Alaska 2.0, Part 2
We decided to return to Homer. So back around the Turnagain Arm we went, all the way to Soldotna for an overnight stop and provisions. Homer wasn’t too busy so we grabbed a spot and enjoyed several relaxing days at the beach. Another Airstream family, the Kenneys See America, joined us in Homer. We had been messaging each other on Instagram since July and crossed them briefly in Eagle River. Not much later another Airstream showed up and parked next to us, as is required by law! This newcomer was the very nice couple of Pour More and Explore and Shadows and Mountains. We took advantage of the wonderful weather to make the most of Homer area, the Spit, Farmers Market and food scene.
We explored a bit more of the Kenai before heading back to Seward, because why not? Our timing was not great, arriving during the Salmon Derby with most campgrounds full. It was also quite hot so we opted for a powered site and get a decent one. Another Airstream pulled into camp and we were soon chatting with the family. You can check out some of their Alaska photos here. We also wanted to get out on the water for some sightseeing on Alaska Coastal Explorer‘s boat, Hope, but it didn’t work out. Next time.
We decided that we wanted more time in Denali so we started back north. On the way, we stopped near Cooper Landing so that Hobbes could meet another adventure cat. The meet was short and sweet and as we’ve said many times in Alaska, we’ll be back for more. We stop in Eagle River again for an overnight provisioning stop and then push north towards Denali.
The weather in the interior was definitely changing. Days earlier, we had heard from friends, of the rains and mudslides. We arrived to very cool temperatures and clear skies but “our” spot was taken! We took one that seemed alright but the solar capabilities weren’t great. Luckily some sites opened up in another loop so we moved into the glorious sunshine. We enjoyed more the area, caught up with friends, saw Denali in his full glory. We only saw his flanks the previous month. We heard that 70% of Alaskan visitors never see the mountain at all, 30% see parts of it, and only 5% see Denali in his entirety. We can safely say that we’ve seen it all!
We were due for service for Nemo but had learned that the Nissan dealer in Anchorage had lost their diesel technician so our fate was sealed to send us to Fairbanks. Even though our camp near Fairbanks had full hookups, the water is extremely iron-rich, which we don’t like at all. So leaving Denali NP, we ensure our water tank and jerry cans are full and plan to economize our fresh water for cooking and drinking. We end up spending nearly 10 days in Fairbanks. Nemo was serviced. We revisited the Morris Thompson Culture and Visitor Center where we caught up with an NPS Ranger we met last year in Denali NP. We also met the Chicago family we crossed a few days earlier in Denali and hung out with them a bit.
As we were approaching the end of August, one thing was on our minds – aurora! We monitored our app daily for changes in the KP-index and were ultimately rewarded with nearly three straight weeks of aurora. Not all shows were photo worthy but still, almost every night! Towards the end of our stay, word got around camp that we were the people that knew how to find the lights. It wasn’t too hard to find us four with cameras and tripods going out constantly checking the skies!