Alaska Part III – Homer
Once we had been on dry land for longer than a few hours it was evident the revered solitude of Alaska is everything I have read about and more. Considering I was in the US state that is well known around the world as ‘The Last Frontier’, this shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. After disembarking from the ship at Seward we made our way along the stunning Sterling Highway towards Homer, our base for the week.
With a population of just over 5,000, the town of Homer on the picturesque Kenai Peninsula is a far cry from the ‘big-city’ hustle and bustle we had just left behind. Set on the glistening shores of Kachemak Bay, amidst snow capped mountains, Homer has just about everything any outdoor enthusiast could want. From kayaking amidst sea lions and otters, to hiking on glaciers, or taking a light plane over to nearby Kodiak island for a glimpse of some of the world’s largest bears, there is no shortage of natural attractions.
The town of Homer itself is a quaint and relaxed place with friendly locals who are more than willing to stop and have a chat. Considered the halibut fishing capital of the world, it’s no surprise there is a huge fishing culture here. The Homer Spit, where the harbour is located, juts out 4.5 miles into Ketchemak Bay. The array of shops that line the Spit can seem a bit overpowering but the harbour itself was interesting enough. The very end of the Spit looks out over the bay towards the mountain range, complete with glaciers, from a rocky shore that is a favourite for fishing among the locals. The view from here is spectacular and the odd otter can be seen from the shoreline.
Homer offers up some fantastic food options, and considering its relative remoteness and size this was a pleasant surprise. One of our favourite food options was the famed Two Sisters Bakery. A clear favourite with the locals this funky little place serves up some fantastic baked goods, soups, and sandwiches. The rich, ridiculously decadent cinnamon bun, which is slathered in caramel sauce and topped with pecans, was a staple for every visit. It never lasted long enough for me to snap a picture though…. Needless to say they are delicious.
The view from the cabin we rented on a hill just outside of town was ridiculous. No matter how many hours I spent gazing out the window at the mountains the view never got old. Sunrise and sunset were obviously a highlight, no matter how little time there was between the two… (In fact, I’m not sure it ever got completely dark while we were there?). Being able to capture the mountains during those precious minutes just after the sun goes down or before the sun comes up right from my balcony was an added bonus. If that wasn’t enough, travelling 5 minutes up the road presented an even better view, if you can believe it…
The sunset I ventured up the road to capture was perhaps one of the best I have ever seen. As the sun dipped below the horizon behind me the mountains were lit with various shades of bright orange, then pink, then purple. I loved the way the sunset created a line of light that cut the mountain range in half, lighting up only the very top of the peaks. The moody rainclouds added a bit of drama while also helping to create dramatic colours across the mountains, which is always nice.
Alaska is by far one of the most beautiful places we have been fortunate enough to visit in our travels. Hopefully we will get the chance to return one day, perhaps during winter next time to see if I can capture the Aurora Borealis.