Seldovia has an odd tradition of a chainsaw carving contest. Guys rev up and slice through wood logs, then set to work and polish them off to create these wonderful sculptures, which are then displayed throughout the town. If you happen to be there in time for the contest, make a day of watching it all go down.
Fenske's Warehouse Books and Coffee is not like normal. It sits right on the slough of Seldovia, so you can sit on the wide covered deck and watch the tides move in and out. And the interior is packed tight with books, mementos, and miscellaneous right to the brim. It is a funky little place, which I say in a very positive way. Find a used or new book, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and sit back and let your pace of life slow down a little. Definitely a good place to undwind. Have a chat with Joe, the owner, or with some of the locals who often stop by, making it a great place to chat and learn about Seldovia.
The slough on the edge of town is quaint portion of the village of Seldovia, one of the older parts of town. This waterway undergoes through a dramatic tidal change, and at low tide it is nothing spectacular. But as the water rises, this tranquil heaven is brought into perspective. The homes and businesses are all built on stilts over the water to allow for the changes in water level. It is a beautiful place to walk along, fish from (the salmon do run through this slough), and eat (there is a cafe near the bridge).
One of the more remote hiking sites in Seldovia, but still accessible by vehicle from the town, Red Mountain sits about an hour's drive away from the town. It is a cirque, a depression made from glaciers long ago, and most of the time there is still snow up in the higher places of the cirque. A creek runs down the hill, though not deep enough for kayaking, but good for dangling feet into.
The area is great for hiking, there are few abandoned chromium mines in the area that you can explore. You can hike up to the hills and look down far, perhaps even seeing the Jakolof bay below. You can camp here, and one of th epopular things to do is bike back down teh gravel road to town. Outfitters in town can drive you up, saving you the long upward haul, if you prefer just to take the downhill speed out of the mountain area.
This delightful little trail at the edge of Seldovia is a great starter hike, or filler for an idle afternoon. The trail was created by students of the town, originally named the "We worked hard so you better enjoy it" trail. The trail starts just past the school, and winds up and down through a wonderful forest, filled with Devil's club and ferns. The whole understory glows green in the sunlight, your whole vision is this verdant shade.
At the end you pass through the end, you come across Outer Beach. There is more trail that leads to Sandy Beach, but we did not go that far.
Total Length: 1.5 miles
Total time: 1 hour
The town of Seldovia seems to be Berrytown USA. Several species of wild Alaskan berries grow there in abundance - the salmonberry (a relative of the raspberry), the blueberry, and the crowbery (a berry unique to polar regions of the world). Some of the berry fields are proprietary, and so I can't divulge their location, but suffice to say there are enough berries when we were there that we were able to just pick them off the bushes from the side of the road. You can't miss them, and in the late summer (late July through August) they are ripe enough to eat right from the vine.
It is not a long walk back from Outside Beach. It is all on roads but you can still see some beautiful scenery, including the Tidal Slough, Irene Lake, Seldovia Slough Lagoon, and even the City Cemetery.
Take the small road up the hill off Main Street (just past the Crab Pot - the building with the red roof in the middle of the first pic) and visit the old Russian Church. It looked locked but maybe there are times you may go inside. The views are good from the bluff.
The 1964 earthquake dropped much of the Seldovia harbor area by 4 feet and destroyed much of the historic boardwalk. An L-shaped piece a few hundred feet long remains. It is a quiet area with a few old homes and the Seldovia Rowing Club B&B.
The Seldovia Chamber of Commerce sponsored the First Chainsaw Carving Contest in Seldovia on May 25-29, 2006 (scroll down a bit if you go to this link). They are now located at various protected places around town:
Angel – by Toby & Elaine Craft located outside Seldovia Fuel & Hardware
Cat Hat – by Paul Comolli located in the Library Hall
Dragon – by Jamie Rothenbuhler and Keith Hansen located outside Herring Bay Mercantile
Eagle – by Jarrett Dahl located inside the Multipurpose Room
Fisherman – by Scott & Joan Thompson located outside the Harbor Master Building
Mermaid – by Scott Hanson & Sandy Bullock located outside the Tide Pool Restaurant
Whale – by Steven Curtiss and Wendy Brammeier located inside the Seldovia Village Tribe Visitor Center
There is a blog by a lady living in Homer, Anastasia? (her husband is Ray; I like him already) that actually has a picture of the 2007 contest. Her blog has excellent information about Homer; I shall be reading it more later. Maybe the sea monster (or whatever it was), the Cha??keet, and the moose I saw at the Bridgekeeper's Inn were from the 2007 contest.
Outside Beach is on the Kachemak Bay. You may drive there or walk the Otterbahn Trail to get there. The picnic area on the beach had a shelter, volleyball net and restrooms. There are wilderness park sites for tents and RV's on the east end of the beach. I timed it well when I walked the Otterbahn Trail and the tidal slough was low when I had to cross.
The students from Susan B. English School built the Otterbahn Trail (~1.2 miles) using the route of an old coastal trail. It is better to walk it at low tide so you can cross the tidal slough between the north trailhead and the Outside Beach, and come back via the roads. The south trailhead is near the Boys and Girls Club. The trail is not maintained that well. There are places where it is almost totally grown over. I did not like that so much since it is bear country. Well, just "little" black bears. I made sure I made plenty of noise, but a bear could be an arm's length away in some places and you would not be able to see it.
The trail goes through a beautiful forest. There are educational signposts along the way to tell you about the plants and animals and boardwalks across the low areas. The trail ends at the Outside Beach.
As soon as I got off the boat, I dropped off my bag at the hotel and picked up my bag lunch and went for a hike about an hour to a beach called the outer beach on the otter bahn trail. It was a well marked trail thru the woods and devil clubs, not much effort in hiking. It landed us on the beach to view Kachemak Bay.
The Inside Beach is just a few blocks from downtown, so you can walk there easily. It is a small beach but pretty with views of Lookout Point and Camel Rock.