Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024
Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Waterfall Chasing in Palmer, Alaska - Tuesday, August 23, 2022

First, Happy Birthday to my son, Michael, who turned 43 today! Have a great day, Michael!

This afternoon, we drove around looking for waterfalls. I had a list of three that were within an hour of our campground. Each of them had short, relatively easy hikes. 

The scenery along our drive to 
South Fork Falls.

The scenery along our drive to 
South Fork Falls.

The Knik River in Butte, Alaska.

South Fork Falls (also known as Barbara Falls) in Eagle River, Alaska, was 38.7 miles away. GPS took us to the exact location we needed to be. I had researched these falls ahead of time and knew we were not supposed to park in Ken Logan Circle because it is a Fire Lane. We also could not park by any "No Parking" signs in the neighborhood. As it was a workday afternoon, the trail was not crowded. Besides us, we only saw two ladies on the trail. [NOTE: There isn't a restroom here.]

The trail starts at the gate at the end of Ken Logan Circle. It looks like it used to be a road and the trail is in good condition with some muddy areas that are easily avoidable. Early on, you will cross a small bridge. Part way up the trail is a fork with a sign up in the trees pointing to Barbara Falls. It is the same waterfall. 

Looking upriver from the bridge.

Looking downriver from the bridge.

The forest floor is alive with mushrooms and fungi. The walk is lovely with an easy grade. You will arrive at a viewpoint overlooking the falls. This spot is gorgeous and the falls are flowing full and fast.

These are weird! They are puffballs.

Views of mountains from the trail.

South Fork Falls from the Overlook.

Heading down to the bridge.

The nice wide trail here.

When I read the reviews of this hike, they said to be sure to take the dirt trail upriver from the bridge to get to the base of the falls. We did that. On our way back down from the overlook, we turned left (uphill) on the opposite side of the bridge. The trail is pretty easy and very doable. Use caution around roots and short, steep muddy areas. This trail next to the river is amazing. 

The base of the falls feels very intimate when you get up close to it like this. We enjoyed every bit of the hike! In the reviews, one person mentioned seeing fish going up the river. It's hard to imagine because it's running so hard and fast. We didn't see any, but then, we didn't look for them.

The unmaintained trail next to
the river.

We loved this part of the hike!

The sound of the river
is fierce.

Bob is at the base of South Fork Falls.

This is our favorite waterfall
of the day!!!

Spectacular fan-type waterfall. 

This tree has character.

We are off to waterfall #2, Thunder Bird Falls. I think this is probably the best-known waterfall in the area. There is a good-sized parking lot here which we didn't see at first. (Our GPS took us into a neighborhood way up a hill and told us the waterfall was at the end of a street that was filled with homes. There was no trail there.) Just know that the parking lot for Thunder Bird Falls is on Old Glenn Highway right at the Eklutna River Bridge. 

This is a very busy place and I think it would be hard to find a parking spot here on a weekend or holiday. On a Tuesday afternoon, however, there were numerous spots available. The description of this trail was that there was a steep 100-foot climb and then the trail leveled out. Hah, I beg to differ. The trail goes up and down quite a bit. This trail is two miles out and back with a side trail down to the creek just before the boardwalk to the viewpoint. It started to rain while we were there so we did not go down to the creek today. If we have time, we will go back.

[NOTE: The bathrooms here are nasty. Use restrooms somewhere else before you get here.]

About the people and how they
named places here.

When you are close to the waterfall, 
you will be on this boardwalk.
Mushrooms and fungi are abundant on
this walk as well.

The trail to Thunder Bird Falls is wide and without a lot of roots and rocks. Because we didn't go down to the creek, we can't report on the status of that trail.

Thunder Bird Falls.

As soon as we finished this hike, we were off to waterfall #3, Pioneer Falls. The drive to the falls is lovely with dramatic mountain peaks always in view. This waterfall is the closest to where we're staying at Mountain View RV Park, but it is also the trickiest to find.

Gorgeous mountain scenery along
our drive this afternoon.

