The End of the Road, Homer, AK - April 23rd to 29th

Once ski season ended at Alyeska, I decided that my time visiting Girdwood was done for the time being, I figured could always head back there after visiting Homer. While I was still considering the idea of staying in Alaska for the summer, my friend Wil suggested I also visit Homer. I'd spent an evening in Seward a couple of weeks prior, and I loved being by the water surrounded by mountains. The scenery around these towns is spectacular. I woke up on the morning of April 23rd in Girdwood, grabbed a coffee at "The Grind" then got on the road towards Homer. 

On my way there, I drove past Kenai Lake and though Cooper Landing. I saw a place to pull over and after a short walk I enjoyed this spectacular view of the lake. I'd never seen water this color, it was incredible. I stood near the edge and just enjoyed the silence for a few minutes.

Another hour or so down the Sterling Highway, I also passed by one of the few Blockbuster video locations that was still open in Soldotna. What a throwback.

Late that afternoon, I pulled into town and drove out on to the Homer Spit.  Still unsure of where I'd be camping that night, I realized that there were a lot of camping areas along the side of the road out there. A small group of people had a pretty big campfire going and they were out there celebrating their friends birthday. I didn't want to invade on their party, but there weren't any other people on the beach, so I went over and introduced myself. Like so many other places I've visited up here, they were very welcoming. They said that Homer has a big tourist boom in the summer time, but I was still early for the season. If I were there in a few more weeks, the area where I'd parked would be full of RVs and other campers. But for the next week, I was sharing these campsites with only a few others. They asked me how I'd ended up in Homer, and I told with the group a little bit about my travels and what brought me up there. They mentioned that I was there at the right time, just before many of the tourists began arriving for the summer, but right after the weather had turned.

I found out that they many of them worked in some of the restaurants and breweries in town. They made some recommendations and over the next week I had the chance to visit almost all of them, it was nice to feel so welcomed so quickly. It also reminded me that there are so many good people in this world.

I woke up the following morning to a beautiful sunrise right on the beach and spent a little bit of time walking by the water. Over the next few days the weather was mixed, many were overcast, cloudy, rainy, or windy. But some were more sunny with relatively clear skies and spectacular views.

I'd been in the truck for quite a while, most of the time that I was visiting Girdwood. My second night camping in Homer the wind by the beach was so strong that I barely slept. Pretty groggy, I pulled into town and found the K-Bay caffe, where I enjoyed a delicious breakfast, and a few cups of coffee.

I had some ideas, I was thinking of finding work up there, I spent some time looking at what housing might look like, and considered what living so far away from what I was familiar with would be like. 
I searched Airbnb and found a lovely little cottage just outside of town which was a perfect place to relax for a couple of days and reflect on where I'd go from there.

I walked into town from the cottage and enjoyed an incredible dinner at Cafe Cups. One of the people I'd met on the beach a couple of days prior recognized me and welcomed me right in. I loved this small town feel, both here and in many of the other places I'd visited. 

As I was walking into town, I called my friend Rett, and I let him know a little bit about what I was thinking and what I'd been up to. I told him about my experience Heli Skiing, hiking to Byron Glacier, and the amazing people that I'd met since we last spoke. I also shared how I was so torn between staying there and how much I missed Colorado. I was enjoying the beautiful places, but I was also missing home. Rett is one of my friends who helped encourage me to take this trip and who was one of the first people who I told about these plans. It was really helpful to discuss what I was thinking about at that moment.
Part of me  knew it was time to turn back. After an amazing dinner, I returned to the cottage to write for the night and get some much needed rest.

The following morning I had breakfast at the Wild Honey Bistro. The crepes here are delicious, and the ingredients are so fresh. I spent some time there, and again out on the spit. I setup camp again, and walked to Homer Brewing.
I called my friend Wil, thanked him for telling me about this amazing place, and discussed my decision to head back. Shortly after our call, I began planning my trip back. 

I'd spent 3 years thinking about how I'd end up in AK, and now I was looking at how I'd return to Colorado in a relatively short timespan. If I was going to drive another 3000+ miles, I was going to make sure that I spent some time visiting some amazing places along the way. I did...

I still wanted to do a few other things while I was there, and one of them was a boat ride. It was still early in the season, so many of the tours weren't running yet. I called one of them and they connected me with a water Taxi service that was running that day. Tom and Tammy operate the Beowulf and were happy to have me along for a couple of trips that afternoon. 

They took me out for a ride-along for a couple of trips around the Kachemak Bay. The first one was with the Captain and some crew of a tanker boat that was waiting to port in at Anchorage. The crew had been on their ship since February and had gone into town for the day to get some fresh food, souvenirs, and a few beers at the Salty Dog Saloon. I'm sure they were happy to be off of the ship for a bit after being at sea for 3 months. While there was a bit of a language barrier, they all seemed very interested in hearing about my travels. Vladamir even offered to give me a tour which would have been very cool, but the taxi had to head back to pickup the next ride. This was with a couple, Sarah and John who lived in ‎⁨Seldovia Village⁩, ⁨on the Kasitsna Bay⁩. They come into Homer weekly to visit and pickup groceries, etc.

We returned to the port, and it was my last night in Homer. I headed back towards the camp area on the spit, and parked right by the beach. I opened up the back of the truck, and snuggled into my sleeping bag and enjoyed the my last evening there. Some other people had a campfire going nearby. I said hello, but I wasn't feeling very social that evening. I felt like this part of my journey was coming to an end and I wanted to enjoy my time alone.
I stayed up until it got dark at nearly 11pm, just enjoying my time on the beach.

I'd spent most of my time in Homer on the spit, and one thing I saw were quite a few Bald Eagles. Being such a rare sight in the lower 48, I was amazed seeing so many of them. Homer is also a very popular fishing destination. Homer is best known as the "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World," needless to say, the seafood there is delicious. In town, it was not unusual to see moose walking around, even right around the local shops.

Homer is also nicknamed "The end of the Road" It's located at the end of the Sterling Highway. The spit dead ends where the Alaska State Ferry launches and can take you to other locations in Alaska, or even back to Washington State. To me, making the decision to turn around at "The End of the Road" seemed appropriate.

I still had one more stop before getting back on the Alaska Highway, Talkeetna, AK.