A ONCE IN A LIFETIME ALASKAN ADVENTURE
Our journey started out in New Port Richey, Florida at 5:15 a.m. on Monday, August the 11th. Grandma Ona arrived to bring us to Tampa Airport. Our flight took off right on schedule. We arrived in Houston for a 3 hour lay over. We used some time to eat lunch at the food court. Due to volcanic activity on the Aleutian Islands our stay in Houston was extended by another hour and our route was changed to include a stop for fuel in Seattle which added about another 1.5 hours to the flight. The Scenery throughout the second part of the flight was amazing.
We arrived in Anchorage at around 6:30 p.m. Alaska time(10:30 p.m. Florida time) it was a long day and not over yet. We grabbed our bags and headed to the shuttle to pick up our car. When we were put in a Dodge Charger, the boys were both very excited. We next found our way to the Millennium Hotel. The directions were terrific. After checking in and finding our room we decided to find something to eat and do some exploring. So we drove around for a little while and settled on a Village inn for a late dinner. At this time it was 8:30 Alaska time and way past our bed time. We headed back to the hotel and all crashed out quickly.
Tuesday morning wake up was not to bad, 7:00 a.m.. We explored the lake behind the Hotel briefly then hit the road at 8:00 a.m.. The ride to Sterling was very beautiful. We took many pictures. We made our way to the Great Alaska Adventure Lodge. Tami checked us in and we purchased our fishing licenses we had a nice lunch at the lodge with a couple of other guests then had a brief orientation.
At 12:30 we were introduced to Cullen, our guide for the day. We quickly headed up the Kenai River for a Trout fishing trip in a drift boat. Nick caught the most fish on that trip but Dad caught the biggest. We caught a bunch of Rainbow Trout and a couple of Dolly Verdun. Cullen said that the Dolly that Nick caught was the biggest of the season so far a 7 pounder. We fished until about 6:00. Happy hour at the lodge was 7:00 for drinks and hoursderves. That is also the time to meet the guide for the next day. We were introduced to Dave. We were scheduled for Salmon fishing trip with Dave on a power boat . The wake up was set for 4:15 a.m., breakfast at 4:45 a.m. and departure at 5:15 a.m.. The dinner bell rings at 8:00. We had a fresh baked Halibut dinner. After dinner we went down to the beach at the lodge to fish. The beach closes at 10:00 p.m. so we went to bed.
The Wednesday wake up call actually came at 4:05 a.m.. We got up and ready none the less. We hit the breakfast table for a great breakfast prepared by Stanley. While you eat breakfast you have to make your sandwich and pack your lunch for the day. We met Dave and headed off to the river. After putting the boat into the water and a short cold boat ride we were ready to fish. Dave prepared our poles and we had hooks in the water. It didn’t take long to start catching fish. Steven caught the first Salmon. After that the fish came fairly steadily. We caught our limit of 8 keepers and many others. Nick caught the biggest, just over 15 Lbs. Dad caught 2 that were right about 15 Lbs. Steven caught the last one to make our limit so we headed back to the docks. It was a very cool morning with on and off rain but it was some awesome fishing. Dave the guide loaded up the boat onto the trailer and we headed back to camp. After we returned Dave cleaned and weighed the fish. Then we took some pictures. We were all ready for a nap. It was around 12:30. We took some time for a rest. Once we woke up dad and the boys went down to the river to do some more fishing from the shore at the lodge. We didn’t have much luck, but it was very relaxing. So we got cleaned up for happy hour and dinner. Dinner was BBQ chicken. We had a nice time and met A father and son from West Virginia.
Thursday wake up call was 4:45 a.m.. Breakfast at 5:15. It was biscuits and gravy day. As Stanley says Marine Corp. recipe no. 33-69. Dad and the boys chowed down and Kara packed their lunches. Dad Nick and Steven met Zack to head to the upper Kenai to start drifting down the river trying to catch some Rainbow Trout. Not long after we got going, we noticed a big black bear following us down the river he kept up with us for a while but then we lost him. Steven caught the first fish again. It was a big Sock Eye Salmon. A fun catch but it was not in season. We drifted for almost 20 miles back down to the lodge through some very beautiful scenery. We did not catch as many fish today but it was a great day. Zack was very patient with all of our snags. When we got back to the lodge Kara had us ready to head out to Seward. So after packing up, we headed out. It was cold and rainy weather. We had a nice relaxing drive to Seward. The directions again were right on the money. We pulled in to the Windsong lodge checked in and drove to our room. It was very nice and looked as if it was brand new. After settling in we decided to go to the resurrection café for dinner. We watched some football in the lounge and enjoyed a nice dinner. Then we went back to the room and watched some more football and called it an early night.
Friday morning was nice to sleep in a little. We got ready to go into Seward. We scouted the area for a bit and found all of our stops for the day. Now it was time for breakfast. We enjoyed a nice buffet. Now we were ready to go to the Sea Life Center. We had a wonderful tour by Trisha Crawford. It is an amazing place. We really learned a lot from it. Now it was time to grab a quick lunch and head over to the Kenai Boat tour. We boarded the boat at 3:00 and headed out. It was a beautiful boat with about 40 people on board. The captain was very helpful in pointing out the sights to see. We saw Sea Lions, Sea Otters, Seals, Whales, Bears and a beautiful glacier. Dinner was served on board and was a very delicious piece of Salmon. The sights were incredible. The weather was rough, very cold and rainy. We got back to the lodge at about 9:30 p.m.. We caught up on the news and hit the sack.
Saturday was a relaxing morning. We got up and out the door at 10:00 a.m.. We went back into Seward for some breakfast and shopping. We walked around town for a couple of hours then headed over to Coopers Landing. We got to the Drifters Lodge at about 1:00. Our room was not ready yet so we did some sight seeing for a couple of hours that is when we saw a wild Moose. Then we returned to the lodge. The hosts were very gracious there. They are very nice people. We settled into our room and checked out all of the amenities at the lodge. We caught an early dinner near by and returned to enjoy the camp fire. We met a nice group of fisherman from near by Bradenton Florida. Next we went up to the room. The boys watched a video, Dad read a book and Kara Crashed out for the night.
Sunday so soon! We got up and had some breakfast at the lodge. Then we loaded up the car and headed back towards Anchorage. We made a couple of stops to see some wildlife along the way. First we stopped into the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. It was a great opportunity to see some amazing creatures up close. After that we stopped with the rest of the traffic to see the wild Mountain Sheep. They were beautiful. Still heading north we finally hit Anchorage. There we stopped for some food. The boys wanted Taco Bell. Right after that we found a great Mexican restaurant almost right next store. It was very good. Next we headed over towards the airport to watch some of the pontoon planes take off and land. Now it was time to get going so we headed towards Budget to drop off the car. We hopped the shuttle to the airport and checked our bags for the flight home. We checked the flight and found are gate. Now it was time to wait for a little while, but everything was on schedule. We boarded the plane to Houston. Next we grabbed some breakfast in Houston airport. It was a very long night. The flight to Florida seemed to go by fast though. We arrived home right on schedule Monday Afternoon.
It was truly an amazing time and place. Our memories of Alaska will always be in our hearts. We can not even begin to say how thankful that we are.
The Wallace Family