April Showers Bring May Flowers

Photo by Maria Fletcher-Stark, Flickr.

Photo by Maria Fletcher-Stark, Flickr.

As summer nears and springtime is in full swing, one thing that everyone looks forward to (yes, even the bears) is how magically beautiful the fresh blooming flowers brighten up The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground.

Photo by Robert Levy, Flickr.

Photo by Robert Levy, Flickr.

After a long, cold winter it is easy to feel completely entrenched in snow and frozenness. Lakes, yards, valleys, riverbanks, everything under the sun – you guessed it… FROZEN. So when we see beautiful fireweed blooming, it is 100% worthy of a photo-shoot in itself.

Photo from Megan, Flickr.

Photo from Megan, Flickr.

The sea of flowers along the Lost Lake Trail is truly motivation to keep going and going. Exercise seems easy when you’re surrounded by some of the most beautiful sights in the world.

Photo from Dan Logan, Flickr.

Photo from Dan Logan, Flickr.

Accessible from the lovely town of Seward, the views around Exit Glacier in the Kenai Fjords National Park are stunning after the April showers bring May flowers.

Photo from Ronald Woan, Flickr.

Photo from Ronald Woan, Flickr.

Renting a cabin in the woods is just part of the Alaska’s Playground experience. Have a fire outside, ride the ATV’s and just enjoy unplugging from the rat race of the city. And when flowers are in bloom, it’s hard not to fall in love with the beauty.

Photo from Keith Parker, Flickr.

Photo from Keith Parker, Flickr.

And if mellow-yellow is more of your style, you guessed it – we have some of that too!

Photo from Bill Bumgarner, Flickr.

Photo from Bill Bumgarner, Flickr.

The view from Ptarmigan Lake with fiery flowers is something that makes us feel a bit like we are in a land of heaven right here on earth.

Photo from Dan Logan, Flickr.

Photo from Dan Logan, Flickr.

And so does the very presence of being at Quartz Creek in Cooper Landing during the season of fresh blooming flowers and crisp, clean air!

Photo from Maria Fletcher-Stark, Flickr.

Photo from Maria Fletcher-Stark, Flickr.

If long walks in the wildflowers and daisy chain necklaces are your cup of tea, Bear Creek is an excellent place to set off on an exploration.

Photo from Random Michelle, Flickr.

Photo from Random Michelle, Flickr.

Fireweed with snow-capped mountains in the background just screams “Only In Alaska” and we fall head-over-heels in love!

Photo from Dr.DeNo, Flickr.

Photo from Dr.DeNo, Flickr.

Or fireweed with the view of a glacier in the distance… that is a pretty epic WINNING sight as well. Fritz Creek is a fantastic place to enjoy the bright blooming May flowers on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground.

Photo from Joe Decruyenaere, Flickr.

Photo from Joe Decruyenaere, Flickr.

Hiking along Primrose is filled with so many colorful sights that you’d think a skittles bag exploded all over the backcountry.

Photo from Dan Logan, Flickr.

Photo from Dan Logan, Flickr.

Flowers on the Kenai Peninsula are so excited to bloom, don’t be surprised if you find them growing out of rocks. These bluebells sure are determined!

Photo from Bill Bumgarner, Flickr.

Photo from Bill Bumgarner, Flickr.

Quite frankly, after seeing this stunning view overlooking Kachemak Bay from Diamond Ridge in Homer, we have never been more excited for the season of bloom that is upon us!

Photo from Lisa Matlock, Flickr.

Photo from Lisa Matlock, Flickr.

And if you’re as in love with wildlife viewing as we are, don’t worry – you can enjoy the moose and the beautiful flowers at the same time.
Photo from Lynda Cazort, Flickr.

Photo from Lynda Cazort, Flickr.

Or if you are planning on visiting Alaska’s Playground to get your fishing game on, we got you covered there too. Even the walk to the docks is lined with stunning May flowers after the April showers. Kick things into gear and enjoy the colorful sights and fresh fragrance on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground this month!

