Keith and Sandy the first night.  The second day we went on a Glacier cruise with the Moore's and Schindel's.  We saw lots of sealife - puffins, otters, sea lions, seals, porpoises, and humpback whales.  And we saw two glaciers one of which did a tremendous amount of calving while we were there.  It was a great tour.  The last day in Seward I did a short bike ride and looked at all the murals (Seward is the mural capitol of Alaska)  and hiked a little on Marathon Mountain.  What a killer hike!  I can't believe that people do this hike in under 45 minutes.  It is so steep that I just looked up one section - I would not even try to go up it!
We moved out to Exit Glacier and found a great boondocking spot looking up at the Glacier.  The next day the Moore's and Schindel's joined us for hiking on the glacier.  Then we said our goodbyes to these great friends we have spent so much time with this summer.

We started our drive home - going from Exit Glacier to the Junction of Hope the first night.  The second day was a long day going from South of Anchorage to Tok. The roads were not great!  We stopped at Canyon Creek bridge which was very pretty.  The worst day for roads was from Tok to Whitehorse - lots of gravel, frost heaves, roller coaster pavement.  This was undoubtedly the worst road in Alaska that we traveled!  We pulled into Whitehorse beat!  And who did we run into - the Poutney's!  Now we are traveling with our good friends and the couple we started this journey with.  The first night we stayed at a great camp spot on the Cassiar Hwy.  When we got there we could hear Loons (there was 2 adults and 1 chick) and elks bugling in the distance.  The weather has turned very warm and the water at this lake was so clear we decided to go swimming.  It was so refreshing!  The second night we stayed again by a lake on the Cassiar.  I picked raspberries.