22 Days Left of Summer on The Kenai; Make Every Day Count!

From land to sea, enjoy wildlife viewing to the fullest before the snow fly’s and the bears migrate!

Enjoy caribou viewing on land… these two were caught navigating through the trees in Kenai, Alaska.

Or whale watching by sea… this shot was taken just outside of Seward, Alaska.
 
Or even some eagle viewing by air… this beautiful shot was taken in Homer, Alaska.
Trout Fishing on the Kenai River is HOT! And we have lots of great recommendations for top-notch guide services!
Silver Fishing on the Kasilof River is continuing to produce monsters! Fill your freezer with one of the greatest guides around!
Enjoy a hike near one of the many glaciers on Alaska’s Playground. This beautiful shot was taken in Seward, Alaska.
Get out and play! Enjoy a Kayaking Adventure in Seward, Homer, or anywhere in between…
Venture into the woods with a Ziplining Excursion in Seward, Alaska!
Get your friends & family together and GO TO THE RACES! Kenai, Alaska knows how to have a good time and deliver for the whole family…
No matter what your preference, we are sure that The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground has an activity that will deliver pure enjoyment for you during the final days of Summer 2014. For more information on all of the recommendations above, give us a call at (800) 535-3624 or feel free to respond to this post with a comment below. Wishing you happy trails, happy travels, and endless smiles on Alaska’s Playground!
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Fisherman’s Heaven: Salmon Catcher Lodge

This week, we are so excited to share a re-blog from Kristi Trimmer of Dragonfly Running. She is a Full-Time Traveler and recently spent some time on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground and shared her experiences from a stay at Salmon Catcher Lodge and B&B. We have personally visited this beautiful lodge and B&B and know first hand how amazing every little detail of this facility (and the hospitality) is. So it is truly our pleasure to share this enthusiastic blog with our fellow readers. Bonus: they are even open in the WINTER! So whether you make it a “bucket list” item to pay Salmon Catcher Lodge and B&B a visit next summer, or you want to go for a “Winter Wonderland” getaway… we are sure that it will be worth your time no matter what season it is.

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For my 40th birthday, I was surprised by my friend Scott Kelly with Black Dog Promotions with a week stay at Salmon Catcher Lodge in Kenai, Alaska. I promptly pulled up Google Maps to find out where Kenai was. I knew I was headed to Seward, and was excited to see that it was just two hours away. I had heard that you had to take boats everywhere in Alaska and I wondered if there was a road between Seward and Kenai. Yes, my friends, just a few short months ago I too, had NO idea how to navigate Alaska! BTW… there is indeed a road!

Salmon Catcher Lodge - Sign

After spending my first week in Alaska hanging with my friends at Exit Glacier Guides, I made the drive over to the Soldotna-Kenai area. This drive is beautiful! Ice blue lakes and huge rivers could be seen from the road. I didn’t realize I was looking at the famous Russian and Kenai Rivers were salmon fishing runs the world up here. People come from all over the world during the summer to fish for salmon in Kenai.

It was late in the day when I pulled up to Salmon Catcher Lodge and I was taken away by the sheer beauty and size of the property. There were 2- and 3-story cabins nestled among big beautiful evergreen trees and flowers peeking out everywhere. The main lodge was called the Conference Center. I loved how the Bear Family welcomed me right in!

Salmon Catcher Lodge - Welcome

 

The inside looked like no expense was spared in making this one amazing haven. The kitchen was massive and served breakfasts every morning for the guests. There was a bar area with all sorts of glasses and goblets just ready for some good craft beer to be poured after a day of fishing. What I loved the most though was the massage chair – I knew I would spend a lot of time in that! There were three large rooms with each having 2-4 beds and a private bath. Somehow I ended up being the only one there that week since it was before the season really took off!

Salmon Catcher Lodge - Inside

One morning while I was working away on the kitchen table, I saw this big ol moose wander right on by. You know that made me happy! Salmon Catcher Lodge is truly a Fisherman’s Heaven. Their cabins are built to be able to hold the whole fishing party and then some. Each cabin has a full kitchen, living room, and a ton of space. But what makes this lodge stand out for me was that their was a separate building where you could process your fish and then store it until you went home. Anything that you could possibly need for your fishing trip, Salmon Catcher has you covered. They can even help you plan your trip and get you out on the river with an experienced guide.

I might be staying in Alaska just so I am here for the first day of next salmon season!! I had no idea when I first landed in Alaska what a big deal this was. Now all I want to do is to go fish and I missed it! Sigh. Not next year, my friends! Not next year. :)

Salmon Catcher Lodge - 3 story

 

The owner of the Lodge, Terry Johnson, is a retired airline pilot who decided to make Alaska his home. He not only built Salmon Catcher Lodge but also Salmon Catcher B&B. The attention to detail in both properties simply amazed me! The B&B is what I would pick for a romantic getaway to Kenai-Soldotna. One of the rooms has this large sunken Jacuzzi-tub that I just wanted to soak in. Of course, I noticed the beautiful kitchen which was set out with snacks and drinks.

