Alaska 2015

28 08 2015

Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”

Anchorage Thursday, August 23.

Gail and I landed in Anchorage on July 23 at about 6:45 and by 7:30 we were attending Rosemary’s last soccer game! We got there just in time to see Rosemary kick her first goal of the year. We went out for yogurt after. Great start to the trip.

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Willow Creek, Montana Creek, Talkeetna. Friday, July 24-Saturday, July 25

Friday, July 24 we headed north to Willow Creek one of our favorite trout fishing destinations on the Parks Highway.

Never get tired of seeing Denali as we hit Willow. And let me say this was one amazing trip. I was in AK for a month and had to put my raincoat on one time yes that is right once. And there were virtually no bugs. I’m guessing I got three mosquito bites the whole time and very few no-see-ums (which in AK you can see.)

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Brent picked up this beautiful bow in the first few minutes of fishing. Taped out at 22 inches.

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Wish I could report the same kind of results for Montana Creek but fishing was slow Friday evening and Saturday. The consolation for going north, when any is needed, is the Roadhouse in Talkeetna, Saturday, July 25, . You can see why following. We headed back to ANC for church on Sunday, July 26.

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ANC, Quartz Creek Kenai Peninsula. Sunday August 26-Tuesday, August 28

After church we headed down to the Kenai area. First choice was the Russian River but the campground was full. So we were not disappointed to go with choice two Quartz Creek. While Quartz holds bows it is more well known for its Dolly Varden. The creek held to its reputation producing a bounty of dollies. And one thing we were not expecting an Earthquake! A first for me. It was a little scary. At first I thought it was a semi passing by on the road close at hand but after a few seconds it became obvious it was not. We were standing in the water and it felt as though the rocks beneath my feet were turning in to Jell-O. It was weird.

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This was the view headed back to ANC Monday.

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Whittier to Valdez to Paxson Wednesday, July 29-Sunday, August 2

Another unexpected “bonus” was that the transmission was going out on the RV! So up until this point we were tent camping. Thank the Lord we were able to get the RV into the repair shop before Brent departed. The only problem was that it did not look like they would be able to get the tranny rebuilt before Gail and I were to leave on our “cruise.” We were scheduled to leave Whittier on Wednesday on the Alaska Marine Highway headed to Valdez. So… we rented an RV. We were getting used to things not going as we planned (see Bible verse above) so we were not surprised to get a call from the repair shop late Tuesday saying they were done with our RV! But it was too late to change plans now so off we went. It was great trip. We had never done this before (the Alaska Marine Highway ferry) so we really enjoyed it.

Whittier is a quaint little town, one you have to go through a train tunnel to reach. This is where we put the RV on the Ferry.

Our rental RV.

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We crossed Prince William Sound on our way to Valdez.

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Valdez was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1964. (See earthquake above.) It had to be rebuilt in a different location and is now the terminus of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.

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We spent one night in Valdez, it deserved more, and headed out on Thursday, August 30. Allison Point is a very well known fishing spot near Valdez. The area, home to the Salmon Gulch Fish Hatchery, has a massive run of pinks and not so massive run of silver salmon every year. All of them having found their start at the hatchery.

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One of the first sights we saw, after leaving Valdez, was Bridal Vail falls right next to the highway, very impressive.

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Another sight was Worthington Glacier one of the few glaciers you can walk to right from the road.

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The next stop was the Cooper River at Chitna.  We had hoped to go to the Kennicott Cooper Mine but the RV company does not allow travel on the gravel road that leads to the mine. After looking at the first part of the road it is probably a good idea!

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We made a stop at Copper Center and saw our next RV!

 

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We spent Thursday night at Squirrel Creek campground. Had a blast fishing with three young brothers. Gave two of them their first lesson with a fly-rod. Very humbling as one of them out fished me with a spinning rod, casting bubble and a wooly bugger! The creek dumps into the Tonsina River.

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Continued north on the Richardson Highway Friday. The Wrangle-St. Elias mountains are a sight to behold.

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Friday afternoon found us in one of my favorite places anywhere, the Gulkana River. We first stopped here in 2010 when David, Janis, Gail, and I drove to AK. The monster grayling are one of the things makes it so special to say nothing of the crystal clear river and the surroundings.

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We were back in ANC for church Sunday, August 2.

Willow Creek Part 2 Monday. August 3 – Wednesday August 5

Gail and I went back to Willow Creek on Monday, August 3-5. Brent had to go back to work Tuesday. We once again stayed at the Willow Creek Campground. I managed to pick up my big bow of the trip fishing below the Parks Highway.

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Anchorage/Kenai Wednesday, August 6 – Sunday, August 9

We were back in ANC on Wednesday and Gail Returned home on Thursday. Friday I spent getting ready for our float trip on the Kenai River, Saturday.

I so appreciate Nate Smith for always trying to get me on the Kenai in his raft. This trip was no different. Nate pulled some strings and was able to set things up for Saturday. We were accompanied by Jason and Levi.

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Since the fishing was not all that good (an overstatement) one of the highlights of the trip was watching a brown bear swim all the way across the river. I think if Nate had slowed up he would have gotten in the boat with us!

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Willow Creek/Hatchers Pass  Monday, August 10-Monday, August 17

On Monday I headed back up the Parks to guess where? The Willow. Well I wish I had more to report but the fishing had really slowed down on the Parks. The water had come up from some rain and it seemed to slow the fishing down. Went back to Montana Creek but did not do any good there either. Traveled all the way north to Byers Creek but nada.

The week was saved when Bregitte and the girls came up on Friday and went to Hatcher’s Pass. I have been wanting to go there for several years being an ole’ miner my self. (Phosphate) There is what is left of the areas largest gold mine. It was an awesome journey up the Willow/Fishhook road ant mine area itself very interesting.

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Attended Trailhead Wesleyan Church in Palmer Sunday.

ANC/Brooks River Tuesday, August 18-Saturday, August 22

For the second year in a row (third for Brent) we made the trip over to the Brooks River. Katmai Air arranges the flights and then we camp at the Brooks River Campground. Super nice accommodations, there is also a lodge and they are very good about letting campers have access to cafeteria, showers, etc. (If you are willing to pay.)

Flew on Penn Air from ANC to King Salmon and then float plane from KS to Brooks.

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This is the campground.

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First view off the plane Momma and cub resting on beach.

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You will see bears. You have to go through “bear training” as soon as you land. They are very strict about what you can and cannot do around the bears.

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You will catch fish, for us, trout but there are silvers too and washed out reds and a few pinks…. The sight fishing was incredible. We caught lots of bows to 20 inches and had a couple of shots at much bigger fish but could not close the deal. We will get then next time!

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One of the most awesome pictures lately!

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Headed back to KS.

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ANC/Russian River Sunday, August 23-Wednesday, August 26.

Missed fishing the Russian last year due to my mom’s passing while I was  up.

Left out after church and made the run down south. It was certainly worth the effort. Lots of fish including one taped at 21 inches. The highlight was watching Rosemary cast, hook, and land by her self several bows on the fly-rod. I have a feeling its just the beginning.

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As usual time does fly when you are having fun.

Headed home Wednesday afternoon and arrived safe and sound back, thank the Lord, in Jackson on Thursday morning.