Happy Thanksgiving from The Kenai

PSkilak Lake. Photo from Becky Washington.

Skilak Lake. Photo from Becky Washington.

Happy Thanksgiving to our amazing friends, fans and fellow lovers of The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground! Living on the Kenai Peninsula, we undoubtedly have a million-and-one things to be thankful for each and every day. To start, it’s beyond-incredible that we live in a town that has these kind of mountain views right within the city (see below).

Photo from Greg Daniels shared from the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center.

Photo from Greg Daniels shared from the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center.

More times than not, we are blessed with some of the most magical sunrises. Like this one below in Seward, Alaska over the small boat harbor.

Photo from Derrick Miskinis Photography.

Photo from Derrick Miskinis Photography.

And the sunsets, those aren’t too shabby either. 😉 This one below in Cook Inlet titled “one last haul” is hard to beat!

Photo from Daniel Woeste.

Photo from Daniel Woeste.

We are thankful to live in an area where we can enjoy world-class river fishing right out front door.

Photo from kenaicache.com.

Photo from kenaicache.com.

And just-for-the-halibut, we must mention that the salt fishing is worthy of “writing home about” as well. 😉

Photo from halibutchronicles.com.

Photo from halibutchronicles.com.

We are thankful for the many awesome adrenaline rushes that Alyeska Resort provides us every season. By the way, today is opening day! Woohoo!

Photo from Alyeska Resort Facebook page.

Photo from Alyeska Resort Facebook page.

And for living in a state the provides so many opportunities to enjoy snow days with the kiddos. Alaska kids love the snow and are raised to be tough little outdoorsmen and women from the time they can walk. 🙂

Photo from Chris Hall via The Alaska Life.

Photo from Chris Hall via The Alaska Life.

We are thankful to have so many wildlife viewing opportunities. Nothing beats spotting a mama bear with three of her cubs.

Photo from stellerair.com.

Photo from stellerair.com.

Except maybe the opportunity to see amazing wildlife displaying their true “survival of the fittest” instincts in the wild. Talk about up close and personal!

Photo from the Peninsula Clarion.

Photo from the Peninsula Clarion.

The way that the sun breaks through the clouds and shines upon the ocean in Homer, Alaska is enough to leave us breathless every time.

Photo from The Kenai, Alaska's Playground Facebook page.

Photo from The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground Facebook page.

We are thankful for date nights and family outings that are above it all and simply over-the-top.

Photo from Alyeska Resort.

Photo from Alyeska Resort.

We are thankful to live amongst this beautiful, vast land where we regularly have the opportunity to view the Aurora Borealis right out our back door.

And for the opportunity to see marine animals in their natural habitat.

Photo from the Travel Channel.

Photo from the Travel Channel.

We are thankful to live in an area where the hiking trails offer some of the most epic, jaw-dropping views.

And where “pitching a tent” isn’t just your everyday, average camping experience.

Photo from greetingsfromstrangers.wordpress.com.

Photo from greetingsfromstrangers.wordpress.com.

What are thankful to live in an area where an everyday, average kayaking experience can change to totally-monumental and profoundly life changing  once you paddle upon a huge glacier sticking out of the ocean.

Photo from National Geographic.

Photo from National Geographic.

And for SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) adventures that offer that same sort of feeling. Only in Alaska! Only on the Kenai Peninsula!

Photo from Liquid Adventures.

Photo from Liquid Adventures.

And although we could go on and on for many hours, at the end of the day we are most thankful for having the opportunity to share The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground with our friends, family and loved ones. Whether you live here full time or you are a visitor to this beautiful area, it is an undeniably special place that is best experienced with those closest to your heart.

Because at the end of the day its not about where you are, its about who you’re with.

Photo from mowryjournal.com.

Photo from mowryjournal.com.

So today be sure to eat, drink, laugh and enjoy each others company. Happy Thanksgiving from The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground!

Bald eagles in Homer, Alaska. Photo from www.jimcoda.com.

Bald eagles in Homer, Alaska. Photo from http://www.jimcoda.com.

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A Moose kind of Monday

Photo from The Moose is Loose Facebook page.

Photo from The Moose is Loose Facebook page.