Photo from Nicholas D., Flickr.

Photo from Nicholas D., Flickr.

Advertisements

20 Undeniable Reasons Why Everyone Should Love Alaska

Photo from kathika.com.

Photo from kathika.com.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like summer out there! The 49th state is a glorious place for freedom lovers and wilderness adventurers. The last frontier is more than just a place for the wildlife to roam free, it’s an outdoor mecca for anyone looking to experience some of the most beautiful, untouched land in all of the world. We will give you 20 undeniable reasons why everyone should love Alaska, but we all know that this is a topic we could sing the praises to for well over 20 lines. 😉

#1 – Seclusion. Sure the city lights can be luring, but Alaska has the lowest population density in the nation at one person per square mile. The perfect place to unplug and drink life in.

#2 – Natural Hot Springs. The U.S. Geological Survey identifies 79 thermal springs in Alaska.

Photo from www.alaska.org of Chena Hot springs.

Photo from http://www.Alaska.org of Chena Hot springs.

#3 – Snow days in Alaska are not ordinary whatsoever. Winter is nothing short of EPIC. Drive right out your front door and go cross country skiing or snow-machining in a total backcountry paradise.

Photo from crestedbutteguides.com.

Photo from crestedbutteguides.com.

#4 – 24 hours of daylight. Otherwise known as “the land of the midnight sun.” This means, more time to play during the warm summer months. Alaskans have a motto: we will sleep in the wintertime, just like the bears!

Photo from www.adn.com.

Photo from http://www.adn.com.

#5 – Aurora Borealis. The beautiful colors of the Northern Lights do all the talking for themselves. Seeing these gorgeous dancing lights in person is a MUST for everyone’s lifetime bucket list.

Photo from northtosouth.us.

Photo from northtosouth.us.

#6 – Sunrises. One word: breathtaking. We would say more, but we are speechless.

#7 – Fishing. The fishing and seafood industry is the state’s largest private industry employer. Such a fun activity for the sport fisherman as well as the whole family.

#8 – Hiking. For the active, outdoor enthusiast- Alaska is the place to be. Whether you are a beginner or an expert hiker looking to go off the beaten path, hundreds upon thousands of hiking trails make up this beautiful state.

#9 – Water babies, unite! There are more than 3,000 rivers and 3 million lakes in Alaska.

Photo from ehfcmembers.wordpress.com.

Photo from ehfcmembers.wordpress.com.

#10 – National Parks. Alaska has 8 National Parks, the second largest amount of any other state in the USA. All but two are actually classified as both National Parks and National Preserves.

Photo from hqworld.net.

Photo from hqworld.net.

#11 – Island living. Don’t think of “island life” when you think of Alaska? Think again. Alaska has 2,670 named islands making this the state perfect for those who want their own slice of Alaskan paradise.

Photo from www.wsj.com.

Photo from http://www.wsj.com.

#12 – Alaska or bust! “The mountains are calling, and I must go!” Of the 20 highest peaks in the United States, 17 are in Alaska.

#13 – Forests. The country’s largest and second-largest national forests are in Alaska. The 17-million-acre Tongass and the 5.6-million-acre Chugach. Both lie in southern Alaska and protect temperate rain forests and coastal mountains.

#14 – Glaciers. There are 616 officially named glaciers in Alaska however the Alaska Almanac estimates that Alaska has over 100,000 glaciers.

#15 – Arctic Tundra. This refers to treeless ecosystems where winters are long and cold, and summers are short and (usually) chilly. With a view like this, it’s hard not to fall in love.

#16 – Dog mushing is our state sport! And what’s not to love about that? In our book, the more dogs- the better! There is something so spectacular about the relationship between hard working dog mushers and their resilient, athletic dogs.

Photo from animalaska.wordpress.com.

Photo from animalaska.wordpress.com.

#17 – A birders paradise. Alaska has over 430 species of birds with the largest population of bald eagles in the entire nation.