We love these views!

Once again, reviews online were very helpful in finding this waterfall. GPS got us to the general vicinity along the Knik River. When we were within one-tenth of a mile, the helpful folks online mentioned looking for a black mailbox with no markings on it. It will look like you're turning into a driveway, but it's actually the parking lot for the falls. We drove past it the first time because there were two black mailboxes and we weren't sure which one it was. When we turned around and headed back, we found the correct one. When you turn into the driveway, it drops down into a big mud puddle. We made it in and out okay in our Ford F350 pickup. A smaller sedan would have to be real careful getting in there. What we can tell you is, that when you are coming up on the correct mileage on your GPS (coming off of the Old Glenn Highway) there will be a silver mailbox, just before the black mailbox where you will turn.

As for the waterfall, it's a tall, complex waterfall. You can see it from the parking lot, but it's hard to see the whole thing. Your best view will be from 100-200' up the trail. Bob went up higher on the trail but came back down shaking his head. He said there was no way to see the whole waterfall any better from up the trail.

Here are the best shots we could get.

Pioneer Falls.

Pioneer Falls.

Below is a video of the top part of Pioneer Falls.

The next video is a continuation of Pioneer Falls, the lower part.

We'd say this was a very successful waterfall-chasing afternoon...three waterfalls in four hours. 

After that, we shopped at Fred Meyer and then headed back to the 5th wheel. Here are some photos of our site at Mountain View RV Park.

There is an Airstream caravan in 
the park with us. 

You can see why they call it 
Mountain View RV Park!

The RV sites are back-to-back, so our view out the back window is of an Airstream trailer. We keep our back drapes closed. We are also very close to the motorhome beside us!

That's all for today, folks!

Friday, August 19, 2022

Rockin' and Rollin' - Thursday & Friday, August 18-19, 2022

Thursday: My mind is playing tricks on me, that's for sure. Here I am sitting in the 5th wheel, writing my blog, and I feel like I have to hang on to a handrail. Here's the scoop on that feeling.

This morning, I got up at 3:30 am. A night owl like me? Usually, I'm going to bed around that time. 

Today was special, however. At Bob's request, I made pancakes and fried eggs for breakfast to fortify us until lunch. We double-checked our list for today's activity: Alaska sport fishing license, warm clothes (preferably waterproof), waterproof boots, rain gear, snacks, beer or wine (if you wanted it), bottled water, hat, gloves, seasickness medication, and masks.

We had to be at the boat dock by 6 am to load our gear onto a fishing vessel for a day-long excursion to Resurrection Bay, Alaska. We didn't even know the name of the boat, just to meet at the top of Dock F, between two restaurants.

And there we were, a little early, and we couldn't find our group. I knew we were in the right place, according to our instructions. Bob wanted to search the dock for the boat, but how could we when we didn't know the name of it? We finally found someone who knew exactly where we should go. Part of our group was already waiting.

When we had assembled, and our fearless leader Cindy arrived, we loaded our gear into carts and the boat's crew took our gear to the boat for us. Once we were tucked in and safety instructions were given, we set off to fish for halibut, rockfish, and salmon. The captain told us it would take about 1-1/2 hours to reach our fishing spot. 

Little did we know what was in store. I'd say we were about 20 minutes into our ride when the seas became quite rough. The boat was rockin', rollin', and swaying side to side. Some people weren't feeling very well.

Cindy put out snacks: saltines, ginger candy, potato chips; fresh watermelon, pineapple, kiwi, strawberries, orange slices; Ritz crackers, and cheese. She let people know it was best to have a full stomach on rough seas like these. A few people were looking green around the gills. Once they went outside and watched the horizon, their miens improved. Bob took some Dramamine which, after about an hour, helped him feel immensely better.

There was some awesome scenery. I took what pictures I could through the rain-streaked/ rain-spotted windows.

We are on our way to fish for halibut,
salmon, and rockfish.

Tom tells a story to Bob and Kelley.

