Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Denali National Park to Homer. June 17-21, 2016

Denali National Park to Homer. June 17-21, 2016

We got a last look at Denali Mt on the road from Tek (Teklanika) CG driving back to the front country.

Driving down the Parks Hwy from Denali to Anchorage, the state has built two rest stops. They call them State Parks, and charge a $15 fee if you park overnight. However in reality they are large rest stops with marks on the asphalt designating RV parking.

Denali North SP has a very nice view of the Alaska Range and Denali Mt. From the RV parking area.

Here is a view of the RV parking area

Denali South SP has a limited view of the mountains from the parking lot, although you can walk about 100 yards to an overlook for a good view.

We decided to not stop at Talkeetna. I have read folks really enjoy the town but we didn't want to join all the crowds looking at visitor centers and museums about Denali and mountain climbing. Mostly the crowds we didn't want.

We spent a quiet night at Walmart in Wasilla.

The next morning we bought most of our supplies at Walmart in Wasilla. $130 was the payment for our FREE night of parking. It has been about 2 weeks since we stocked up on necessities so it was time. 

Next was a stop in Anchorage for some more stuff. We made our first stop the Sam's Club on the north side of Anchorage. I had plans on us parking there overnight and taking the p/u to the other stores. However when I asked the security guard about parking O/N in Sam's parking lot, he said if you park overnight they may come by and tow you away. Sam's does share the parking lot with a large mall area so the parking lot probably is not under their control.

So we got the stuff we needed from Sam's and spent the next 2-3 hours driving through city streets and parking lots of Costco, Fred Meyer's and Safeway. It is always so much fun trying to find a parking space in some of these parking lots. We got what we needed from Costco, Petsmart (cat food) & Safeway and headed out of town on the Seward Hwy to the Kenai Peninsula.

At this point we didn't know just where we were going to spend the night. I knew there are some boondock spots on the Seward Hwy along the Turnagain Arm.  Also there are National Forest CG's on the road from Portage to Whittier. 

Map of Anchorage to Portage. 

In Anchorage there might have been a little wind, but nothing noticeable. As we came down the hill to Turnagain Arm the wind hit us right in the face. Wow! 20-25mph wind with gusts to 35-40mph we found out later. Fortunately the wind was head on and not a cross wind. Even so we were being knocked around quite a bit by the wind.

Many of the pullouts along Turnagain Arm had cars in them admiring the view of the water & mountains. At MM94 I pulled into an empty pullout in kind of a lee from the wind. We could still feel the wind, but it wasn't too bad. I was really tired of fighting the wind so we decided that if something didn't happen to change our minds we would park here for the night. Yep. We spent the night here. Great view of the water and mountains. Some road noise. Just before going to bed I turned the RV around so our bedroom window was away from the highway. Much better.

The view we enjoyed this afternoon and evening

We also had a nice surprise shortly after we parked. A view of the bore tide. It wasn't very high, only about a foot to eighteen inches, but still, it was a bore tide. We even saw a guy trying to surf the wave.

In the photo below, the bore tide wave is the ragged white line across the brown water.

Someone trying to surf the wave.

A bore tide is when the incoming tide rushes into shallow water so fast that the water builds up into a wave. Much the same way a wave coming into a beach builds up.
Quote from Wikipedia: Bores occur in relatively few locations worldwide, usually in areas with a large tidal range (typically more than 6 metres (20 ft) between high and low water) and where incoming tides are funneled into a shallow, narrowing river or lake via a broad bay”

The tides in Turnagain Arm are in the 20' range. On a few days each month the bore tide wave will reach 4' to 4.5' high or higher.

For info and schedule for Turnagain Arm bore tide dates, go here.

On our way to Homer we spent a couple of rainy days at Chugach National Forest, Quartz Creek CG, near Cooper's Landing to take care of some chores. No pictures of the CG. Nice fairly large campsites in dense trees. 

The morning we moved to Homer we had beautiful clear sunny weather. We made a quick stop at Freddies (Fred Meyer's) store in Soldotna for groceries, gas & propane. Soldotna is the least expensive place for gas & propane on the Kenai Peninsula.

After getting stocked up we headed down the Sterling Hwy with views of Cooks Inlet and the mountains/volcanoes across the inlet.

Mt Iliamma & Mt Redoubt

Mt Iliamma

Mt Redoubt

Info about both mountains

The drive from Soldotna to Homer would have much nicer if there were more pulloffs with views of Cook's Inlet and the mountains on the other side of the inlet. Also a couple of the pullouts had bushes restricting the views.

In Homer we decided our campground for the next couple of weeks will be Mariner Park on the Cooks Inlet side of Homer Spit, right at the start of the spit. We did look at the Fishing Hole CG, which is on the bay side, but thought it would be busier than we wanted.  
Info on the Homer city CG's.

Views of Mariner Park CG

With 20 to 25 foot tides, at low tide we had a very expansive sand and rocky beach extending several hundred yards out from the shore line.

One thing to be aware of at Mariner Park CGThe afternoon breeze comes right off of the water into the CG.  We never had any really bad wind, but several days the wind speed got up to about 9-10mph.  That made it a little to cool and windy to want to sit outside in the late afternoon or evening.  Mornings were usually calm.

Several afternoons we were entertained by people Kite or Wind Surfing

 ext entry: Boat tour to Gull Island & Soldovia.

Link back to the Alaska blog index page.


Donna B said...

We are really enjoying your Alaska Trip Blog post. Thank you for sharing!!!
Our question: In the 4th picture from the bottom of this post (6/17-21/16), are those people clam digging? We'd like to dig clams on our planned 2018 Alaska trip, but are concerned with the Bore Tides.

Al and Sharon said...

In Homer I don't recall seeing anyone digging for clams. I think the beach is to rocky for clams. However farther up toward Soldotna I think they dig for clams. About the bore tides: There isn't a bore tide in the area between Soldotna and Homer. That happens in Turnagain Arm. In Turnagain Arm you don't want to go out on the flats at anytime. One of your legs can sink down 10-12 inches in the mud and become trapped. Pushing down on the other leg and it becomes trapped. Now you are stuck and the tide will come in and you will drown. In the Homer to Soldotna area the beach slopes gradually to the water. As long as there isn't a depression between you and dry land you won't have a problem. Yes the water rises quick enough that you can watch the water creep up the sand, but all that is going to happen is your feet get wet until you move up toward dry land.