I haven’t been back to Alaska since COVID-19 hit. I used to go there to visit my mom and stepdad every year, while she was living in Anchorage. They recently moved to Kenai, it’s about a 3-hour car ride away from where they were. Kenai River is known for its salmon fishing and since my mom loves fishing they both decided to move there, so that way she can go fishing every day without a long drive each time.
I have visited Kenai before, but mainly to go fishing with my family, so I didn’t have much opinion about it at the time. This trip was mainly to hang out with my mom for her (late) birthday, and the goal was to do things she likes, which were mushroom foraging and fishing. But since she had recently gone fishing and got about 40+ sockeye salmon (a few hundred lb.) just a few days before I got there, we mainly just foraged, which was amazing. But the icing on the cake was when I met up with a good friend of mine by Skilak Lake. Spencer is my friend from Colorado, he had recently relocated for a job in Sterling, about 30 miles away from where my family lives.
Spencer works as a tour guide at Kenai Backcountry Lodging. A quiet little hidden gem tugged away by Skilak Lake, and the easiest way to get there is by boat. He offered me a place to stay at the cabin if I wished to spend the night. He sent me a link to a place via Google Map, and lazy as I am that was all I looked at. I saw what looked like a cabin to me (which it wasn’t) and it seemed to be uncomfortable or at least seemed like a lot of work to just get in and out of the cabin, so I politely declined and chose to do a day trip instead. Well, it turns out what I thought as a cabin was a replica of an old food cache–it’s a place where it used to store food so the bear can’t get to it. The 9 cabins are actually on the ground and there were proper bathrooms and wifi…
Even though it was a short trip, 6 hours to be precise, it was magical. I jammed packed the activities that I would enjoy the most which were, kayaking, foraging (essentially a 3-mile fairly steep hiking), and playing table tennis, which is, practically, a triathlon. The only thing that I wish I had done more was to capture this beautiful place with my nicer camera, but due to the time I had, trying to beware of bears, and being eaten alive by mosquitos, it was hard to stand still to capture an image.
And by the end of the day, I didn’t want to leave.