- Lyndell Daniel
Sadly our stay had come to an end at Lake Clark. We had met many interesting people during our adventures and I was going to miss spending our days with the bears and being surrounded by such beautiful scenery. The pilot had radioed and informed he would arrive around 3pm, which enabled us to complete a hike and spend some more precious time watching the bears frolic and play in the water and fields.
Do not despair though, as we were moving on to another adventure, so spirits were high and excitement was rising in anticipation of what to expect rafting down the Kenai River into the backcountry for the next 3 days.
We spent a glorious night on the banks of the Kenai River, with consistent rain all night. We woke however, to a beautiful sunny, fresh morning. An early start, as we had in front of us, a four to five hour raft down the Kenai River before reaching Skilak Lake, where we would spend the next couple of days. One of the locals told me that there is a 70m drop from Kenai Lake to Skilak Lake, so it was a fairly effortless scenic raft down the river.
As you drift down the Kenai river, you will come across many people fishing and rafting. This is a very popular spot for all types of fish and you can easily see the salmon in the water beside you.
After rafting down the Kenai River, you enter into Skilak lake, which is where we would spend the next couple of days. The waters are freezing, but a quick dip before bed, ensures a restful nights sleep.
Our paradise for the next couple of nights. We may have had the bare essentials (bed) but it was good enough for President Carter and his wife to spend time in our little cabin.
What can I say, when you wake up to, and fall asleep to this view. We spent many hours, especially late at night kayaking around these waters, watching the vast wildlife in the area.
Dinner is served.........
This view was the culmination of the day's hike. The hike took us through thick scrub and many sightings of bear scat, so the constant "hey bear" was heard many, many times. The hike is a fairly steep climb that takes you up to about a 2200 foot elevation. The perfect spot for lunch.
On the way back down, we found these 3 baby bears with poppa bear.
When you travel with us, there is no end to the mishaps, adventures and stories that we can tell; and this was no exception. We took the short boat trip back to the mainland and had organised to stay overnight on the Kenai River again. This meant we could spend all of the afternoon hiking back to our accommodation. We met Kellie (picture above) who turned out to be a guide on the Kenai River. She wanted to hike the 10 miles to a beautiful waterfall she hadn't been to before, and as this is bear country, it's advisable to hike in groups of three. Kellie thought she knew the way. As we walked along the track (which I though was strange for a hike to the waterfall) swiping and swallowing the millions of bugs that seemed to want to join us, we had a car pass us. A quick, "this seems strange" to Kellie from me, which was brushed off and we continued walking. Around the 6 mile mark, the car came back along the track, at which time we flagged them down and asked about the waterfall. "Oh you're on the wrong track" was the reply, as they took off and we were left having to walk back the 6 miles we had just come. It turns out the actual hike to the waterfall was a mere 20 metres further down the road from where we turned in.
As the sun was getting lower and we wouldn't have time to walk the 10 miles in again to the waterfall, we decided to hike up the other side of the valley to take in the views of the Kenai River. And yes, Kellie accompanied us.
The colours surrounding the river are magnificent and the views go for miles.
As we climbed higher we had such wonderful views of the Kenai River. You may not have noticed, but that's us on the top of the rock.
At the end of the hike, we took a quick dip in the "ever so cold" water and Peter tried to hand catch some of the salmon. Needless to say, if I was waiting for fish for dinner, I would have gone hungry.
From here, follow us to Aialik Bay, Alaska.