Friday, July 24, 2015

Camping Right Beach

Sunset over Homer from Right Beach

It seems like every year when we go camping at Right Beach we do the same things:  kayak in Halibut Cove, jump off the rocks into the lagoon river, hike to the glacier lake. This year, though, Aurora and Elisa are interning at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, so they help with tidepooling tours. Elisa is from Anchorage and we agreed to host her, so she is living with us for the summer. So when it came time to decide what to do, they clamored for tidepooling at Otter Rock, which is by the CACS Peterson Bay Field Station. It turned out to be a neat expedition.

The kelp covered rocks across this beach is Otter Rock
It was a quick few minute boat ride on smooth waters over to Otter Rock. We offloaded and then began exploring, with Elisa and Aurora being our guides. There were lots of gooey looking anenomes, oodles of starfish (which I now know should be called 'sea stars' as they are technically not fish), and plenty of hermit crabs scuttling about, along with a variety of other sea creatures. Then we hiked over to China Poot Bay, which is where the CACS takes people on tidepooling tours.

 Lagoon off China Poot Bay as the tide begins to come in
 A group was just leaving as we got to the beach. The leader was excited, telling us to check out Octopus Rock as they'd seen two octopus (apparently octopus is correct, not octopi). We made our way over there and sure enough, there were two octopuses squished in by a rock, looking like pink and white flesh. It was my first time seeing octopuses in their natural setting so it was fascinating.

Octopus in China Poot Bay
It was time to move on as the tide was coming in so we made the trek back to the boat. I am always struck by how neat the cliffs by Right Beach are, twisted in strange contortions.

Cliffs by Right Beach

Right Beach a few hours before high tide. By time the high tide hits there will only be a few feet of beach left below the grass.
Much of camping at Right Beach is waiting for the tides. When the tide is out we can walk to the lagoon, which is a fun place for the kids to play with the river with deep holes for jumping into and riding to current downstream. It's simple camping fun, which is what makes camping special.

A nice rapids is created by the outflowing waters

And then there is the hike to Grewingk Glacier. If the timing is right you can hike there and back via the beach, but we usually take the skiff to the Saddle Trail and hike from there, which makes it a short but beautiful hike.

View of the beach from the Saddle Trail trailhead in Halibut Cove

The start of the Saddle Trail

There were lots of boats moored off the Saddle Trailhead the day we hiked to the glacier lake

Trail crews did an amazing job cutting and raking the tall grass and shrubbery from along part of the Saddle Trail, which is being redone starting this summer
Almost to the glacier lake; following the cairns

Just a few ice floes on the lake this summer

But when we are not off adventuring, we were hanging out in camp and enjoying the view.

Calm waters at Right Beach, with oyster farm buoys visible in the distance
And then it is time to go...all too soon! All the gear (everything but the kitchen sink!) is loaded back up and kids gathered up and buckled into life preservers. Back to the boat launch in the Homer harbor, trash offloaded, gear divvied up and we head home to showers and the comforts of home, which we appreciate so much more having been without if for a few days!

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