Jun 05, 2011
Jun 14, 2011
Where I stayed
Kenai Backcountry Lodge
Potty breaks were interesting considering we had a ton of clothes on and it was outdoors but they have a system for privacy - "pants down" go downriver - "dresses up" go up river. Seemed to work just fine. Then we were off again on the river. The river enters the Skilak Lake so we stopped so the guides could assess the lake. Sometimes the lake is too rough for the rafts so we have to walk up a path to meet vans to take us to the dock to get another boat across the lake. But today it was fine so off we went – this time with a motor. The lake was a little choppy and very windy. It was about a 45 minute ride across the lake to the Backcountry Lodge.
The Backcountry Lodge is only accessible by boat. The original lodge was built in the 1930's as a hunting lodge. The lodge was developed and is managed with efforts to reduce the impact on the natural area. The lodge utilizes a simple but effective hydroelectric power system to provide water and electricity, reducing the need for fossil fueled power. Buildings have been built or renovated with environmentally friendly methods and materials in order to maintain historic context and blend with the wilderness character of the land. There is a wood fired sauna. This is a quiet relaxing place with accommodations for only 16 - 18 people at a time.
We had a tour of the area and got our tent cabin assignments
. When we got to our tent cabin, there was a birthday card and an ice bucket with 2 Alaskan beers compliments of the Backcountry Lodge! They gave us time to settle in and then we met in the lodge for dinner. Dinner was excellent – grilled halibut, stuffed mushrooms, rice pilaf, salad and a ligonberry cheesecake for dessert. It was so good. They brought Jon's dessert out with a birthday candle and everyone sang Happy Birthday. We took a ¼ mile hike after dinner which really helped settle our tummys! Kevin Minto is the guide with incredible knowledge. He talks about all the plants and the animals that live in the area. After our hike we sat by the fire for awhile and then went to bed. We heard that maybe about 3 am we would see the Northern Lights so I set the alarm clock in hopes we would. I kept waking up looking out – saw the most incredible sunset – it takes a really long time for the sun to set. Once I was awake I really had to go to the bathroom and at this site we had a bathhouse! Jon woke up about 2 am and had to go so we walked to the bathroom. The sky was very cloudy so there were no "lights" so we went back to bed and slept soundly till 7 am.
Today is Jon's birthday. We are going to spend our day today rafting down the Kenai River. We had a great breakfast and then packed up our bags and got ready for the raft trip. We had to put on rain gear – pants that were bibs and boots up to our knees. Had safety talks – what to do if we fell out of our raft and we were off. Well needless to say I was very nervous. I hung on for dear life. It was about a class II river so it wasn’t bad at all and we had a wonderful guide. Along the way we saw many birds – loons, mergansers, ducks of various kinds, kestral, eagles, artic tern (migrates 22,000 miles) owls, - one small bear eating along the shore. We stopped along the river for lunch. What a spread. They set up a beverage table with hot water for tea, coffee, cocoa, and some snacks. Lunch was set up on a table complete with a table cloth – smoked salmon, ham, turkey, salami, tomatoes, lettuce, pickled onions, rolls, bagels, hummus, cheeses, and of course cookies for dessert.