The single track on Tsalteshi Trails offers the chance for snowshoeing and fat biking during the winter while the main trails are open only for skiing. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

Five ideas for spring break fun

Next week is the start of spring break, leaving families across the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District one week and one day of time to fill. Usually, envisioning a “typical” spring break brings thoughts of warm, sandy beaches and suntanned skin, but those are hard to come by without a flight, or two, or three. The surrounding area, though, has plenty to offer to fill any family’s spring break with adventure.

— There are numerous public-use cabins across state and federal land in Alaska that can give families a quick escape into the wilderness. On the Kenai Peninsula, there are more than 20 cabins to choose from. Although the more popular cabins fill up quickly it may be possible to find availability, especially in one of the more remote cabins that would add an extra layer of excitement to a trip.

March is a great time to visit one of the cabins, with longer hours of daylight and warmer temperatures. Prices for the cabins vary, but are relatively low.

Reservations for cabins maintained by the state’s Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation can be made on dnr.alaska.gov. Reservations for cabins on the Kenai Wildlife Refuge can be made on recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

— Whether it’s for trekking out to a public-use cabin, or just for a day in the sun, snowshoeing is a great way to get outside and explore over spring break. The Kenai Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center will be holding two beginner snowshoeing hikes March 15.

“We provide the snowshoes and no one needs experience,” Kenai Wildlife Refuge Park Ranger Leah Eskelin said. “You just need to dress warmly and wear tied shoes. You don’t need snow boots if you wear a double sock and hiking boots.”

Families interested should call 260-2820 to preregister for the snowshoe walks, which the refuge is billing as “snow” much fun. Eskelin said that the walks, which will go to Headquarters Lake, are meant for the entire family, but children should be in second grade and above. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

“We’ll act like wolves and learn how wolves deal with the snow,” Eskelin said. “It’s very interactive and great for the whole family.”

For those with a little more experience in snowshoeing, there are many trail options across the Kenai Peninsula including Skilak Lookout Trail, five miles round trip, located on Skilak Road about three miles east of Upper Skilak Campground. Nearby, at Mile 57 on the Sterling Highway, is Fuller Lakes Trail, a six-mile round trip hike of moderate difficulty that leads to subalpine lakes.

— Another option for exploring snowy trails is fat biking. The bikes, equipped with pleasantly plump tires, are designed to ride on unique surfaces, like snow. They give riders the chance to see familiar trails in a new season, in the winter light.

Buying a fat bike for the entire family is an investment, though. Luckily, Beemun’s Variety in Soldotna has a few on hand to rent for a day of trail riding and trail exploring.

“Good places to go would be the new multiuse trail across from the dump, Slikok trails,” Brad Carver of Beemun’s said. “You could ride the actual singletrack at Tsalteshi Trails, which has been groomed for fat biking.”

Carver warned that the actual trails at Tsalteshi are for skiing only — another great way to spend spring break — but the singletrack is open to bikers and snowshoers.

Carver also recommended the Caribou Hills for fat biking. Starting from Freddie’s Roadhouse, 16 miles out Oil Well Road near Ninilchik, there are a variety of multiuse trails maintained by the Caribou Hills Cabin Hoppers.

— For those who want to stay a little warmer this spring break, the refuge will host an event focusing on nature movies and crafts March 13.

“It’s simple, but it really engages people with topics they haven’t thought of before,” Eskelin said. “We’re focusing on what animals are doing. You look out the door, it’s still snowy and even though everyone is thinking about spring, we’re talking about what animals are doing in the snow.”

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the refuge will host two screenings of a nature documentary with themed crafts in between and after each showing. The event is free and open, without registration.

— The Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward recently switched to its spring hours, meaning the center will be open every day over spring break from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets are $24.95 for adults and $12.95 for children and can be purchased at the SeaLife Center.

The aquarium has a variety of exhibits, including a touch tank where visitors can be hands-on with local sea creatures.

Reach Kat Sorensen at kat.sorensen@peninsulaclarion.com.

Snowshoeing offers a great opportunity to traverse trails in the winter months. The Kenai Wildlife Refuge Visitor’s Center is offering a beginner’s snowshoe walk on Thursday, March 15 for families interested in filling their spring break with a walk in the snow. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

Romig Cabin, a public-use cabin on Juneau Lake, is seen here in Nov. 2017. The cabin can be rented online at recreation.gov and can be accesed by hiking, biking, skiing, horseback or snowmachine. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

Cody Czer-Ransom and her dog, Drifter, slalom down a hill Feb. 10 during Fat Freddie’s Bike Race and Ramble in the Caribou Hills. With school vacation just a week away and daylight hours getting longer, now is a great time to get outdoors. See Page B1 for some more spring break ideas. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

More in Life

Photo from the Anchorage Museum of History and Art 
                                Dr. David Hassan Sleem stands on the front porch of his large Seward home in 1906.
The multitalented D.H. Sleem, Part two

Syrian-born David Hassan Sleem settled in Seward in 1903.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: So sayeth the almanac 2020

Once again, the summer has rocketed by and we find ourselves on the precipice of the autumn equinox.

File
Minister’s Message: Being trustworthy in troubled times

Many people have forgotten that the source of our American values and virtues is the Bible.

The cast and crew of “Knife Skills” poses for a photo at Pier One Theatre during a recording session in August in Homer, Alaska. From left to right are Peter Sheppard, Theodore Castellani, Chloë Pleznac, Joshua Krohn (sitting, at sound board), Darrel Oliver, Helen-Thea Marcus and Ingrid Harrald. (Photo courtesy of Lindsey Schneider)
KBBI broadcasts new radio play on Friday

‘Knife Skills’ was written and directed by Homer playwright Lindsey Schneider

Squash from my neighborhood farmers market will be roasted into a sheet pan dinner, on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: Lazy fall days

Farmers markets keep your hard-earned dollars within your community.

Anchorage Museum of History and Art
                                Dr. David Hassan Sleem stands on the front porch of his large Seward home in 1906.
The multitalented D.H. Sleem, Part one

Most people, if they have heard of D.H. Sleem at all, know the name because of his Alaska maps.

The Bayside Buskers perform from noon-1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, at Land’s End Resort in Homer, Alaska, as part of the Alaska World Arts Festival. (Photo by Aaron Christ)
Alaska World Arts Festival returns

For 2020, most of the festival will be virtual — and sometimes live

Low-bush cranberries are gathered in Anchorage, Alaska, on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
                                Low-bush cranberries are gathered in Anchorage, Alaska, on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: Cranberry conundrum

I have enough cranberries to try multiple recipes. So I will.

Most Read