Driving from Anchorage down to the Kenai Peninsula you have to go over Turnagain Pass. It's not that tricky of a drive but it doesn't take much of an elevation gain to get to very cold and very snowy conditions in Alaska. We may have very little snow on the ground here but the Pass will still have 90 inches or more. This is a very popular area for snowmachining and other winter sports. There's always the risk of avalanches and they directly tell you that in this area. Sometimes of course, the drive can be a bit hazardous with ice or snow. When there's no risk of snow up here, there is still the chance of heavy rain or it being extremely foggy. The speed limit doesn't really slow down near the pass but there are places to turn out if you don't want someone riding your as$ (there are also passing lanes). Trucks might slow you down, limit your visibility or throw some cinders up into your car here. The State of Alaska DOT is very good about snow removal on the road in this area (unlike the city of Anchorage) but there are some large bumps and potholes. If you don't want to participate in the winter sports, it's still fun to get out of the car at the scenic turnout right beyond the "Turnagain Pass" sign and watch others. The pass is really pretty and the amount of snow from fall until late spring silences the activity around you so it's quite peaceful as well. Good place for pictures--on a clear day, the dark blue sky looks fantastic against the blinding white snow.
Fondest memory: View the pictures for the many conditions of the pass
Nikiski is the only town I'm covering that belongs in a general tip rather than in the must visit category. This whole "general tips" being my favorite memory bothers me. It's just a a general tip: not a particular danger and not anything exciting. Oh well...moving on...
So you've just seen cute Old Town Kenai and the wonderful overlooks or the area and perhaps you want to see what the rest of the Kenai Spur road has to offer. There's a recreation area at the end of this road with more great views so maybe Nikiski will be nice too, right? Well, if you're into oil refineries, you've arrived at the best place. Nikiski looks like parts of the Gulf areas of Texas and Louisiana--refinery after refinery. The difference here is that there are still great volcanoes and this amazing Alaskan landscape but you can't see that through the stacks. And these refineries aren't spread out over large areas--they are all clumped together. The other buildings aren't that great either. Apparently there is still good fishing here but why would you choose Nikiski out of all your other options? There is Nikiski Pool which is indoors with a large waterslide and other recreation--a Conoco Phillips site. So, like I said, if you're coming to Alaska to see Phillips or Chevron structures, you'll have a great time. Otherwise, you probably just want to move on and forget the refineries that make up Nikiski. My overall review: yuck.
Fondest memory: Leaving is my fondest memory of Nikiski
Fondest memory: The fondest memory is with a group of friends on top of Mount Alyeska at the Kenai Peninsula. This place is one of the most famous skiing place in Alaska during the winter, and it has a good location being near to Anchorage.
Favorite thing: This guy has a Red Salmon in his net. I've never see so many people smiling all at the same time while fishing! We got to see the perfect timing of the fishing coming in with the tide so everyone was catching fish!
Favorite thing: On the Kenai Peninsula it is quite common to see Moose! We spotted this one right in a residential area! Don't think you can get out a pet it!! They can kill you!! Just enjoy watching them and take some photos if you've got a camera handy.
Favorite thing: There were times when it was non-stop catching! The whole beach looked like a worker colony of ants! You could see everyone just walking from the beach back to the water over and over again. Most of the people are filling up their freezers for the winter months when the salmon don't run.
Favorite thing: For most of what I saw it seemed like a family affair. Whole families would be there sharing in the duties of dipnetting, cleaning, carrying the fish back to the car. It can be quite a bit of work just to get the fish back to your car. As you're not allowed to drive on the beach and the parking lot is a few hundred yards away from the river.
Favorite thing: Here on the beach you can see the style of net that is used. There are different variations but the size of the opening of the net is restricted to a certain size but I dont remember exactly what that is. If you get a chance to do this plan on getting wet! I saw a few of the guys take just one step to many and that is all it takes to fill your waders full of water!
Favorite thing: When we did this trip I wasn't a member of VT! So I was just taking pictures of the team. But now I'm scrambling to come up with some pictures! haha Well, behind the boys you can see the locals all lined up at the mouth of the river for their subsistance fishery. They use a net that is mounted on the end of a very long pole. It is held out in the current until you feel a fish in your net then you make your way back to shore with your catch and do it all over again! It looked like a blast!
Take trip and boat ride around Kenai Fjordes National Park. The picture at the beginning of this page was taken while on the Emerald Sea boat tour of the area.
Fondest memory: Taking that wonderful boat ride on the Emerald Sea. They fed wild bald eagle huge fish, and the eagles swept down from the cliffs to catch and eat the fish.
Start your visit at the Kenai Visitors Center on the Spur Highway. Be sure to drive out of town to Nikiski and see the offshore oil rigs. Hit the beach in mid summer and watch the residents dip net for salmon. Visit the Kenai Peninsula Wildlife Refuge. Be sure to hit the Kenai River and fish for some of our famous Kenai King Salmon and enjoy the time you can spend outdoors. The Kenai/Soldotna area is a great base for visiting Ninilchik, Anchor Point and Homer. All three are small Alaskan communities with individual charms and points of interest. Halibut fishing charters are a lot of fun and you get a great meal from the fish you catch, there is nothing as tasty as a fresh halibut steak.
Fondest memory: While outside I miss the smell of an early morning in winter, the wood smoke mxing with the cold to make an impression that is hard to forget. The quiet of an early summer morning on the river listening to the loons call to each other and the sound of the rushing river.
A cup of late'(sp)(coffee)at a coffee shop on the bluff. The place I can not remember the name but,when I lived ther in the 60's. It was one of our friends homes. We recognized it and went in. It was the most awsome cup of espresso. Emily Dolchock used to live in that log cabin.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory was stopping off at the library to warm up. We were walking to a shopping center. The library was a geat retreat. Employees very helpful. I saw a plack where my second grade teacher was a sponsor. Mrs. Seaman had been earlier that day. Too bad I missed her.
Definitly the Big Kmart, which is in the center of the city. We don't have much in the manner of malls or major shopping centers, lots of little stuff though. I would then go out to the beach, just five minutes away, and show off the view of the inlet.
Fondest memory: I have lived just north of Kenai (Nikiski) for about two years now. One of the things that I appreciate the most is the size of the town and the quality of the people in it. The city is so small and cozy it really makes you feel right at home.
Favorite thing: I think everyone that was fishing was having a great time! It seemed to be that most people brought out there whole family to share in the fun! Catching those things is hard work!
Favorite thing: From the mouth of the Kenai River if you look across Cook Inlet you can see the Aleautian Mountain Range.