As many people already know, camping is a big thing here, so big that we own a travel trailer. It's not exactly a life event I would've seen coming. We had a great time camping our way across America to get here but promptly parked the mighty Passport at the storage lot on base within 24 hours of our arrival. However, you can tell it's spring in Alaska when all the driveways in the neighborhood start having RV's parked in them. Ours is no different since Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the unofficial-official Raptor camping season. It's kind of great the way it works: sometime in the dark of winter, a couple of Raptor reservists (read: longtime Alaska residents) set up a summer schedule and reserve bulk spaces at designated locations. They then release the schedule to all the pilots and anyone who wants to go just tells them which trips they want in on and voila - summer rolls around and we have pre-planned camping trips with masses of friends.
Camping season traditionally commences with a trip to Homer, which is at the tip of the Kenai peninsula. Homer is famous for its halibut, the Homer spit (which prompted one of my kids to say, "I'll Homer spit!"; they're so darling, these kids of mine), cute stores, tide pools and a brewery but is infamous for its windy, cold weather. It's one of only camping locations that has a hotel associated with the campground, so Homer is traditionally a big push for those who don't own campers and this year there were more than thirty families in attendance, spread across two campgrounds and the hotel, all within a five-minute walk of each other. The kids stayed up way too late running in packs with other kids, the adults stayed up even later just hanging out. Despite wearing long-sleeve layers, fleece hats, gloves and coats, we had a great time exploring most of what Homer has to offer. We've been home 24 hours and Wyatt has already double-checked that Homer will be on our list next year, too.
|view from our spot|
|post-bike ride Saturday night, 10:30 pm|
|exploring the beach with friends Sunday morning, |
notice how the beach looks at high tide
|out on the spit|
|apparently halibut are sometimes bigger than my kids|
|the marina at the spit|
|if we saw one bald eagle, we saw a hundred|
but it never gets old!
|any Deadliest Catch fans out there? It's the Time Bandit!|
I think that's the equivalent of an Alaskan celebrity sighting.
|going to check out the tide pools Sunday evening|
|the beach an hour past low tide|
|have to get them used to pictures again - it's been too long|
since I made them suffer through lots of "look at me's"
|cool sand patterns|
|kelp grows on rocks|
|there's an anemone to the right of the white clam shell;|
we found (and touched) lots of them hidden among the rocks
|tide goes WAY out|
|searching for critters|
|dead crab - not too exciting|