Seriously, where else, but Alaska, can you have this much fun in one day? We felt the earthquake this morning in Houston, AK; both accusing the other of shaking the camper. There were no bears outside so we checked the news. Sure enough, at 8:48am, a 4.1 earthquake with epicenter just northwest of us.
We set out to find Beluga whales in Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet. Our timing was bad but we did see 4 Dall Sheep on the rocky ridge above Beluga Point on Hwy 1 south of Anchorage. As we kept going south, on the Seward Hwy, thousands of other weekenders joined us. They all beat us to the campgrounds we were headed for around Hope. Palmer, Wasilla, Houston and Willow are all in the Mat-Su Valley. It’s this big, flat valley that the Matanuska and Susitna Rivers made as they drained out of the surrounding mountains that seem to shoot straight up. Anchorage is also in a flat area but I’m not sure it is considered in the Mat-Su Valley. Anyway, as we headed south, around Turnagain Arm, we got back into the mountains. With reports of the King (Chinook) salmon starting to show up, the fishermen are headed for combat fishing. We saw some of it going on when we passed the Russian River, headed towards Soldotna. Although, they announced an emergency closure of the Ship Creek (runs through Anchorage) due to the low numbers of chinook. They counted around 250 when they expected around 700.
We ended up staying at Deep Creek State Park on the Cook Inlet. It is on the Ninilchik River. We can see Mt Redoubt across the bay from us. We got lucky with the weather. They say they haven’t been able to see the plume of steam for a week or so. I wanted to get a good sunset pic with Redoubt. We stayed up until midnight to do it. There are tons of Bald Eagles here. They are adults raising their young. The picture is of 2 young ones fighting over a dead fish. They land on the sand bars in the river and out by the bay when the tide goes out. When we first got in, we noticed all these fish jumping just about 10′ offshore. We found out they are the Reds (salmon) getting ready to come up the river. Fishing is closed right here at the mouth of the river but it’s incredible to watch them. They come way out of the water. Maybe they are trying to knock off the sea lice? The beach is all rocks; no sand. People ride their ATV’s on it and the boats are launched with, either 2 ATV’s or one tractor.