Once upon a time on a trip to Alaska, day 23

Kenai, Alaska

Saturday, July 7, 1973

We drove out of thick fog in Seward into sunshine at the town of Kenai on this day.  Kenai is a small community in the northwest corner of the Kenai Peninsula, and was only a couple of hours from Seward.  We stopped along the way when my father spotted some Dall sheep.  The sheep, the size of deer, were quite some distance away, because they “were like small dots on the hillside.”

Once we arrived in Kenai, we decided to spend the night at the municipal campground.  My diary says that the trailer got stuck in the sand and that we had to be towed out of it, and that this happened because we followed the wrong directions.  I’m sure my father was not amused.

But we got settled in our campsite, which was close to the ocean, and spent the afternoon at the beach.  I got my shoes covered in mud walking down to the water’s edge, and we were dive-bombed by arctic terns, which took exception to us walking on their beach.

Arctic tern

They might have been nesting, but they certainly weren’t happy with us being there.

My father poked around in the copious piles of driftwood lying about, and cut a few pieces to take home.  One of the pieces was shaped kind of like a whale, and it sat on our patio for years.  Another was shaped sort of like a slingshot, and when we got home my mother (or maybe one of my sisters, who all got married two years before we made this trip, and so weren’t with us) macraméed a hanging planter using it as the base.  This was the seventies, after all.  That also hung from our patio ceiling for years after we got back..

In the evening, after rhapsodizing in my diary about a supper of barbecued steaks and baked potatoes, my father and I went back to the beach and walked around some more.  On our way back up the trail, we had a close encounter with the largest porcupine I’ve ever seen.  He had to be at least two feet long.  He was waddling down the trail, and was completely unimpressed by us as we scurried out of his way.

Porcupine, not nearly as big as the one we saw.

By the way, I had no idea that when I went to look for porcupine photos on the web I would find so many photos of dogs after a close encounter, with their muzzles full of spines.  Ouch!

True Gold, a novel about the Klondike Gold Rush, is now available through Amazon and Smashwords