Because nothing makes it easier to beat the Monday blues than a collection of adorable moose enjoying The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. And there is just something about the sight of a huge, 700 pound moose frolicking in the fresh fall snowfall that makes it hard to wipe a smile off your face.

Photo from Alaska from Scratch Facebook page.

Photo from Alaska from Scratch Facebook page.

Or maybe the sight of a nearly 1000 pound moose on its “tip-toes” is what will keep a smile on your face all day long. These animals are pretty remarkable!

Photo shared from our Facebook page.

Photo shared from our Facebook page.

And of course, there is just something about a moose and a sweet little baby playing peek-a-boo through the window that can melt anyone’s heart in an instant. ❤

Photo from Jeremy Lee Sarnowski Sr.

Photo from Jeremy Lee Sarnowski Sr.

And a moose trying his best to wear snow-camouflage and blend in to backdrop is pretty darn adorable indeed. There is no hiding an animal that size!

Photo from activerain.com.

Photo from activerain.com.

Or how about this bull moose who unexpectedly gets a snout full as he reaches for graze along the Kenai River. Nature at it’s finest!

Photo from the Peninsula Clarion.

Photo from the Peninsula Clarion.

And there is just something oh-so-adorable about a mama moose and baby moose munching on leftover Halloween pumpkins. Better eat them all before Thanksgiving this Thursday!

Photo shared from KTUU.com.

Photo shared from KTUU.com.

One thing is for sure, only in Alaska will you mutter the words “today I saw a moose on a roof!” 😉

Photo from Anchorage Daily News.

Photo from Anchorage Daily News.

But maybe the real riddle on everyone’s mind this Monday is, why did the moose cross the road? All we know is that he looks awfully stoic and wildly handsome.

Photo from christophermartinphotography.com.

Photo from christophermartinphotography.com.

Braving the heavy snowfall in Alaska can be difficult, but this bull and cow moose make weathering the storm look like a breeze.

And this sweet young moose just makes weathering the storm look like an absolute blast. Did someone say snow day? Yes, please!

Photo from fineartamerica.com.

Photo from fineartamerica.com.

And because Monday’s are sometimes (most of the time) harder than most, a nap is usually the best way to go. Take it from this beautiful gal below. She looks awfully comfy. 🙂

Photo from the www.inquisitr.com.

Photo from the http://www.inquisitr.com.

One thing is for sure, moose certainly have a special way of bringing so much life and beauty to the dark, snowy fall and winter months.

Photo from susanstevenson.com.

Photo from susanstevenson.com.

And last but certainly not least, we are pretty sure that no one can disagree that a moose underneath the Aurora Borealis is one of the most magical sights that can be seen. Incredible!

Photo from Mark Newman via Alaska - Land of the Last Frontier Facebook page.

Photo from Mark Newman via Alaska – Land of the Last Frontier Facebook page.

Hopefully these fun photos brought a smile to your face on this chilly, crisp Monday morning. Have a wonderful day, friends!

Photo from potd.pdnonline.com.

Photo from potd.pdnonline.com.

150 Million Acres of Magic in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Photo from O'Dell Fowles shared by High Adventure Air Charter, Guides & Outfitters.

Photo from O’Dell Fowles shared by High Adventure Air Charter, Guides & Outfitters.

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 500 unites in the National Wildlife Refuge System. This is a 150-million acre network of lands and waters that is set aside to help conserve out nation’s fish and wildlife heritage.

Photo from the Cooper Landing Chamber of Commerce & Visitor's Center and Tracy Curtin.

Photo from the Cooper Landing Chamber of Commerce & Visitor’s Center and Tracy Curtin.

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, often call “Alaska in miniature,” is home to a wide diversity of wildlife including moose, eagles, brown and black bears, lynx, wolves and trumpeter swans.

Bald eagles in Homer, Alaska from freenaturepictures.blogspot.com.

Bald eagles in Homer, Alaska from freenaturepictures.blogspot.com.

For a complete list of species, visit the official U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service link HERE.

Lynx enjoying the fresh snowfall on the Kenai Peninsula.

Lynx enjoying the fresh snowfall on the Kenai Peninsula.

