moose that is. I was beginning to lose faith that I would ever get anything but eagles on my camera this trip. I can’t believe it, but I have a picture of a moose an actual bull moose. Maybe his second year. Ok, I am getting ahead of myself.
We got up semi early for us on this trip because we were headed to Skilak Lake Loop Road. This area fell victim to the Swan Lake Fire of 2019, that was started by lightening. We had driven past some of the damage you could see from the Sterling Highway, we wanted to see the damage done to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge mainly the Skilak Lake area.
Our friend who we met on the ferry and met for dinner the other night mentioned the Ninilchik Beach as a place you can drive on the beach and could possibly see some eagles we decided to stop and check it out before heading up the road. The funny thing is who do we run into Tom our friend. He was taking his two dogs for a run. We talked for a bit about the fishing, the old cannery for fish, eagles, and dogs. (side note I saw 1 eagle while we were there.)
I can say it was devastating although hopeful. The area is starting to come back to life with plants fireweed which is one of the first plants to appear after a fire.
Our other motive for traveling the 19 miles of dirt and hard packed gravel was for animals. We had no real luck in this area until after we passed the worst of the burn scar. Although, we had an Aha moment. Brush grows. We know this because one of the areas where we saw lots of bear activity 5 years ago grew in. It had been an open hillside. The lake where we saw mega moose had also become overgrown. We had all but settled on seeing no animals when we come upon a car in each direction stopped. This usually means animals. It did, we saw bears. We were not first in line so I had to depend on the dash cam. I still don’t know if she had 2 or 3 cubs. Check out the video look towards the left side
I do know they were the tiniest cubs I’ve ever saw. Roy pulled a u-turn and we tried to see if she would come back out of the trees, she did not. I was able to zoom in and get the mom’s back and if you use your imagination a shot of baby bear. It was just wonderful to see that there is still new life here.
After we ate and headed home, we finally see a moose that I could take a picture of. Roy watched it cross the road and realized the moose was still on the side of the road. So, Roy does another U-turn (had an awesome break in traffic). This guy, yes, he was a guy, had just started to get his paddles.
The velvet on his antlers looked so soft. He was standing ankle deep in water and the light was bouncing off his back perfectly. I had my camera in hand he posed and waited until I had focus and then I snapped three pictures. He looked at me turned his head and moved on. You know when they say right place, right time. There was something magical about the moment.
We then headed to Wal-Mart needed duct tape and some other stuff like milk and creamer I have to have my coffee. We were on a hunt for caribou yes there is a small herd on the Kenai. We followed the direction for a likely viewing spot and we got nothing. I am hoping maybe sometime this month, fingers crossed. Back down the road to get back to the trailer and keeping our eyes open for wildlife, we were treated to another moose along the side of the road. I have to say Roy’s U-turn did not produce this time. However, the dash cam did catch him out of the corner of its eye.
Here is a still from the video
The rest of the trip home was uneventful. We did stop back at the beach we visited in the morning and believe it or not we run into Tom again. He swore he had just gotten back to the beach. The weird thing about the beach in the evening was no eagles. We went down to Deep Creek also no eagles. When there is no boats or fish no eagles. It was a strange sight.