I started writing this post before we even arrived. Everything I’d heard about Homer was an endorsement — a cool little town on the Pacific, known for its bald eagles, halibut fishing and parties on the spit. With our summer clock ticking like a timebomb, we decided this weekend to drive the four hours south and see for ourselves.
On the way down we stopped at the Kenai River/Russian River confluence to have a look at this popular fishing spot. Each summer wild Pacific salmon swim in from the ocean and travel up rivers and creeks statewide to give birth and die. After wading through a rulebook the size of a trophy sockeye, and obtaining the appropriate licenses and permits, native Alaskans, residents and outsiders alike can don waders and try their luck at landing a cooler-full of this toothsome meat.
A little further up the road we decided to stop for the night. As is our tactic for finding a campsite, we began pulling down unmarked roads in hopes of finding a quiet place with a view (these places are abundant in Alaska if you have the patience to look). After a few failed attempts, we turned down Kalifornsky Beach Road then Kasilof Beach Stub to reach a place that made us reel in amazement. At the end of the road was a “community beach” — a sort of unmarked oceanfront settlement of tents and campers, which dotted the shoreline and looked like home to more than a few. Not the privacy we’ve come to enjoy, but the soft, cool sand was a reminder of home, and as if propelled by an ocean breeze, we drifted toward the crowd and set up camp for the night.
Low tide grubby beach glamour shot
Iffy on sleep, we arrived in Homer that afternoon and our moods were instantly buoyed by the looks of things. The highway approach on Homer comes from above, rewarding drivers with a bird’s eye view of the valley and the impressive water and mountains that surround it. The town itself has an Asheville vibe, quietly functioning as a cultural anchor in a part of the state where a microbrewery, art gallery or meadery might otherwise feel out of place.
Obligatory stop at the Salty Dog Saloon
Obligatory post-Salty Dog tetherball match
Camping on the spit