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On both of my trips to Alaska, I took trips down to the Turnagain Arm and the Kenai Penninsula. On the first trip, I drove to Portage Glacier, and then on to Seward and Hope where I did something really stupid. On the second trip a year later, I returned to the Portage valley with Laura where we took a brief hike. 

An Inverse Vanishing Point
Mudflat Footprints

Ok — now for the stupid thing: while driving along the Turnagain Arm, there all sorts of warnings at the various stops along the way to not walk out on the mudflats. The Arm's tide was ebbing at that point, and it looked pretty obvious — why would anyone want to walk out on those pools of dank, cold water? By the time I travelled around the Arm to Hope, I decided to jump out of the car at a pretty desolate spot to check out the views from the south side. After climbing down a steep cliff to the water, I found a huge bank of dirt along the side of the water. The ground was filled with the most beautiful of patterns and small-scale geological marvels.  

While standing on the edge of a 6 foot tall eroding grand canyon, I looked down at my feet to see that they were indeed sinking into the mud. After struggling to get my feet out of the mud, I quickly realized that this is what they were talking about! Luckily, I did not have to sacrifice my boots (or body, for that matter) to the natural quicksand. But from that point on, I walked very carefully. Every foot step pooled with water after a second or two, revealing the water hidden within. Anyone reading this: DON'T WALK ON THE FLATS

Mudflat Textures
The Turnagain Arm

All of my life I have wanted to see a Tidal Bore. Much to my excitement, I happened to be on the flats near Hope when the Tidal Bore came through. The 3-4 foot wall was followed by a large flock of birds catching up the fish caught in the wave. When it began to approach, I quickly scrambled to higher and higher rocks, in complete fear (I remembered seeing people swept away from a Tidal Bore in China). When the bore hit, it was a little underwhelming, but overall, the whole experience was quite fulfilling. 

Another stop along my tour of the Kenai was Portage Lake. I walked out on the lake (hearing ice crack beneath me). The view was spectacular. Perhaps the most attractive icon was the mountain peak at the opposite end of the lake. It was a mountain completely covered by snow from the base to the tip. I had never before seen this -- in the Rockies and the Cascades, you could always spot areas of rock in the mountain. It was most serene. 

Portage Lake
Lake, Mountain, and Sky
Portage Lake, June, 2001

Upon returning to the lake the following year with my sister, I found the lake brimming with deep blue icebergs. 

Portage Lake and Icebergs

My sister and I headed out from Portage Lake up to a glacier. We ended up doing a fair bit of scrambling and resting, as the trail was still under a huge snow drift. 

Portage Lake hike
Mountain near Portage Glacier
Salmon Run

On my final day of the June, 2001 trip, I drove down to the Kenai to near Ressurection Creek, where I took a hike to watch the salmon run. I was amazed to see the number of huge salmons heading through the small creek. At the base of one of the falls, there were hundreds of salmons just hanging out, resting before making the huge, last dying gasp before heading up the falls. There, I literally touched the salmon running by at the edge of the shore. Below is a picture of one of the salmons heading up the falls. 

Salmon Jumping

When returning to Alaska in 2003, I spent most of the time in Homer with my family. Homer is the place to go for American Bald Eagles. They congregate by the hundreds along the shore line, fishing out salmon and small children. 

American Bald Eagle
Eagle and Salmon

When heading out to Anchor Point, my parents and I watched for over an hour several eagles fight and feast over some dead fish that had washed ashore. It was amazing to see the massive wings picked up 25-35 pound fish in a mad rush of short-lasting adrenaline. 

(c) Geoffrey Peters,, 2002. For more information regarding this web page, please contact
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