Homer is about 45 minutes south from Anchorage by plane.
I arrived at Homer around 7 am on Saturday. In a few hours, I would meet my Backroads travel peers and we would begin our week-long exploration in Kenai Peninsula. I got a taxi from the airport and headed to Land’s End where my group would be staying for next two nights.
The small fishing town was still asleep. I quietly but excitedly observed the quaint Homer Spit from the cab. I couldn’t take my eyes off Kachemak Bay and the snow-capped mountains across the bay. The overcast sky add more mood to the scene. Land’s End Resort was located at the end of the Homer Spit. Hence the name.
I never traveled alone before this. I kept hearing myself saying “You are doing this!” in my head. I am my leading cheerleader. 🙂 First day was easy going. I met with most of the people in my group informally at Land’s End then one of the Backroads leader, Jenny, picked us up and took us to Bishop’s Beach for a picnic where we met up with the rest of the group. Two leaders, Erica and Jenny, prepared couple of special dishes for me because of my food allergies which was very nice. They were thoughtfully prepared and delicious.
After lunch, we went to Carl Wynn Nature Center for a guided 5 mile hike with a local naturalist who introduced us to the flora and fauna of this region. I knew I wasn’t going to retain all the info so I just tried to remember the poisonous ones he pointed out like Devil’s Club and Cow Parsnip. Don’t touch. Don’t eat. Got it.
Unfortunately, Day 2 started out rough. Long story short, I had to factory reset my phone and lost a month worth of pictures. A silver lining of this story is that it happened on early morning (even before breakfast) of the second day. I only lost pictures from the first day of the trip. Needless to say, the backup feature is turned on at all times ever since.
There were 17 of us and two leaders in our group. We needed 3 water taxis to cross the bay to Kachemak Bay State Park. Recognize my hiking hat? That’s me with the green jacket and my floppy hat. It was raining.
The rain stopped once we crossed the bay and luckily it stayed away rest of the day. But those vicious mosquitoes!! They attacked me through my long base layer shirt. All in my left forearm. They laughed at my effort to shield myself with bug repellent. No use. They were vicious. Even though I got hot, I had to keep my rain jacket on because they wouldn’t leave me alone.
We had 3 hiking options that day. I knew even before we reached at the trailhead, I wasn’t going to do the Overlook option. Not because it was the longest option with 8.1 miles but this option included crossing over a river by a hand tram. With my acrophobia, that wasn’t an option for me so I really had two options.
I decided to do the Hand Tram option with 6.7 miles instead. I hiked to the tram and participated in sending folks over to the other side of the river via the hand tram. My sad upper body strength. Time to focus on strength training…again. I wish they are not so boring. 😩After that, six of us continued on to our recommended lunch spot, Grewingk Glacier Lake. Near the lake I spotted a pile of bear poop. I took out my brand new bear bell right away and hung it on my backpack.
My first glacier! It was magnificent. I was thankful for the calm weather but small flying insects were bad at times. After lunch, I volunteered to be in the first group to get back to Land’s End. Unlike the mostly flat Glacier Lake Trail, one-mile Saddle Trail was a single track with 400 feet elevation gain. Enough elevation gain to make it interesting. And no bugs! The view of Kachemak Bay from the trail was stunning. Saddle Trail was my favorite part of this hike. No bugs, happy Jamie.
Later we found out that the group who was only 10 minutes ahead of us came across a black bear. Luckily nothing happened. There were five of us in my group so I am sure we were louder. That was one wild animal I was hoping not to meet while hiking. More to come on wild animal encounters..
I sleep lightly so I was concerned about the long daylight. But to my surprise, I was able to sleep fine with my eye mask. A glass of wine with dinner helped too. By the way, even after midnight, it never really got dark. Next morning I got up feeling refreshed. I wandered around the Homer Spit by myself before breakfast and took some photos which I enjoyed very much.
If you ever travel to Homer, be sure to check out Fresh Catch Cafe for some fresh seafood. The local flavor of Homer was fantastic! Great service too.