Moose are seen eating on the shoulder of Kenai Spur Highway on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Moose are seen eating on the shoulder of Kenai Spur Highway on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Into the office

An ode to Kenai Spur Highway

I had some reservations about signing a lease on an apartment that was 25 miles away from my job. The price was right and they’d allow my cat, but I thought about the winter and whether or not I’d feel differently when driving on dark and icy roads.

My daily commute has come to be the best part of my day. I suppose it helps that I love my job, and look forward to going into the office every day, but I’ve come to treasure the hour of quiet.

One of my favorite parts of the drive is the stretch of Kenai Spur Highway, crossing into Kenai from Soldotna. Part of me longs for drives decorated with yellow leaves swept swiftly aside by my windshield wipers, but there is a different, equally breathtaking beauty to winter. I love the cozy feeling that comes with seeing the landscape lightly dusted with snow that looks like powdered sugar while Mount Redoubt looms imposingly behind it.

The best days are the ones when I see moose. They’re definitely my favorite Alaska animal but I’ve been warned against getting too close. I didn’t know they were known for their aggression. There are a few that like to hang out on a section of Kenai Spur I drive every day. I pulled over the other day to watch them for a bit. As they chewed lazily on the grass, fearful drivers flashed their lights and laid on their horns.

I also have a certain love for the intersection of Kenai Spur Highway and Marydale Avenue in Soldotna. Before accepting my current job, I did extensive research on Soldotna and what it might be like to live there. There are a lot of impressive images produced with a Google search of “Soldotna, AK,” but my favorites are shots of Mount Redoubt from this intersection.

Cad-Re Feed is usually featured prominently in the lower left-hand corner of the frame, and I remember thinking it was the first place I wanted to go upon arriving in Soldotna. Imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I saw Cad-Re Feed after a casual glance out my window. The view is just as impressive in person.

Of course, Kenai Spur is not the only road from Soldotna to Kenai. On clear days, I take Bridge Access instead of Kenai Spur, because you can’t beat the view of the mountains. I appreciate the turnout, where I often sit parked on chilly mornings to count gulls while sleepy shoegaze plays from my radio.

I love days with moose. I love days with mountains covered in so much snow they look like sand dunes. I love days with spruce trees silhouetted against rainbow sherbet sunsets. I love days with alpenglow sunrises and coffee shack pit stops. With eagle sightings and intricate ice fractals on the windows.

Surely the drive doesn’t beat the countless and breathtaking experiences I’ve had since moving to Alaska: touring the turquoise waters of Resurrection Bay, feeding Sitka deer in Anchorage, hiking the rim of Kenai River Canyon, wandering docks on the Homer Spit, snowy treks in Skilak. But it’s special in a different way. It’s grounding and consistent and meditative.

It’s a reminder of how gratifying little things in life can be. I’m thankful for them.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com

More in Sports

Nick Stevens of the Kenai River Brown Bears tries to squeeze by the check of Bohdan Panasenko of the Anchorage Wolverines on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Friday: Brown Bears defeat Wolverines

Resilience is nothing new for Cole Dubicki and the small group of… Continue reading

Brandonn Campbell of Juneau-Douglas keeps the puck from Dylan Arno of Homer on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at Kevin Bell Arena in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Hockey roundup: SoHi to play for title; Homer wins

The Soldotna hockey team defeated Palmer 4-3 in overtime Friday to advance… Continue reading

tease
Hockey roundup: SoHi wins, Homer ties

The Soldotna hockey team opened the Big Lake Lions Classic with a… Continue reading

Former Kenai River Brown Bears head coach Kevin Murdock.
Former Kenai River Brown Bears head coach Kevin Murdock.
Former Bears coach Murdock accepts UAA assistant job

Kevin Murdock, former head coach of the Kenai River Brown Bears, has… Continue reading

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Parker Lockwood attacks against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Refreshed Brown Bears ready for Wolverines

The North American Hockey League does not break for Thanksgiving, but the… Continue reading

Michael Armstrong and his dog Leia harvest a Christmas tree in December 2013 on his land on Diamond Ridge near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Jenny Stroyeck)
Out of the Office: For Alaska Bush cred, head out and harvest a Christmas tree

If you don’t have your own tree lot, harvest trees on public lands.

Sun coming through snow-covered branches with cross-country ski tracks on trail. (Photo by Ashley Lutto/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: It’s more fun than walking

I’m not sure which one of us was more excited about the… Continue reading

Soldotna's Wayne Mellon works to a pin of Kenai Central's Zoticus Active at 189 pounds in a dual meet at Soldotna High School on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi wrestling honors seniors in matchup with Kenai

Thanksgiving weekend gives many the opportunity to see family. The holiday gave… Continue reading

tease
Strausbaugh, Hippchen take Turkey Skate

Soldotna hosted Kenai Central for the Turkey Skate at Tsalteshi Trails on… Continue reading

Most Read