Day 24, Saturday, 5/12/18
Soldotna, Alaska

Anchorage, the big city! We decided to hightail it out of there for the Kenai peninsula. South on 1 just outside of Anchorage is the Cook Inlet. It's named after James Cook, who in 1778. sailed into it searching for the elusive Northwest Passage. Interestingly, William Bligh of HMS Bounty fame was the sailing master on this voyage.

Cook Inlet
Cook Inlet
Dangerous Mud Flats

Rte 1 turns to the east along Turnagain Arm (named by Bligh). Turnagain Arm is like a giant funnel lined by mountains on both sides creating large tides (+-40 feet), sometimes with a tidal bore wave of 4 - 5 feet travelling at 5-6 mph. Some people even surf the bore! The mud flats are composed of glacial silt that acts very much like quicksand. People have died here. See this.

We stopped at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, just south of Portage. It's more of a zoo than a rehab/release center as they take injured animals and give them a place to live. They have caribou, musk ox, moose, black and brown (grizzly) bears, an eagle and assorted other critters. We watched the grizzly bears for a while and their behavior is looking a bit neurotic. As might be expected. They were walking in circles, back and forth.

Neurotic Brown Bear

Black Bear Cub
We got to Soldotna sometime around five. It sits on the Kenai river and is a draw for hunting, fishing, rafting, canoeing and hiking. The salmon will start their spawning run up the Kenai sometime in May. Lots of guided rafting, hiking, hunting (moose, caribou, bear.)

We stayed at a place on the river. Across the bridge was an elevated river walkway. The walkway was built to keep people away from the river's edge and help protect the bank and its flora. Mostly used for fishing with a few flat surfaces for cleaning fish. All scraps have to be chopped and thrown into the river to be swept away by the current. This is a precaution to keep bears away. Leaves are starting to pop here, a light yellow green.

River Walkway
Kenai River
Tomorrow, after tooling around awhile, we head for Homer.

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