Friday, July 31, 2015

A Bit of Paradise in Valdez - Blueberry Lake Campground

On the way to Valdez we stopped for the night at the Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site. It is a popular place to stop to view the Matanuska Glacier. It also has about 9 camping sites in a loop plus camping is allow in the overlook parking. That is where we stayed as we had the site closest to the view of the glacier. The Glacier is a valley glacier and is 27 miles long by 4 miles wide and is the largest glacier accessible by car in the US.

Pretty awesome sight and a nice overnight stay. The next day we headed on towards our next destination, Blueberry Lake State Recreation Site which is about 24 miles before Valdez. It is a small campground that sits below the summit of Thompson Pass. It is surrounded by mountains and meadows and has spectacular views. As we pulled into our site we wanted to start singing "The hills are alive with the sound of music". Below are some pictures taken as we drove into the park and where our site is.

Now  below are pictures taken from our site. Included are a few pictures of our first view of the moon in several months. As the sun hasn't gone down until after midnight and also there has been cloud coverage most nights this was the first time to see the moon. And we were lucky that is was full and what a beautiful site it was. The first day and night we had a lot of clouds and cool weather but that was to change come Sunday.

We just love this place. It is definitely in our top places to stay. It may be number one on the list. Besides the campground being gorgeous, you don't have to drive far for more beautiful scenery. There are numerous breathtaking waterfalls along the road to Valdez. The most spectacular, including Bridal Veil Falls are in the Keystone Canyon which is between our campground and Valdez.

The next post will include 4 water adventures we had while in this area, 3 kayaking trips and a boat cruise on the Prince William Sound.  So stay tuned. Below are a few more pictures of our camping area including the lovely Blueberry Lake itself and pictures taken from some of our windows in the motorhome. We are tucked into the trees and bushes with our front window facing the mountains across the road. Did I say this is our favorite spot.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Eagle River Camping and Kayaking at Eklutna Lake

We are back in the Anchorage area so Joe can get his prescriptions filled as we won't be in a US Walmart area until we get back in the lower 48. We also had some shopping to do. We got the third season of House of Cards and will be getting the third season of Homeland when we find it. We are addicted to those two shows. We are staying at Eagle River Campground where we have stayed before. Another lovely spot in the trees. We actually went on our second paddling adventure in Alaska!!  We got a rare sunny day and headed north to Eklutna Lake about 35 or 40 minutes from Eagle River. It is the largest lake in Chugach State Park and a reservoir for the City of Anchorage. As the water is drinking water for Anchorage there are no motor boats allow, just kayaking and canoeing. We had to drive through the parking area a few times before some left and we got a spot to park. There are great trails around the lake and a glacier on one of the hikes as well and so this is a very popular lake. We also checked out the campground but it was almost full. It is Friday and so weekenders are already filling up the place. We got our boat inflated and carried it down a small hill(not looking forward to carrying it back up the hill) and over to the water. The lake is just gorgeous. Look at that sunshine!!!

Savannah, our Queen Charles, is enjoying her spot in the front of the boat.

The current made it a little harder to keep straight. Then on the way back, we had to paddle almost constantly or we would go backwards. A good workout anyway. Plus it was a beautiful day on the water.  When we got back to shore we sat for awhile just enjoying the sun and putting off the hike up the hill with our heavy kayak.

Saturday we went to the Farmer Market and Festival in Anchorage. It is a large market with produce, lots of jewelry, clothing, and Alaska trinkets, art work,etc. They also have a number of food vendors. We ended up having the same thing we had on our 2012 trip, Halibut fish and chips and corn fritters with honey butter. It was so yummy!!  I had been looking at the weather projections for several days and it kept changing from rain in the afternoon to all day rain and back and forth. We were lucky and it didn't rain until late afternoon and so another nice day. That night it rained all night. I didn't think it was that hard but heard later that Anchorage got a couple of inches of rain and had flooding in a number of areas. 
The campground limits you to 4 days for some reason and so Monday we had to move. Joe is still working on getting his prescriptions as he had to get a vacation override to get some of his drugs that aren't due to renewal for a few weeks. So we headed back south to Bird Creek Campground where we will be for a few days.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Paddling at Johnson Lake on the Kenai Pennisula

We left our beachfront site at Homer and drove up the road a little to Johnson Lake.near Kasilof. It is also just south of Soldotna,  the  Johnson Lake Campground, another great state campground for only 15 dollars a night. The lake sites were filled but we got another nice site in the trees.

It was actually pretty nice weather when we got there. We drove up to Captain Cooks Recreation Site as we heard it was suppose to be pretty nice. The drive wasn't that great as there is a lot of industry and oil companies on the road to the end of the spit. It was pretty full though there were a few spots we could get into. We decided to pass on this as a future site.
The next day was cloudy again but we decided to be brave and actually get our kayak into the water.
We inflated the boat and got everything into the Jeep and drove over to a place we could launch from.
The Johnson Lake is not real big but very lovely.

We did get a few drops of rain but that was it. We wore our wet suit tops and light jackets and we were comfortable. It was nice paddling through the lily pads. There were some other people paddling as well. Also a few fisherman.

It was so nice to finally get out on the water in Alaska. It was an easy paddle where we just glided along the water. Our next paddle would be a little more of a workout. Anyway before we get to that, we stayed for three days here. One day we drove to a seafood processor and market and bought some more fish. We bought some smoked salmon that was reduced in pricing and so we bought a number of packages of it. We also bought some halibut and some razor clams. Clam Chowder is in the future.
The last two weeks of July is one of the big runs for Red and King Salmon on the Kenai River. There area fishermen everywhere. That is why we made sure to get a spot during the weekdays. I am sure it would be hard to get a spot anywhere in the area on the weekend. In fact in some of the campgrounds you can only stay for 3 days or so. I guess it is fish your butt off and get out so someone else gets a chance. We enjoyed our three days and are now headed back to the Anchorage area and later onto Valdez.
Below are some more pictures taken on the drive to Eagle River Campground(Chugach State Park) which is just north of Anchorage.
As we drove pass Bird Creek, where we stayed before, we came to an area where we had seen some dali sheep on the rocks. There were a lot of people taking pictures and we weren't able to stop to take pictures. This time we stopped and I did get some good shots.

Just some of the many people out fishing

Lovely spot at the Tern Lake Junction