Nine summers in Alaska and I’d never been to Kachemak Bay State Park. It was on the to-do list, and now I can check it off.
Gina and I headed south to Homer last weekend with frequent camping buddies Pat and Laurel. They had visiting family along for the ride. After a night camping on the beach along the Homer Spit, we boarded a water taxi and headed across Kachemak Bay.
Friday was so stunningly beautiful that we didn’t waste much time –- a quick bite to eat and into the kayaks. The Sea Star Cove public use cabin was our base. It is about halfway down the 7-mile long Tutka Bay. Gina and I kayaked to the end of the bay Friday afternoon.
The closer we got to the end of the bay the more interesting it was. There were little coves and small waterfalls all along the route, but with each paddle stroke it seemed there was more and more wildlife. By the time we reached the end of the bay, we’d probably passed 40 bald eagles (many immature ones) and there were a dozen harbor seals watching our every move. First they’d pop up on one side of the boat, then slip under the water and pop up again on the other side. The water was filled with jellyfish.
On our way back we stopped by a 300-foot waterfall cascading down from the snowfields above the bay. It was spectacular.
Saturday, the weather wasn’t as cooperative. It rained all day, but we didn’t let that stop us. The other four took the two kayaks, so we hiked up past Tutka Lake and on to a beautiful overlook of Tutka Creek and a thundering waterfall. It was one of those times that we felt we were the only two people in the world. I don’t know how many people have make the trek to the waterfall, but for any who can, it is well worth it. Our water taxi driver told us only 8,000 people visit the state park every year. If that’s true, significantly fewer make it back to Tutka Creek.
After returning to the cabin, we discovered that the other four had done some mussels wrestling while in the kayaks. They had a nice pot of fresh mussels to add to the dinner. With a little melted butter, it made for a special treat.
Sunday was more rain, but it was our last day and we were going to get as much out of it as possible. We got up and got the kayaks out to visit Tutka Lagoon. There is a fish hatchery in the lagoon, and it can only be reached at high tide. We were actually a little late getting there, so we had to work extra-hard to get up the channel as the water was flowing out with the tide. Again, a little slice of heaven.
The water taxi picked us up at noon and headed back for the Homer Spit. On our way we crossed paths with a humpback whale feeding near the mouth of Tutka Bay. It seemed like the perfect send-off to a fantastic weekend.
It took us nine summers to get to Kachemak Bay State Park the first time. It won’t take that long to get back – that I can guarantee.