All the Alaska, Part 2

This is the continuation of our Alaskan Adventure saga. If you like look at pictures of other peoples’ vacations, check out All the Alaska, Part 1!

On Thursday, we woke up and had the most amazing breakfast ever. Our Airbnb host said to help ourselves to any of the salmon in his freezer, so we made up a wicked salmon scramble for breakfast.

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After breakfast the plan was to drive to Homer to take the ferry to Seldovia, which is a town that’s not on the highway system. You can only get there by boat or plane. So the following conversation takes place:

Hulk: “What time is it?”

Me: “11:30”

Hulk: “Okay. It’ll take us about four hours to get to Homer, and the last boat leaves at 6:00. So we should pack up and head now.”

*Leisurely, non-rushed packing ensues*

*I Google map the directions*

Me: “Google says it’s six hours to Homer.”

Hulk: “What time is it now?”

Me: “11:50”

Hulk: “And the boat leaves at 6:00?”

Both of us: “@!#$%!@#$”

Lesson learned, one inch on a map of Alaska is, like, driving across three states in the lower 48. Or driving through a couple countries in Europe.

It was a pretty drive, but we didn’t really stop to take pictures.

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Long story short, we made the boat with about 10 minutes to spare. Plus, the captain was running late anyway so we didn’t embark until 6:30. Plenty of time for more pictures!

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Once safely in Seldovia harbor we met with our host.  For our stay in Seldovia, we were hosted by a very gracious family through couchsurfing.org (if you’ve never used couchsurfing.org for travel, I highly recommend it if you’re the adventurous type!). We arrived right at dinner time, and there was another couchsurfer staying with us, along with some friends of our hosts. It was a beautiful dinner party filled with warm conversation and wonderful food!

The next day, I explored the property a bit. It was very different to what I was accustomed to back home! The folks here are very self-sufficient, and while there was electricity there was no indoor plumbing. We quickly learned how the outhouse works (pretty self-explanatory) and figured out where the wash house was. They also had a huge, beautiful garden where they grew most of their food. And while they had WiFi I choose not to connect to it, opting to stay as “unplugged” as I could from the outside world for as long as I could 🙂

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The view from the front porch. Hello, bay!

 

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The hosts’ bunkhouse, where we slept. Soooooo cozy!

 

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Hulk heading to the wash house to brush his teeth

After breakfast our host took us to the local community center where she led a yoga class. It was just the thing we needed after sitting in the car half of the day yesterday! Then we explored the town a bit. We ended up at the Seldovia harbor looking for otters. No otters, but tons of jellyfish and other wildlife.

 

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Carvings by a trailhead for the Otter Trail
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Boats ‘n’ jellies

 

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Panda sighting! (Panda is our hosts’ dog)

 

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Harbor view

We had lunch by the harbor, then headed out for a hike on some local trails. This was by far the most fantastic part of the whole trip for several reasons.

Since folks around here are very self-sustaining and live off the land as much as possible, our host was a mushroomer. She knew several mushroom varieties that were safe for eating and whenever she hikes she keeps a lookout for her favorites. I had never mushroomed before, let alone foraged for food anywhere more “natural” than a farmers’ market, so it was really fun keeping a lookout for mushrooms. Many of the pretty ones we found were poisonous, and our host encouraged us to ask questions and keep looking for them.

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These we called “angel wings” and are very delicious, but hard to find.

 

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These are not edible, but it was just really pretty and I wanted to take a picture.

 

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Here they are, “hedgehog” mushrooms everywhere! They’re the big brown spots under the leaves.

Next to the huge score of mushrooms were blueberry bushes. I don’t think I ever just ate stuff from the forest before (except that one time at girl scout camp when I found a mulberry tree that I totally recognized and identified and helped myself; the camp counselors freaked out that they were poisonous berries and I got in trouble), and it felt so fun and, well, nourishing to eat berries right from the bush.

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I DID take photographic evidence of the blueberry plant, just in case it really wasn’t blueberries and I die someone can identify what I died from

After our foraging, we continued along the trail and reveled in the natural beauty.

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Doesn’t this mushroom look just like in Super Mario Bros? I have a feeling it is poisonous and will probably not give me super powers.

We then came to a secluded cove off of the bay.

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Next we climbed up and over the cliff to beach #2, aptly named White Rock Beach”

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2015 09 11 Emily and Tim White Rock Beach

 

At this point my phone died and I couldn’t take more pictures. 😦

But then we went to a third beach, and this one had tons of beach combing potential. We filled our pockets with rocks, shells, even a sea urchin shell. I picked out a special rock for each of the kids. Kids love rocks.

The next morning we had to pack up and make our trek to the Anchorage airport. Our Alaskan Adventure was coming to a close, so nature gave us one last gift and parted the clouds so we could see the volcano in the distance from our hosts’ front porch. Dormant volcano, for now.

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On our way to the ferry we were still keeping a lookout for wildlife. Our host said that it’s common to see a bear alongside the road this early in the morning, but alas we were bear-less. They seem less scary if you’re in an enclosed, moving vehicle. However we did find tons of starfish in the low tide. They were crazy brilliant colors like Skittles. It was like an alien invasion.

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Goodbye, Seldovia!

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The  boat ride was cold, so Hulk borrowed my beanie.

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We made it to the airport in time for one last Alaskan brew. And that’s when I decided I want to brew beer.

 

 

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My hair looks pretty shiny for now showering for six days!

Meanwhile, the kids survived the Gramma and Grampa invasion.

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It’s always good to “get out of Dodge” as my folks say. It was a total jackpot trip, and we couldn’t be more grateful to our Airbnb and especially our Couchsurfing hosts for showing us a fantastic time in this beautiful part of the world. Hopefully we will be able to explore more beautiful places and have many more adventures to come! Also, after this trip I realized I need to go to the beach more often. Seriously, we live, like, an hour away. Or just get out into nature more often; this should be a regular thing.

As always, go make it a great day in your own part of the world!

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