Absolutely by far one of our most favorite places to visit each year is the bayside town of Homer, AK. It is on the very end of the Sterling Highway on the Kenai Peninsula … then via the “Spit”, goes into the Kachemak Bay waters of the Cook Inlet. To say that the town and location are beautiful is a bit of an understatement. See, if you’re a fan of the mountains, glaciers, waters, cliffs, birds, fishing, kayaks, flowers, art, good food, and of course, bald eagles, you can’t get better than Homer!
On our way there, we always stop at an area called Happy Valley, where one can walk out on a lot, which has been “for sale” for as long as I can remember. There the fabulous green grass path leads you to the cliff area, with the Cook Inlet below. As you look across, you are treated on a clear day to views of Lake Clark NP and Katmai NP, including the peaks of Mt. Iliyamna, Mt. Redoubt, and Mt. Douglas. I find myself just wanting to bring my lunch and picnic in the cool breeze and take it all in …. ahhhh!
Upon entering the seaside community, the visitor is immediately taken by the views of the cliffs, covered with blooming fireweed and other beautiful blooms, as more often than not, beautiful skies and gorgeous clouds.
Almost immediately, the first glimpses of the bald eagles, which are plentiful in numbers, begin to occur. In fact, if you just pay attention, they seem to be everywhere … on the shores, flying low over the bay, resting on the steeples in the area. Both the mature, as well as the immature and young eaglets are common photographic opportunities.
Towards the end of the spit, we found a large colony of seabirds, including the black-footed kittiwake nesting under the pier. They seemed to be everywhere, once your eyes adjusted to their presence… in flight overhead …
… in their “nesting condos” on the supports of the pier dock ….
… resting on the surface of the chilly waters of the bay.
Of course, that’s not all that was hanging out not far from the shore of Kachemak Bay. We also spotted this lovely seal, which entertained us for quite some time. Funny how, like much of wildlife, they seem to be as curious about us as we are about them.
Driving on the East End Drive, we also came across more sandhill cranes on their migration journey. I find it so fascinating when they prepare for landing in the area … they almost look like paratroopers coming in.
Speaking of paratroopers, this year we also were treated to photographing a local motorized paraglider as he prepared, took off, and did several landings, only to have him take off again. One year Tom got to paraglide, non-motorized at Alyeska … I tried, but the winds changed direction and it was no longer safe after Tom took off. To this day, I’m not sure if I was happy or sad about that. 🙂
An annual tradition for us is our walk along Bishop’s Beach … preceded by a quick stop at Two Sisters Bakery (an absolute MUST!) … looking for bald eagles, sandhill cranes, other wildlife, and listening to the sound of mostly just the wind blowing and the seabirds calling out. Of course, the day on the beach would not be complete without a cairn building session. Each year our cairn grows by one rock … one rock for each year that we’ve been together. Seems like each year it gets harder to build, but I guess that’s how life is … something worth building, or keeping, should never be easy or taken for granted.
For the next Blog post, I will have Tom share with you some of the images from one of our walks along the beach, with a very special guest in attendance …. all images taken by Tom! Until then … hope that you’re enjoying following along with our 2013 adventure to AK.