Salmon Catcher B&B Collage

The decorations within both properties were custom pieces with some amazing stained art and metal pieces plus some very beautiful paintings. I loved it there! I can’t wait to go back and spend some time relaxing in this cozy B&B.

Salmon Catcher Lodge - Eagle & Moose

The view out to the Kenai River from the deck is second to none. Take the little pathway out to the banks and fish to your heart’s content. Or sit and read a book – both make me happy.

Salmon Catcher BB - View

Thank you Terry for welcoming into your Lodge. It was one of the highlights of my summer in Alaska!! I can’t say enough good things about the Lodge and is the number one place I recommend to stay at when coming up to theKenai Peninsula in Alaska. Yep, I thought it was that awesome!

PS… just outside the entrance to the Lodge is where I saw my first Moose and baby!!

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Disclosure from Kristi Trimmer: My stay at Salmon Catcher Lodge was a birthday present to me. I was not under any obligation to write a review nor to fall in love with the property like I did. That just happened. And yes, I really hope I get to go back and spend more time out at the Lodge just steps away from peace and quiet and all those cute mooses! Links within this post may contain affiliate links that I earn commissions from. Example, if you click on the above link and purchase anything from that site I make a small commission, no matter what you purchase. This is how I pay for my travels and this blog. Thank you for supporting me!

Orca Island Cabins; One of the Best in the West

Congratulations to Orca Island Cabins, located in Ressurection Bay outside of Seward, Alaska, for being named one of Sunset Magazine‘s Top 30 Island Escapes!

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Orca Island Cabins is also featured in The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground destination video, which you can view here; www.kenaipeninsula.org! We also recently featured this special “congratulations” coverage of this well deserved recognition in our latest eNewsletter, which you can read (and sign up for) HERE. 

Orca Island Cabins offers Alaska visitors  unique yurt accommodations on a private island in scenic Humpy Cove in  Resurrection Bay, AK located 9 miles southeast of Seward, Alaska, just a short drive south of Anchorage.

Owned and operated by long-time Alaskans Dennis and Susan Swiderski, Orca Island Cabins invites you to enjoy comfortable and stylish overnight accommodations in comfortable yurt cabins with Alaska wildlife and marine life right outside your cabin door.

Enjoy the best that Alaska’s Playground has to offer while staying at Orca Island Cabins. Such as whale watching…

Kayaking…

Fishing and hiking…

Paddle boarding…

Or just sit back, relax and observe scenic views and wildlife from your private deck – a very special Alaska experience.

Photo Credits: Orca Island Cabins Facebook Page

Silver Salmon Fishing & Bear Viewing with High Adventure Air Charter

BEARS, BEARS, BEARS – Up Close and Personal! Fly out bear viewing and fishing. Experience glaciers, mountains and unbelievable vistas. A must-do when visiting The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground that will be sure to bring you memories that last a lifetime!

Photo Courtesy of High Adventure Air Charter, Guides & Outfitters Facebook Page

Photo Courtesy of High Adventure Air Charter, Guides & Outfitters Facebook Page

We had the pleasure of going out with High Adventure Air Charters this past Saturday, and boy were we in for a treat! We arrived to a beautiful log-home style facility tucked into beautiful thick tall green trees.  

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We set out to catch Silver Salmon and hopefully do some bear viewing as well! Silver Salmon (Coho Salmon) adults usually weigh 8 to 12 pounds and are 24 to 30 inches long, but individuals weighing 31 pounds have been landed. Adults in salt water or newly returning to fresh water are bright silver with small black spots on the back and on the upper lobe of the tail fin. They can be distinguished from Chinook salmon by the lack of black spots on the lower lobe of the tail and by their white gums; Chinook have small black spots on both tail fin lobes and they have black gums. Spawning adults of both sexes have dark backs and heads with maroon to reddish sides, according to ADFG.

Photo Courtesy of High Adventure Air Charter Facebook Page

Photo Courtesy of High Adventure Air Charter Facebook Page

As we walked up to the counter to check-in for our fly-out Bear Viewing & Silver Salmon Fishing trip, we were pleasantly surprised to see all the beautiful, lush flower baskets lining the way to the registration area. All the colors were so vivid and smelt divine!

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And of course, this very practical outdoor thermometer was also a wonderfully clever touch. We can always rely on Alaskans to bring the humor, that is for sure!

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As we walked in the lobby, we were impressed by a very welcoming atmosphere and some really neat adornments that were perfectly fitting for the occasion. This “Fish Stories Told Here” paddle was just one of the [many] cool knick·knacks displayed.

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Another couple that caught our eyes were these two… “Tight Lines” and a saw with an incredible wildlife display cutout in the metal. Alaskan ambiance at it’s finest!

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The coffee/water/tea bar was also very accommodating and a great touch. We made sure to indulge a bit. Always important to say hydrated before a day of fish slaying!

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And when we say that we indulged, that didn’t mean on all of the delicious baked goodies that they ALSO had offered in the lobby. Oh, wait! Maybe we did succumb to these tasty treats just a bit… too yummy to resist! Can you blame us? 😉

baked goods

As if we weren’t already off to a very full-filling start, our eyes were glistening with excitement when we perused this (very successful) “Catch of the Week” bulletin picture display.

catch of the day

Another really neat feature that the lobby had was this aerial map that with little flags that shows all of the lakes and rivers that High Adventure Air Charter fly’s out to.