I love the beautiful cliffs.
A seagull is following us.

The boat ride was arduous and tempestuous. The sea spray formed by the boat was pretty and dramatic.

At our fishing spot, the captain situated our boat to his liking. Our poles were in place and baited with herring and various fish parts. The lines were let down to the bottom at 125'-150'. 

Before long, it was "fish on!" Cindy Boyd, our caravan leader caught the whopper of the day, a halibut that was estimated at between 90-100 lbs. The bar was set high to try to outdo her catch. 

Bob & Kelley C., and 
Lynn Z. fishing for halibut.

Cathy, Ryan (crew), Layne
(Fred's granddaughter), 
Cindy B., and Rocky.

Cathy, Ryan (crew), 
Layne, and Cindy.

We had action amongst other fisherpeople in our group. Most of us were bringing up 3-8 lb. halibut. Kelley reeled in a beautiful Coho (silver) salmon. The limit for halibut was two per person. The first spot we fished wasn't getting the results the captain wanted. 

Lines were hauled in and we motored farther into Resurrection Bay until he found a better spot. The group started hauling in halibut left and right, but they were (mostly) too small. Time for an adjustment in location. About ten minutes later, our poles were ready for us with fresh bait thanks to Ryan, our hardworking crewman.

Fjord scenery in Resurrection Bay.

Our poles are ready for our next stop.

Ryan getting our gear
ready in the pouring rain.

Islands in the bay.

More fjord-like scenes. Breath-taking!

This shows the intensity of the rain. The
rock formations are swell. (See what I
did there?)

This shows the amount of water
we're throwing up in the rough waters.
"Throwing up" is a bad choice of words.

We put our lines down and had good success rates with everyone reaching their limits on halibut. Also caught were skates (they look like big rays) that were stealing the bait off the hooks. The skates were huge and put up a good fight. The people hauling them in thought they were catching huge halibut, only to have the skates cut loose when they reeled them up to the boat. It took a lot of energy to reel them in. Disappointment showed in their faces.

The seagulls were pests, as usual. Only these seagulls were ferocious. If I put my line with bait near the top of the water, those opportunists went for the bait. I almost caught two seagulls that way. Ryan had to come over and drop the bait deeper to disentangle the most aggressive of the birds! I also caught some jellyfish tentacles. Ryan took those off my line for me. 

I should mention that it was COLD. One place I stood on the boat dripped a steady stream of cold water on my rain-shedding hat, which in turn dripped down my waterproof coat onto my non-waterproof jeans, and into my waterproof boots. Brr! I didn't realize it until it was too late that one leg of my jeans was saturated, and I shivered for the rest of the day.

Cindy put out a yummy lunch spread with sub sandwiches and croissant sandwiches from Safeway. We also had cherry tomatoes, chips, fruit, crackers, cheese, and pepperoni, chocolate chip cookies, and petite fudge brownies. Fishing is hard work and shivering uses up calories. The food was much appreciated!

Next, we fished for salmon. We didn't have much luck with salmon, I think only one salmon was caught at the salmon fishing ground. But other fish, like ling cod and cod, were brought in. We were only in this location a few minutes before the captain said, "Reel 'em in, we're heading to another location."

Moving to our next fishing hole.

Our last fishing spot was for rockfish. The first fishing hole for rockfish was not producing the results the captain wanted. Supposedly, if you dropped your line down in a rockfish group, you came up with either a rockfish or no bait. Our captain consulted with other fishing captains and about three boats converged on a different spot. 

Once we got there, everyone was hauling in rockfish right and left. What fun! It took me 15 minutes to haul in my limit of four rockfish. It was at this location that Bob caught his beautiful silver salmon. Bob took a bit longer to catch his fourth rockfish; but the first three of his were bam, bam, bam, just like mine. The captain and Ryan were hustling to help us haul up all the fish!!

As the crew threw our fish into the hold, one of the fish had an eel crawl out of its mouth. Apparently, the fish had eaten the eel right before it was caught. Creepy!

