In Which We Try Many Things and Only Sometimes Succeed

Riddle: What happened here?

Riddle: What happened here?

 

This morning dawned a bit cooler due to the rain, but we made ourselves french toast on the camp stove and packed our tents without complaint. We planned to move down to Anchor River today, but only for one night as there are only three places that we really needed to trap (instead of our usual four of five in a day). Having a little extra time, we decided to go for a hike on Skilak Lake Road where there are many trails with excellent views of the lakes in the area. We’d already heard about one trail from our campground hosts.

After packing up camp, we set off down the road and found a nice little trail marked at 1.5 miles.

 

Rachel

Rachel

 

It was a beautiful walk at first. The lupines and roses were all in full bloom, and we had a nice view of lake and mountains off to our left. The trail was easy enough, and there was no one else around to interrupt the peaceful morning.

And then we came across this:

 

Bear scat. In the middle of our hiking trail.

Bear scat. In the middle of our hiking trail.

 

We both stopped and looked at each other for a few minutes, weighing our options. There are plenty of black bears in the area; we saw a few of them last year and have heard of other people seeing them this year. The omnipresent issue of how to deal with wildlife is something most people deal with in Alaska. Even Anchorage has more than a thousand wild moose living within the city limits! Anyway, we decided to hike up the trail a little longer, talking a little louder, being a little more aware.

Cue second pile of scat.

“Well, I’m pooped! Let’s head back to the car!”

Yes. And we hiked all .5 miles of it. Honestly.

Yes. And we hiked all .5 miles of it. Honestly.

 

Off to Anchor River we went.

On the way, we picked up the traps we’d thrown the day previously and found something very unusual at Encelewski Lake (in answer to the above riddle).

Lauren: "Um, I don't think this is going to catch anything."

Lauren: “Um, I don’t think this is going to catch anything.”

 

Seems some moose decided to take a little walk on the shoreline, and… well… The moose is a rather large animal. Needless to say, only nine out of ten traps caught at Encelewski.

We moved on down the peninsula, threw traps at Deep Creek, Anchor River, and Mud Bay, toured around the city of Homer for awhile (because it is gorgeous and nothing like the other cities on the Kenai). We set up camp quite close to the beach at Anchor River. I fell asleep listening to the roar of the ocean, the rush of the wind past my tent, and the calls and cackling of bald eagles along the waterfront. It was glorious.

In the morning, I stumbled bleary-eyed to the bathroom and ran into the campground host on my way back to the car to fetch a peanut butter sandwich. He tilted his head at me and asked if I hadn’t been a little cool last night. I laughed it off (thinking of our Kenai trip last year where we experienced MUCH lower temperatures) and told him I was used to it. …and then I found out that Lauren had slept in the car because the wind whistling around her camping hammock had frozen her out. Oops.

At least it turned into a wonderful day with the sun shining, the eagles flying, and little kids fishing in the river with their parents. We ended our Kenai camping trip on a high note by camping Resurrection Bay and hanging around the city of Seward which I had never been to. But of course, we were glad to be back in Anchorage where the showers and beds were, and even happier that more of our lab members will be coming up to join us in short order.

 

Anchor River beach front. Apparently the locals will take old trees and bury them with the roots up for eagles to land on. I saw plenty of crows sitting in the gnarled twists of wind-blasted wood, but all of the eagles were out in the middle of the marsh grass, stealing scraps left by the weekend fishermen.

Anchor River beach front. Apparently the locals will take old trees and bury them with the roots up for eagles to land on. I saw plenty of crows sitting in the gnarled twists of wind-blasted wood, but all of the eagles were out in the middle of the marsh grass, stealing scraps left by the weekend fishermen.

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