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Some of the closest and most frequently visited spots are Wolverine Creek, Big River Lake, Lake Clark Pass, Duck Cabin, Nushagak, Parkers Lake, and the Kustatan River. If you can’t quite read it, the purple flag indicates our “take off” point at High Adventure Air Charter.

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For our trip, we were flying out to the Kustatan River to go fishing for Silver Salmon and to do some bear viewing at the foot of Wolverine Creek. It looks so close on the map, like maybe just a hop, skip, and jump over the Cook Inlet.

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We were told that it would just be a quick 30 minute flight via float plane. And as we walked down to the lake to enjoy the last few minutes before our plane arrived, we were continuing to take in all the neat little features that were displayed on the property. Like this sign… so many choices, so little time! Oh wait, we live here! #spoiled 😉

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More beautiful flowers and possibly the greenest grass and nicest landscaping around as we head down to wait for our plane. A top-notch experience right out of the gate!

view looking lake with sign

When our plane finally arrived, our excitement gained stronger and stronger as the pilot unloaded 4 energetic, smiling guests that just came back from the very same trip that we were about to go on. Lots of smiles from ear to ear, we knew we were going to be in for a good time!

plane before takeoff

There was another group of people that were preparing to take off at the same time that we were. Double the trouble, double the fun! “WE ARE READY!” 🙂

other plane before takeoff

Enjoying one last lake view before loading up and hitting the sky! For a mildly overcast day, the weather was in the low 60’s and felt absolutely perfect!

view before takeoff

We loaded up in the DeHavilland Beaver floatplane and got ready to enjoy a scenic flight to the western shores of Cook Inlet. This was our super-awesome pilot, Greg. He did great and we felt very safe and comfortable the entire trip across the inlet.

super awesome pilot

Ready, set, go! There were four of us total in the plane, plus the pilot. The plane seats 6 total passengers plus luggage. It was very comfortable and we didn’t feel like sardines at all!

in the plane

And here we are, up high in the sky with a beautiful view as we are leaving across the Cook Inlet!

leaving the cook inlet

Once we crossed over approaching near the Tustatan River, our eyes were in amazement as we looked down at such raw, natural beauty that was just flourishing with vivid colors.

green across bay

As we landed, we were graciously greeted by our guide, Ben. He was incredibly accommodating and we could tell that he knew what he was doing right from the get-go. Again, we just knew that we were in for a good time!

fish on

After we loaded up on the boat, we watched as our floatplane took off and left us in the good hands of our guide right SMACK out in the middle of Alaska’s Playground! Amazing! 🙂

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Up, up, & away! We will see him back here in about 5 hours! Hopefully by then, we will have limited out and seen lots of bears! 😉

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Within a half hour, all four of us on the boat had caught at least 1 fish! The silvers were biting and dancing around like crazy, it was GREAT!

fish on the line BEST SHOT

FISH ON, time to grab the net and reel her in! Teamwork was the key to success, that is for sure!

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Scoop her up, and pull her in! Steady… steady… scoop!

net in the water

There we go, another one to the boat! Woo hoo! Bring it on, slippery silvers!

fish up in net

As we were enjoying lots of laughs and good times slaying salmon, we were surprised by the next special feature; BEAR VIEWING!

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Of the (nearly 100) shots that we took of just the bears, we gathered a few of our favorites to show you.

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This one got busy eating delicious early spawning sockeye salmon. Happy, healthy bear getting his daily does Omega 3’s with wild Alaska salmon!

bear eating salmon

And this little black bear just looked like he was ready to get out of dodge! Up the trail he went. “Too much paparazzi,” he thought. 😉

bear playing in the bushes

After the show was over, our guide took us to a floating island and proceeded to filet all of our fish. Oh, I forgot to mention… we ALL limited out and caught 3 silver salmon a piece. That is 15 total salmon on the boat.

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And Step #2:

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Step #3:

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Step #4… fillets for days! Ben did a great job and whipped right through all 15 salmon in a matter of minutes. It was truly a pleasure to watch. He was a pro!

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About the time Ben was done filleting our fish, the plane came flying back to pick us up.

our plane back to get us BLUE

We pulled up to the plane in the guide boat, loaded up all of the delicious silver fillets and our belongings, and we all got in. With HUGE smiles on all of our faces, I should add! Our smiles were non-stop and gleaming from ear to ear!

our plane back to get us UP CLOSE

The ride back offered amazing views, just like the ride out. It was like dessert for our eyes. So many beautiful colors and amazing views that seem to go on, and on, and on!

flight back 2 green

And although we endured a light rain for the majority of our time on the boat, we wouldn’t have changed a thing! If anything, the rain added to the experience and gave us all a good reason to keep casting, and casting, and casting (to keep our bodies moving and stay warm). It was spectacular from start to finish (and everywhere in between)!

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If you are interested in having an experience of a lifetime, we highly recommend this amazing trip (or any of the others that they offer) with High Adventure Air Charter!

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