The eastern portion of the refuge descends from the 6,500 Harding Ice Field to 2,000 to 4,000 ft. peaks in the western Kenai Mountains.

Photo of the Harding Ice Field from www.photosbymartin.com.

Photo of the Harding Ice Field from http://www.photosbymartin.com.

Ice fields and glaciers are vital sources of fresh water for wildlife and people. Mountain goats, brown bears and ravens have been sighted crossing glaciers by many locals and visitors alike.

Photo from Mark Johnson.

Photo from Mark Johnson.

A wildlife sighting in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is always a special treat. And it happens quite frequently, so be sure to always keep a look out. After all, this is their backyard, we just get to play in it. 😉

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

In the refuge you will find Mountain Tundra. This is where the tree line ends at 1,500 to 2,000 ft. with low growing tundra plants and shrubs continuing in elevation to snow and rock fields at 4,000 ft. Dall sheep, mountain goats, and caribou roam this rugged country. Hoary marmots form colonies on talus slopes.

Brown bears graze for berries and occasionally take marmots and sheep. Wolves and golden eagles have been known to be successful hunters of young sheep. Wolverines scavenge the carcasses of dead sheep and goats.

Photo of brown bears searching for berries.

Photo of brown bears searching for berries.

From sea level to 2,000 ft., the northern boreal forest is found on the refuge. This forest is composed predominately of white and black spruce, birch, aspen, and cottonwood trees in various stages of succession. This forest is an important source of food and shelter for moose, black and brown bears, lynx, wolves, coyotes, porcupine, weasels, red squirrels and snowshoe hares.

Northern Boreal Forest in Alaska.

Northern Boreal Forest in Alaska.

The lakes & wetlands in the refuge are something extra special! The northeastern portion of the refuge is dotted with hundreds of small lakes surrounded by wetland tundra or spruce/hardwood forest hills. This large wetland habitat supports migratory breeding birds including common and pacific loons, grebes, trumpeter swans, sandhill cranes, ducks, and shorebirds.

Photo from the Redoubt Reporter.

Photo from the Redoubt Reporter.

Mammals found within this lake & wetland habitat include caribou, moose, beaver, muskrat, and mink. The lakes support a variety of fish species, such as rainbow trout, arctic char, red and silver salmon, and sticklebacks.

Photo from Alaska.org.

Photo from Alaska.org.

Also within this habitat, the Chickaloon River Flats remains the last pristine major saltwater estuary on the Kenai Peninsula. The Flats serves as a staging area for thousands of shorebirds and waterfowl.

Photo at the Chickaloon River Flats from the Redoubt Reporter.

Photo at the Chickaloon River Flats from the Redoubt Reporter.

And the Rivers in the refuge can be described as “what dreams are made of” with some being world renowned.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

The refuge is drained by nine river systems, including the world famous Kenai River, renowned for its wide variety of sport fish including Chinook (king), sockeye (red), and coho (silver) salmon, and Dolly Varden and rainbow trout.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook Page.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook Page.

Bald eagles are often sighted perched in tall cottonwoods along the riverbanks. Brown and black bears are attracted to the rich fish resources in summer and fall. Moose, beaver, and mergansers are commonly seen wildlife along refuge river systems.

Photo from the Upper Kenai River Trail at the Russian River Ferry, from USFWS/Berkley Bedell.

Photo from the Upper Kenai River Trail at the Russian River Ferry, USFWS/Berkley Bedell.

If you haven’t yet visited, you simply MUST. Be sure to make time to catch a good reflection (double the pleasure, double the memories).

Photo from Aren Kert at Tern Lake.

Photo from Aren Kert at Tern Lake.

And a beautiful rainbow won’t hurt your eyes too bad either… 😉

Photo from Sara Moore via the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Photo from Sara Moore via the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

If you prefer to get your body moving and enjoy an active lifestyle, we recommend a hike in the refuge. So many incredible options to choose from.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Be sure to get up early enough (at least one day) to enjoy a sunrise. Worth it? We think so!

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

And of course, it’s always a good idea to take a load off and enjoy a good sunset. Happy travels, friends. 🙂

Sunset over Mt. Iliamna. What dreams are made of.

Sunset over Mt. Iliamna. What dreams are made of.