miles walked

Currently: 43 degrees, partly cloudy, Moose Pass, AK. Watching a VHS tape of Air Force One with really bad tracking.

What’d We Do?

This morning we woke up in Homer and decided to forego the breakfast included at the hotel because we heard such great things about a bakery down the road. Seriously, everyone we’ve met from bar patrons in Anchorage (230 miles away), passengers aboard the train and the woman who ran the museum tour yesterday gave glowing reviews of this place and said it couldn’t be missed. So we made the quick 2 minute drive to old town Homer and arrived at Two Sisters Bakery to order some cinnamon buns for breakfast. They were delicious. We also grabbed a couple cookies for the road.

After breakfast we drove a few miles to the Homer Spit which is a narrow strip of land that extends five miles out into Kachemak Bay. The Alaska Highway ends at a sign that reads “Lands End” which marks the end of the most westerly highway in North America.

We parked at the end of the road, explored the beach and admired the mountain peaks across the bay. After a quick stroll beneath the piers and watching the Coast Guard prepare their boat, we headed back to the middle of the spit to explore some shops. One thing we learned about Alaskans is they’re not fond of waking up early, so very few shops were open for business mid-morning.

In back of the shops was the harbor which was almost completely full of boats as the bay has been experiencing rough seas. We had read that the “Time Bandit” from Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch calls this harbor home, and Kirsten was on a mission to find it. After walking along all of the docks, we consulted a map and noted there was an additional road that flanked the back of the harbor, so we found the car and headed over. On that side of the harbor we easily found the boat and Kir was way more excited to see it than I expected. We also found another group of people that you would think discovered Santa Claus due to their excitement. Along the drive over, we also found the “Cornelia Marie” that was also featured on the show which was beached and under repair.

Next we headed back towards town in search of lunch but stopped to explore a wetland area on the way. A car of friendly Alaskans stopped to tell us there was a bull moose that had been camped out nearby, but we didn’t spot him. The overlook was located right next to the Homer airstrip so we spent some time watching cargo planes flying in and out of the airport.

Kir took on her usual Yelp-ing duties to find us a great lunch spot and today’s selection was amazing. We stopped at Maura’s Cafe which was just a block up from the bakery in old town. We each ordered sandwiches and soup and found a table outside to look out at the mountains and beach while we ate. They brought the food out to us and woah, it was crazy good. The soup was a tomato bisque which came drizzled with pesto and had a spicy kick to it, and it was addicting. Kir noted it was one of her top 10 best meals ever and said “I would fly up here again just to eat there.”

After lunch we stopped in at the Oceans and Islands Visitor’s Center, stamped our national parks passports with their Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge stamp and headed out on a quick hike. The trail wound through marsh and bordered a town park where kids were flying kites. As I was playing with my camera and setting up a shot of the beach an Australian couple interrupted to tell me about an eagle they had sighted nearby. We headed in the direction that they had pointed to and fairly quickly found a huge bald eagle sitting atop a tree behind a house at the edge of the refuge. Luckily I had my telephoto lens attached and we spent about 15 minutes watching and photographing the eagle and hoping it would move or spread it’s wings. Literally the moment I disconnected my camera and broke down the tripod the eagle spread out and drifted off…to many curses from me.

After our initial success with the first eagle, we headed down the road in search of an active eagle’s nest we had heard of. Actually, the directions I got was that it was “near the McDonald’s,” so we just drove in that direction and turned off the road until we found it. We found the nest but didn’t find any eagles actively manning the nest.

We then said goodbye to Homer and drove straight through to Moose Pass on the other side of the Kenai Peninsula only stopping to fill our car with gas for the first time on this trip.

Moose Pass is a very small “town” and it’s city center seems to be housed in one building. We found dinner across the street from what looked to be the town hall/firehall/library. My only wish for tonight’s dinner was that it not be a sandwich as we’ve been eating a lot of them…but we ended up in a restaurant that served only sandwiches. One cup of chili and an ice cream sundae later I emerged not having eaten a sandwich, and I’m sure the staff thought I was the pickiest eater ever.

Tonight we’re staying in a small log cabin surrounded by woods and brush. There’s an approximately 11 inch TV/VCR combo unit to my right, and a collection of the 90’s worst movies on the outside porch of the cabin’s office. I picked out Air Force One to kill the time and it’s distracted me from finishing this post for the past 2 hours.

What We Ate

Amazing chicken salad and roasted turkey sandwiches with tomato bisque soup from Maura’s Cafe, and cinnamon buns and cookies from Two Sisters Bakery, both located about a block apart in old town Homer. If you go to Homer, eat on this block, we ate 3 meals there and none disappointed.

What We Learned

Apparently eagles can sit in one place for a very long time and then do really cool things as soon as they see you put your camera away. Also, large ships can be beached while they’re being restored.

Wildlife We Saw

That stubbornly annoying bald eagle as majestic as he was.

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