Our next-door neighbor from our Texas house is a flight attendant. Happily for us, she flies the Dallas-to-Anchorage route in the summer, and she had a long layover last night. So she came out here to spend the night with us. Cool, huh?
We picked her up from the gigantic maze of the Kenai Airport (okay, so we just pulled up in front of the grocery store-sized terminal building) and brought her home with us. We got to the house around 9:00 in the evening, and it was such a pretty evening, with the lake so smooth, that she and Jim took the kayaks out on the lake. This time, Jim took the camera out with him.
I have never been out on the lake (yet) and did not recognize this picture as being of my own house from out on the water.
We kept poor Jane up late last night - it was 2:00 in the morning, Dallas time, before she got to bed! - but she was still in the mood for a hike or a jog today. Unfortunately, it had rained most of the night and into the morning, and we weren't sure if the trail at Captain Cook State Recreation Area would be too muddy or not. We thought we'd try it anyway.
On the way there, we saw a moose munching the grass along the Kenai Spur Highway just before the turnoff to Halbouty Road. We'd about finished taking pictures of him when another young bull stepped out from behind the rock. (Remember, you can click on these pictures to see them bigger.)
Once we got to the Park, we went down onto the beach and walked a bit. Here's Jane, looking so pretty on the driftwood with the shoreline behind her. We looked at lots of pretty rocks, and trust me, you don't have to be a rock hound to find something to like in the assortment of rocks on the shoreline here. Then we headed back up the road a few yards to the trailhead and hiked the fairly short trail from end to end. It's a shame that today was cloudy and rainy, because this is usually such a good place to see the mountains across the inlet.
While we missed out on seeing the mountains behind all the clouds, we did see a couple ptarmigan. I spooked this mama and she flew up into the tree, leaving a youngster below in the underbrush. Yes, there's a ptarmigan in there, right in the middle of the photo. Remember you can click to enlarge the pics.
This sign as we were leaving the trail explains why the campsites are currently day-use only... Two young brown bears have been sighted daily for the past couple months in the park.
A nice bonus as we were headed back to the car was yet another young bull moose. He was standing near the "End of the Road" sign when we first saw him, munching away at the grass and fireweed, but got tired of being watched and ambled across the road and into the woods nearer the ATV parking lot.
After leaving the trail, we headed into Kenai to the Visitor's Center to pick up some maps to keep in the guest room for future visitors to our house (hint hint). Just around the block from the Visitor's Center are some of the first buildings to be built in the Kenai area. One of them is the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church, and another is the house that now is Veronica's Cafe. We went to both.
Jane stands outside the Holy Assumption chapel. It was open to visitors today (although tonight services were being held, and tomorrow a funeral), so we went inside.
I like this guy. This is Archpriest Macary Targonsky, retired, who gave us a bit of a rapid-fire talk on the artifacts and icons in the church, as well as some history of the church building itself. He also told us he's a married priest and explained some of the differences between being that and a monastic priest. He had his 55th wedding anniversary earlier this year.
After looking around the church, we went across the street to Veronica's (built in 1918 as one of the original Kenai homes) where Jane treated us to beverages and we split a big ol' slice of carrot cake. The St. Nicholas Chapel was next door (diagonally from the Russian Orthodox church), so we also went there to look in the windows.
Next door to Veronica's, and directly across the street from the Russian Orthodox church, was this private home. I love the flowers in their yard. Definitely click to enlarge this pic.
After our carrot cake, we stopped in at the Fireweed Herb Garden gift shop to look around a bit. There isn't as much herbaciousness as one might think in a place with that name, but it's a cute shop nonetheless. Then back home where Jim grilled fresh halibut, salmon, and reindeer hot dogs.
All too soon, we had to take Jane back to the airport. We hope next time she can stay longer, and bring Scott with her. Scott, I know you're reading this, heehee, so see about making plans to come up and stay with us a few days. We'd love to have you.