Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ninilchek, Alaska

Tuesday started out with low clouds and rain.  Being too cold and wet for anything outside we headed off to the Pratt Museum.

There are a couple bakeries in town we want to try and, since it was a little early for the museum to open, we stopped in at Two Sisters for a cup of coffee.  Two Sisters has a reputation for good fresh bread.  We were too early for the bread so we were just forced to get a little something to go with our coffee.  I selected the apricot-fig muffin and Gene got the brownie.  If you’re on vacation, it’s never too early in the day for a brownie.

View from our rig

Pratt Museum also comes highly recommended.  The current rotating exhibit is on birch trees by two different artists.  One was black and white photographs and the other was hand crafted objects using birch bark.  Both were very good.  The permanent exhibits include Bears in Alaska, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, marine life, and pioneer homesteaders in Homer.  They also had a small wildflower garden with flowers from the different regions around the state.  The museum was small, but very well done, especially for a community as small as Homer.  There’s an admission fee of $8 ($6 for seniors).

We’ve also been to the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.  This is the visitor center for the largest seabird refuge in the world--Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.  We did a relatively quick tour around the exhibits before attending a presentation on the eruption of the Kasatochi volcano.  This center is outstanding and it’s free.  We’ll be going back there again before we leave.

There is a short trail behind the visitor center.  That’s where we saw the pair of sandhill cranes with their two colts.   They are really the gray color of all sandhill cranes, but these had been rolling in the mud of Beluga Slough which has given them the rusty color.

Ninilchek Small Boat Harbor.
Really crammed in there with very little water at low tide

Monday afternoon we went out for a walk along the spit.  We hadn’t hardly gotten started before we felt a few sprinkles.  The farther we walked, the harder it rained.  We ducked into the Salty Dawg until the rain passed.  I think everybody on the Spit had the same idea.  There was standing room only.  That’s another place we’ll visit again.

Today, we drove up to Ninilchek, about 40 miles north of Homer.  It is a tiny village of about 500 people.  The first people to live in the area were the native Athabascans. The first permanent residents were Russians from Kodiak Island who arrived here in 1847.  We came to Ninilchek to photograph the Russian Orthodox Church and cemetery.

I think I’ve given most of the highlights of the past couple days.  Since we have no hook-ups here, I am continually in a race with my computer battery to get photos downloaded, sorted, labeled, and a story written and posted before the red warning light comes on.  We run the generator about an hour every day for recharging, but it just isn’t enough for all I want to do with the computer.  Besides that, we have a very slow internet connection here, so uploading photos to the blog is taking forever.   We’ll catch up later.

View of Cook Inlet from Ninilchek

So, that’s it for today.  Thanks for tagging along.

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