This morning we drove to Sterling AK, about 15 miles down the road from Soldatna, where we arranged a canoe rental and shuttle to take us to the Swan Lake Canoe Area in the Kenai National Wildlife Reserve (which used to be called the Kenai Moose Range). We followed the truck with the rental canoe to the put-in, even though it was about 30 miles each way, because we wanted to have Rosie waiting for us when we got off the water, rather than our having to wait by the road to be picked up. It was a good decision.
The actual canoeing reminded us of our canoe experiences in the Adirondacks, with a few differences. The mosquitoes were fiercer than the ADK variety, and they swarmed on us as soon as we got out of Rosie. This wasn’t unexpected, and we were prepared. Mark wore a head net of mosquito netting, while Nadine wore her bug shirt (a cotton pullover, ventilated with mesh panels, topped with a hood with mesh covering her face). We may have looked a little weird, but it worked!
We canoed around aptly-named Canoe Lake, and we soon spotted an eagle flying above us. When we rounded a point on the lake, there the eagle was, posing for us atop a spruce tree. After we had taken what he/she considered to be enough pictures, the eagle flew off.
Around the next point, we spotted two loons, who didn’t seem particularly bothered by our presence. One surfaced within thirty feet of our canoe, and the other stayed nearby as well.
We wished we had our own light-weight canoe (what the AK outfitter called a “light-weight canoe” weighed about 30 lbs. more than our longer canoe back home); as it was, we decided not lug the rental canoe along the muddy portages to other nearby lakes. (Also, the water was very cold!) We were content to paddle around Canoe Lake for several hours, enjoying the loons and setting. Then we carried the canoe back to the parking lot to await the shuttle driver. It was great to be out on the water!
After a long, bumpy ride back to the highway, we set out for the harbor town of Seward, on the south-central coast of Alaska. The weather forecast is good, so we’re hoping to get out on a boat tomorrow to see the glaciers and wildlife of Resurrection Bay.