We flew into Anchorage on Saturday to depart for Lake Clark National Park on Sunday. We arrived at the Lake Hood wheel plane strip at 8:30 for a planned 9am departure. The wheeled plane strip is notable because Lake Hood Airport is the busiest seaplane base in the world. Our air service, Sportsman’s Air, has a nice shed with coffee and snacks, a portapotty, two dogs, and three planes. With two other passengers and our pilot Matt we headed out in a 5-seat Cessna.
We flew over Cook Inlet (an arm of the Gulf of Alaska, which is just part of the Pacific Ocean) and along the Alaskan peninsula coast. It was a beautiful hour-long flight with views of the glacial rivers spilling into the inlet, creating fans of gray silt in the green Inlet waters. I spotted two moose resting among the trees!
We landed on the beach at low tide along Silver Salmon Creek. We waited at Silver Salmon Creek Lodge or an hour or so for the tide to come in so they could get the boat in for our departure to the camp. There was about a 20-foot difference between low and high tides while we were there. That’s probably close to 1/4 mile of beach that comes and goes. They need water closer to land to get the boat into the river to load us, two other people joining us at camp, our bags, and quite a bit of firewood.
This is the boat at low tide (on another day). You can see a little bit of beach in the foreground. The boat is sitting on the wet sand. The water line is that thin dark band near the horizon. They don’t go anywhere at low tide!
We went 10 miles southwest along the coast to Shelter Creek. Harbor seals were fishing at the mouth of the creek when we left among a lot of floating debris (logs and trees and things like that) along the way. After a 40-45 minute ride (it was windy and the seas were rough, so it was a bit slow going), we arrived at the mouth of shelter creek to find a bear in the water, an eagle eating on the shore, and two Harlequin ducks dabbling about. “That’s it! We’ve seen it all. Take us back!”
They had just set up the camp last week, and we were the first people to stay there this year. The notable thing about that is that the bears are still curious about what’s going on. When they unloaded all of the gear onto the beach for set up, they had to leave someone with the gear because there were curious bears around who don’t tend to take care in their handling of people’s things.
Rob in the kitchen and our tent. Note the bear-scratched tree in the foreground and our food supplies hanging in the tree behind our tent. It’s fine.
Matt, a stereotypical Alaskan, was our guide and camp host. Camp is two weather port/walled tents with cots, an awning over the “kitchen,” a campfire with chairs, and a toilet tent (sort of a do-it-yourself portapotty). All of this creek-side among bear scratched trees and blueberries! It’s a perfect place to spend a few days.