Hi guys, long time no post, but hey, I’m still much earlier than expected! (Best part of working in AK for me was going completely dark and being unplugged from the world.) As many of you already know from my personal social media feeds, I decided to revert back to my original “plan a” and after a great Sockeye Season up at Naknek River Camp I officially retired, flew my bike to Anchorage and I am now just kicking around Alaska on it.
Before you go too far, be warned! There is no Pere Marquette River report in this post. It’s really just a “blog” of what I’m up to and what I’ll be doing along with a few pictures and videos, but if there’s any interest there at all, please read on!
To be clear, I retired from guiding there, not from going there and not from guiding in Michigan! Check out our dates for next year at Alaska’s Naknek River Camp and we can go back together… In the meantime, I will be looking to fill my summer trout trip schedule back home again so go ahead and grab yourself a prime streamer, sulphur, drake, hex, terrestrial, etc., etc., date with me while they’re all still wide open for 2023! 😏 231 745-3529 (Also just opened up some King dates in late August/early September for this year.)
I absolutely loved my “summer camp” job, the people I worked with there and all of the great memories that were made, but my wife Karen also made a valid point in that maybe we should share a few more summers together in Michigan again as well and to be fair, she’s been pretty patient and understanding with me for the better part of many years since the early 90’s spending my summers away in AK.
August 3rd was a great day to say the least! Weather was fantastic, sunny and warm. After staying the night as their guest, I had breakfast in Talkeetna with Hillarie and young Parker while Tim was out on one of his many flights and we were treated to a pretty darn good view of Denali from the riverside in town as shown above in a very zoomed shot…
After that I took my bike up north on 3 toward Denali National Park and checked out the view from the South overlook while I waited to see if my “friends and family” seat on Tim’s 4pm flight would stay open. It had clouded in a bit at that location as shown above here, but it was a nice ride, nonetheless.
I made a quick stop at the main Denali Brewing Company facility on the way back for some lunch & a tasty ale treat then another short run back into town found my seat still available for one of the most beautiful flights I’ve ever been on! (And that’s saying something!) Almost 2hrs total time out with a complete circle plus around Denali, lots of weaving in, around and thru the other peaks, valleys, etc. and about 20min on the ground of a glacier where we landed on skis.
Tim had one more flight after that one, so I stopped at the Denali Brewing Company’s other pub in Talkeetna proper for some awesome IPA and appetizers before meeting up with him, Hillarie and Parker again for an exciting mini jet boat ride up and back down the Chulitna & Talkeetna rivers.
All I can say is that I’ve done some pretty serious jet boating myself in and above the Braids of the Alagnak River besides a few fun spots on the Nak, but those mini boats can go thru and even jump over some almost unbelievable stuff. I’m a little jealous that this is just a regular form of entertainment for him and the family if I’m being honest… 🤔🙄😳🤣Below here are a couple of videos I posted to YouTube of both the plane and boat ride. Both have some very cheesy iMovie soundtracks because I was just too lazy to sort thru for anything better, but you can always turn the volume completely down and listen to your own music; that might make it a bit better. 😉 It was actually VERY hard to keep theses from becoming full fledge feature films so I apologize if they’re a bit long, but I did find something in each clip that I kept and/or cropped worth seeing so watch them all the way thru if you can find the time to and enjoy. (Best bet as always is on a laptop or flat screen TV full screen and adjusted in the settings to the highest 1080 HD resolution, but any way you view them I hope you get the gist of it; neither can do true justice to actually being there of course…’
I crashed at their place again that night and the next morning decided that I’d probably never get a better view of the mountains than I just had by air, so it was time to head back south past Anchorage. All of Thursday consisted of riding and stopping along the 214 miles of awesome roads and scenery from Talkeetna to Cooper Landing on the Kenai, a fun little town full of fly shops, guides, fisher people, happy hippies and lots of lodges. (The Sterling Highway is a must see by the way!)
I stayed the night at The Hutch B&B, met some really cool people and had a great night watching those young(er) folks party like there’s no tomorrow at the Sunrise Inn’s Bar back up the highway a bit. Let’s just say it was a whole new level of Karaoke and crowd participation like I’ve never seen leading to a later night than intended, but I was safely back on a very wet & windy, but still beautiful road the next morning at the crack of “check out is 11:00am”. 🤣
I met another guide buddy, Jordan Carter, at the Centennial Park boat ramp in Soldotna at 1pm sharp where he was dropping his morning clients back off and was planning to take me back out for some fun, but it was really windy and he’s been working his butt off with usually two trips a day, so it wasn’t very hard for me to convince him to just pull the boat and go have some lunch instead. It was great just to catch up with an old friend and, congratulate him on the upcoming nuptials!
Another 77 miles of the still very windy, but now dry and always beautiful Sterling Highway found me meeting up with another great friend of mine, Eric Inglis who is a pilot here for Emerald Air Service, and a few of his coworkers at The Salty Dawg Saloon on the Homer Spit. Here he made my next move(s) easy when he gave me keys to the castle (His Condo here with an awesome spare room.) and said to stay as long as you like…
I watched him take off with a crew of tourist headed to Brooks this morning in the Otter that he flies from his condo’s window actually, because it’s conveniently located right next to where he works! Went for a little walk after that, but decided that before I do anyting else too fun it was past time for some sort of update from me and I started on this. Now, if you’re still reading, you know the rest of the story and probably more than you wanted to!
I’ll probably stick around here for a few days exploring and let these winds die down before my next part of the adventure, the 170 miles from here to Seward. This involves going back up the Sterling Highway just past Cooper Landing where I then hang a right by Tern Lake onto the Seward Highway for some brand-new spectacular views! I’ll probably spend a couple of days in that area checking out Seward and the Kenai fjords.
After that it’s anyone’s guess, but it’s very likely that in the end my buddy here will become the proud new owner of my KLR Adventure Touring bike and I’ll fly from here back to Anchorage and then onto Michigan where I’ve promised to be home by the 26th at the latest, but “probably” much sooner than that. (I actually do miss my wife, my pups and my friends very much, but this is a chance I may never have again so I’m taking it! 👍😎)
Well… You’re as caught up as I am at this point and it’s just past 1pm here. (We’re 4hrs earlier than Michigan.) All that means is that I’ve got time to go get some lunch, ride a cool road going East from here that Eric told me about and still be back in time to meet up with him upon his return for another fun evening.
Hope you are all having a great summer and I’ll see ya soon. Till then, be well, be safe and above all, have some fun!