Kenai and Soldotna
At last, a visit to Kenai during “combat fishing” time. More than 200,000 salmon went through the counters in ONE DAY! They upped the limit twice and fishermen turned out in droves. The traffic was as bad as any big city, as everyone came to get some of the action. We had two of the rainiest days yet on the trip, but still Alaskan residents lined the banks of the outer Kenai River to dip net, an entirely new experience for us. They go out waist deep in their waders and stick their huge nets, on long handles, farther out into the water and scoop up fish. How they muscle them in was a mystery to us.
The surrounding area had several interesting stops. The lunch stop in Kenai was recommended by a local. The Burger Bus tuned out to be literally a bus, that turned out a fantastic burger and fries at a really inexpensive price. Right around the corner, in Old Town Kenai, was the old Russian Orthodox Church, complete with a wonderful old retired priest to tell stories of the church and its history in Alaska.
Along the Sterling Highway, north of Soldotna, we went looking for diamond willow canes to buy, and found the old “Willow Picker” in his shop, surrounded beautiful carvings of all kinds. Some were carved antlers, and he sent us down the road to check out Alaska Horn and Antler, where Tom C. had a great selection of beautiful items. On the way back to Soldotna we stopped to view the amazing winners of a recent chainsaw competition.
The next day we tried to get to the Moose is Loose Bakery, famous for great cinnamon rolls, but missed out when the crowd was too large, and it was closed the day after.