Monday, August 15, 2011

The Adventure Girls Visit Seldovia

With the end of summer quickly approaching (in Homer we have one week left before the first day of school!), we are trying to make the most of the little time we have left.  Adventure Girl (as she has recently dubbed herself) and I hadn't had a "no boys allowed" day in quite awhile, so we decided to take a day trip to Seldovia.  It's a small native village across Kachemak Bay from Homer, accessible by boat or plane.

We chose the Seldovia Bay Ferry as our means of transportation.  It's a little pricey, especially for a day trip, but luckily is offering 30% off fares through September 6.  When you only have a day to spend, this high-speed ferry is the way to go.  On the trip from Homer to Seldovia, the ferry makes a detour to Gull Island and then travels through Eldridge Passage, adding 30 minutes to the regular 45-minute ride.  We knew we were in for a possibly rainy day, but what we didn't consider was the wind and seas and their effect on the ferry ride.  We are still amazed by how different the weather can be on the two sides of the bay.  We took a backpack full of rain gear but enjoyed the late summer sun the whole day.  The swells on the bay were large, and the direction the boat had to take made for quite a ride.  I'm no wimp when it comes to being at sea, but the bow of the boat, which is a catamaran, was making some pretty hefty drops for much of the trip.  Adventure Girl sat on my lap and held on tight with her eyes closed, but I'm happy to report that neither of us gets seasick.  Luckily the ferry has a huge, 2-story enclosed cabin with comfy chairs and tables, so we were able to stay warm and dry.  The captain did his best to avoid the largest swells.

After docking in the Seldovia small boat harbor, we headed to the Seldovia Village Tribe Visitor's Center to double-check our plan for the day.  Upon confirming that the hike we wanted to go on was in fact safe for a mom and her 5-year-old (and learning that we probably wouldn't be finding many salmonberries), we set off down Main Street headed for the Otterbahn Trail.  With Adventure Girl as my little naturalist, telling me all about fallen trees, berries, and spider webs, we made our way through the forest.  This trail is the closest we have come to finding hiking similar to that in Kodiak.  It felt just like the trails at Ft. Abercrombie, with spruce, devil's club, ferns, and berry bushes.  The muddy sections had nice little bridges built over them, and upon emerging from the forest we came upon a beautiful boardwalk crossing a lagoon.  We stopped to have a snack on some benches in the middle of the boardwalk and admired some spider webs.  After that, it was over the dunes and onto the beach, where we were rewarded with spectacular views of the volcanoes, Homer, and passing boats.

Since the tide was still on the low side, we were able to make our way up the beach and cross a stream (3 times, because we left our berry-picking bag behind on the other side) to reach Outside Beach.  There was another beautiful lagoon there, along with a picnic shelter and pirate ship to climb.  We returned about a mile and a half to town via the road in hope of finding berries, but would have been better off taking the Otterbahn.  Now we know for next time.

Adventure Girl requested halibut for lunch (she's turning into a little Alaskan) so we found a picnic table on the deck of the Tide Pool restaurant, overlooking the harbor.  We shared a rather disappointing plate of fish and chips (too much batter and grease, not much fish) while watching an otter do barrel rolls.  Then it was on to the Alaska Tribal Cache store in hopes of fulfilling our quest for salmonberry jam from Alaska Pure Berry, but no large jars were to be found.  Guess we will have to stop by Alaska Wildberry right here in Homer sometime soon.

Lunchtime entertainment

We stopped by a Russian Orthodox church, and then visited a small park with huge wood carvings, a result of the 2010 Seldovia Woodcarving Festival.  Can't beat a salmon with a saddle!  After a quick snack of ice cream and coffee, we spent the last half hour of our time in Seldovia at Lollipop Park.  The playground was brand-new and fully fenced-in...perfect for all of the families awaiting their transportation at the harbor.

The Kachemak Voyager, our transportation for the day

I half-expected Adventure Girl to put up a fight about getting back on the ferry after the scary journey to Seldovia, but by then she was remembering it as fun rather than rough.  The return ferry ride was much smoother, but we did travel most of the way through dense fog with low visibility.  The 5 and a half hours that we spent in Seldovia was just the right amount of time.  The only place we didn't make it to was the historic boardwalk, so we will be sure to start there next time.  We hope to go back with the rest of the family, but probably not until next summer.

We have one last family adventure on the books before school starts!  Next weekend, we are headed on assignment to Seward and Seavey's Ididaride Dog Sled Tours.  We will be reviewing their lodging and tours for trekaroo and are really looking forward to it!

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