Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Right Beach--Camping Across the Bay

Heading out of the Homer Harbor. Our destination is straight ahead where the boats are.
We hadn't planned on a camping trip so soon after returning from our vacation, but when my aunt and uncle invited us across the Bay, we couldn't resist the opportunity so we packed up our camping gear (again!) and prepared for the journey! In my uncle's boat and smooth waters, it can take as little as 16 minutes to speed across Kachemak Bay to Halibut Cove. Right Beach where we camped is like an island at high tide since rock pillars at each end of it hem it in, and cliffs and bluffs covered with Devil's Club back it up.

Our weekend started with a glorious, sunny day on Friday and loading up the boat at the Homer dock, one of those incessantly busy places in the summer. Six of us were going over on Friday, and another 7 of our party were going to come over on Saturday. The water was fairly smooth so the ride over was a fast one, and then we had the challenge of unloading the 2 kayaks, stoves, tents, sleeping bags, pads, food and various other miscellany. Once the pile was on shore, we started hauling it up and deciding where to put up tents, where to have the fire, etc. It was so hot kids were swimming on the beach when we got there (there was already a large party already camping at the beach in the yurt and tents), and that's what we wanted to do too once camp was set up. However, soon enough the wind blew up and it got chilly and we were donning our warmer weather gear.

The first evening as we were sitting around the fire a harbor seal came walking (wrong word: waddling? scootching?) out of the water across the beach towards us, checking us out and obviously very curious. It was so neat (sorry--no picture!), and throughout the weekend we would see a seal pop up by shore every few hours, look at us, then swim away, but it never came out of the water again.

The second day was overcast but the water was calm and still so we took turns going out in the kayaks. Heading further into Halibut Cove the rock formations were fascinating, looking like lava rocks that had been twisted into bizarre contortions. When the rest of the party arrived midday, we had lunch and then headed into Halibut Cove with everyone on board the boat to the Grewingk Glacier trailhead. A quick 2 mile (maybe not even that) hike got us to the glacier lake where we threw rocks, ate snacks and tried to stay warm as a nippy wind blew off the glacier and it began to rain. Some of us decided to take the "long" hike back (Glacier Spit Trail, then a mile on the beach), and hope the tide was still far enough out to walk back to our campsite. It was an easy hike, completely flat, following the historic path of the glacier. We'd seen plenty of berry-filled bear scat along the trail, so we talked loudly to warn of our presence.

The highlight of this trip for Denver was the "cave" on one end of the beach. He borrowed dad's headlamp and made excursions into it (all 15 feet!), identifying popcorn, stalactites and other features learned from the cave tour we took near Butte, Montana this summer. Denver gave official "tours" of the cave to everyone who would walk down the beach with him to visit it.

After much camping in the Lower 48 this summer, we deeply appreciated the lack of what I call the "ickies": no wood ticks, no snakes, no mosquitoes and no flies. It makes camping so much more pleasant to not have to look out for these things, though of course bear are the "biggie" that we watch out for here (give me one bear we can scare away with our noise over a zillion mosquitoes any day!).

While we didn't yurt-it, this looks like a great option, though a tad pricey at $65/night. This yurt at Right Beach had 3 double beds, a woodstove, portable propane cookstove and, out back, an outhouse with no door. For that kayak trip along this area, a yurt would provide a dry, warm night if it is rainy or cold!

1 comment:

Lorraine said...

Go Denver! I love caves and would have totally taken a 'Denver tour'.

Next time you plan a trip to the lower 48 you might want to hit Mammoth Caves, they are AMAZING.