#18 – A bear viewing mecca. Alaska is home to 98% of the US brown bear population and 70% of the total North American population. An estimated 30,000 brown bears live in Alaska.

#19 – We have the highest mountain peak in North America, Mt. Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley). Sitting 20,310 feet above sea level, Mt. Denali is the third most prominent and isolated mountain in the world.

Photo from en.wikipedia.org.

Photo from en.wikipedia.org.

#20 – Sunsets. We will let the picture do all the talking. But really though, how could anyone resist this stunning eye candy?

Photo from fineartamerica.com.

Photo from fineartamerica.com.

Everyone Must Visit Kasilof Mercantile & Rocky’s Café

r1

As you head south from Soldotna towards Kasilof (in the direction of Homer), you will come across Rocky’s Café and the Kasilof Mercentile on the left hand side of the Sterling Hwy, right before you hit the bridge that goes over the Kasilof River.

r16

The sign says café and espresso but there is SO much more at this great Alaskan place than just those two things. Upon pulling into the parking lot, we loved checking out all the cool displays that screamed “you are in a fishing town in Alaska.” First up was this huge salmon hung up with cool mile arrows telling you how far it is to more “civilized” areas. Paris, France is 4883 miles away – holy smokes! We certainly are remote up here on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground (and we love it that way).

r3

We also LOVED this swinging bench with old license plates from all around the United States. Perfect for a family photo op after enjoying a good meal inside. Apologies for the slightly blurry outside photos. When you arrive at 8:30pm on an empty stomach, it’s hard to keep your hands totally steady when your stomach is growling at you. 😉

r2

What stuck out to us was the attention to detail that this establishment truly put so some much care and emphasis on. As you read on you will see what we mean. Every direction you turn is beautifully decorated in the most Alaskan way possible. And it starts with these beautiful carved bears that great you upon entering.

r4

The first thing you see when coming in is a stocked up gift shop. For locals and visitors alike – there is something for everyone. Cool tee’s, hoodies, mugs, artwork, treats and so much more.

r15

As we walked to our table, we loved how clean and cozy the restaurant was. We also loved all the natural light that was coming in through the many windows. The exposed beams with hanging fans were also a very exquisite touch.

r9

We couldn’t help but to feast our eyes on all the beautiful stained glass. The wood and metal fish mounts were really cool as well.

r12

The Alaska themed artwork was also so beautiful to just stare at in amazement. Beautiful photos of epic wildlife found on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground.

r11

Then there is this epic paining of the mountains and inlet with float planes and fishing boats. Phenomenal! So very cool and so very fitting.

r10

The huge fireplace located right across from our table made us dream of returning during the snowy winter months. This would be the perfect spot to warm up next to the fire while enjoying a hearty meal.

r5We were also very impressed by the layout. There is a great amount of seating area (although were sure it gets packed during the summertime), a lengthy bar area and also lots of outdoor picnic tables. For such a small town, this is a rare find!

r6At Rocky’s Café they serve a mix of hearty American style cuisine options including burgers, hot and cold sandwiches, salads, wild Alaska seafood, omelets, pancakes and other fabulous breakfast, lunch and dinner options. We stuck to some traditional favorites. Up first was a delicious Rueben on toasted wheat bread with fries on the side.

r13

And a Kasilof Club on sourdough bread with perfectly cooked tater tots. This is a favorite menu option for many who visit!

r14

On the way out we were pleasantly greeted by the dessert display. Our diets might not have loved us for partaking in this sweetness, but we couldn’t resist homemade cakes.

r8

And then there is the ice cream cooler… 😉 Need we say more? We decided that it should be considered illegal to leave Rocky’s Café without getting ice cream on the way out. Far too many fabulous flavors to pass up.

r7

From great food, ice cream, amazing desserts, a warm fire place, a cozy log cabin atmosphere, incredible paintings/artwork/stained glass windows, a gift shop and truly warm hospitality – it’s next to impossible to be disappointed when visiting this great Alaskan spot.