When it was time to return to port, Ryan immediately took the bait off the poles, threw it into the bay, and stowed the poles in their holders on top of the boat. When he finished hosing off the deck, his next task was to fillet all the fish we caught! It was amazing to watch him work in the rain with his fillet knife.

Heaps of filleted fish. This was only 
one small portion.

The boat ride back to the dock was much smoother than our morning ride out. Thank goodness. Even I was getting a little queasy from the side-to-side motion of the boat in our last fishing spot. Usually, I have an iron stomach that isn't bothered by boats, rollercoasters, etc.

[Note: I did not take very many photos of people fishing or bringing in their catches because I, too, was busy fishing. Plus, it was pretty rainy or I needed to move out of the way of the crew, or someone next to me had a fish on the line and I immediately needed to reel in my line to get out it of the way. There are a lot of things to do on a fishing vessel!]

Before Ryan filleted all the fish, we were able to have our pictures taken with our fish (two hands worth anyway).

Bob with one of his halibut
and his silver salmon.

The reality of the situation is not always captured on film. However, when it was my turn to have photos taken with my fish, the seas were rolling like crazy. You can see I am trying not to fall over in the photo below. (But it is a better photo of my fish!)

The boat is rockin' and rollin'!

The boat is stable for a moment.

We all wanted a photo of Cindy with her beautiful halibut. Amazing!

It was so heavy, help was
needed to hoist it up!

The captain and Cindy B.

The gulls were our friends on the
way back to the dock as fish guts
were thrown into the water for them.

We made it back to port and collected all our gear. On the dock, as we walked up to the shore, we felt like the whole dock was rockin' and rollin'! I guess a full day on rough water will give that illusion.

Our fish was brought up to the fish processor at the top of the dock. Bob brought his gear to the pickup truck and I took off to give Sunnie (our cat) his insulin. When I got back to the 5th wheel, we had run out of propane in one of our tanks. It was 58 degrees inside our rig. I couldn't turn the handle on the full tank of propane because it was so tight. Bob would have to do that when he got home 

Bob took care of meeting with the fish processor to let them know that we wanted our catch vacuum-sealed in one-pound serving sizes. They will store our fish and ship it to us in mid-September. We have until Saturday to let them know where we want it shipped.   

After I took care of Sunnie, I went back to pick Bob up from the port. As soon as we got back to the 5th wheel, Bob turned on the propane, and both of us took long, hot showers to warm up. In the shower, it was necessary to hold onto the shower walls because our brains tricked us into feeling like we were still on the boat, bobbing and rolling.

Bob was feeling under the weather, so he wrapped up in a fleece blanket and slept. I worked on editing photos and writing my blog. 

Friday: Truth be told, I fell asleep at the computer and went to bed at 3:30 am. 

That's about what time I woke up yesterday morning, so I guess I've been "up" 24 hours (sort of). And that, my friends, is the story of our long fishing expedition day. 

Bob was up at 7 am to give Sunnie his insulin. He felt much better today. Work was on his agenda and he was busy all morning talking to clients and getting his list done.

I woke up at 11:15 am. The swaying and rocking motion my brain told me was happening in the 5th wheel last night was gone by this morning. 

It is a rainy, dreary day here in Seward and we want to stay cozy in the 5th wheel. We are again socked in with clouds. It is taking us a day to recuperate from our experience yesterday. Not to say we didn't have a good time, we just need to be warm and cocooned for a day!

Bob is heading out for a walk this afternoon because he hasn't had a good day to exercise (walk, run, or ride his bike) for a few days. It looks like the rain may have let up for a bit. 

We don't have any other organized tours for our next few days in Seward. If the weather allows, we may do the 2.2-mile roundtrip hike to the Exit Glacier viewpoint. The Harding Icefield hike is NOT on my bucket list. I read about it on AllTrails and my mind (and body) nixed that idea!

Bob just returned from a one-half-hour walk. It started raining again. Ugh!

TravelBug out.