A pair of sea kayaks prepare to play the waters of Kenai Fjords National Park earlier this summer. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)

Tangled up in blue: A tourist in your own town

There are four negative reviews for Kenai Fjords National Park on TripAdvisor. The first is a reviewer from New Zealand. The title of the one-star… Continue reading

A pair of sea kayaks prepare to play the waters of Kenai Fjords National Park earlier this summer. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)
Translucent agates of many colors are found along Kenai Peninsula beaches with patience and luck. (Photo by Donna Brewer)

The mystery of agates

Almost everyone I know likes to search for agates along our Cook Inlet beaches. Some folks have a better search image than others, keying in… Continue reading

Translucent agates of many colors are found along Kenai Peninsula beaches with patience and luck. (Photo by Donna Brewer)
Thomas and his son Emil, visiting from Austria, try casting a line into Arc Lake on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. King salmon fishing is restricted on all the streams on the western Kenai Peninsula due to weak returns, but lake fishing and early-run sockeye fishing at the confluence of the Russian and Kenai Rivers is still available to anglers hungry to fish. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

With limited king fishing, try the Russian, lake angling

Fishing is somewhat limited on the western Kenai Peninsula streams right now, but there are opportunities on lakes and upstream. The popular sportfishery at the… Continue reading

Thomas and his son Emil, visiting from Austria, try casting a line into Arc Lake on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. King salmon fishing is restricted on all the streams on the western Kenai Peninsula due to weak returns, but lake fishing and early-run sockeye fishing at the confluence of the Russian and Kenai Rivers is still available to anglers hungry to fish. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)
Christa Kennedy, a seasonal trail maintenance crew member at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, pulls in a motor boat to the south shore of Skilak Lake after a volunteer trail cleanup crew disembarked near the Cottonwood Creek Trail on Saturday, June 2, 2018 on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

A hint of wilderness

The trails crew leaders call part of the Cottonwood Creek Trail “the Enchanted Forest.” I could immediately see why. As soon as I climbed the… Continue reading

Christa Kennedy, a seasonal trail maintenance crew member at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, pulls in a motor boat to the south shore of Skilak Lake after a volunteer trail cleanup crew disembarked near the Cottonwood Creek Trail on Saturday, June 2, 2018 on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)
Mark Hieronymus poses with a steelhead caught in 2014 on a Southeast Alaska river. (Photo by Tyson Fick)

Hunting for fish in Alaska’s steelhead-bearing rivers and streams

For most people, steelhead — sea-run rainbow trout — are “the fish of 10,000 casts.” To catch them, you stand waist-deep in a spring-melt river,… Continue reading

Mark Hieronymus poses with a steelhead caught in 2014 on a Southeast Alaska river. (Photo by Tyson Fick)
Jesse Rogde holds the 34-inch Kenai River king salmon he caught on Memorial Day on the lower Kenai River. (Photo courtesy Scott Miller)

Salmon fishing opportunities limited on peninsula, Russian River to open

Anglers on the Kenai Peninsula are a little limited on options right now, particularly for salmon. With king salmon failing to show up in lower… Continue reading

Jesse Rogde holds the 34-inch Kenai River king salmon he caught on Memorial Day on the lower Kenai River. (Photo courtesy Scott Miller)
Being bear aware and sustaining a wild lifestyle

Being bear aware and sustaining a wild lifestyle

Most Alaskans treasure the wild lifestyle we lead, living side-by-side with wildlife. I know I do. On any given day, we will see eagles overhead… Continue reading

Being bear aware and sustaining a wild lifestyle
A gentoo penguin feeds its chick a diet of krill. (Photo provided by Sue Mauger)

Polar Connections: Life on and under the ice

I stood on the deck of the USHUAIA in late February as we moved south through the Gerlache Strait on the east side of the… Continue reading

A gentoo penguin feeds its chick a diet of krill. (Photo provided by Sue Mauger)
The writer is seen here at the Alamo in October 2016. (Photo provided by Kat Sorensen)

Tangled up in Blue: Remember the Alamo

One of my favorite photos of myself was taken by a kind, Southern stranger outside of the Alamo. I was on a cross-country road trip… Continue reading

The writer is seen here at the Alamo in October 2016. (Photo provided by Kat Sorensen)
A Google Earth image showing stacked assemblages of plant (green), arthropod (orange) and bird (red) species found on Kenai and Tetlin national wildlife refuges. (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

International Day for Biological Diversity

Unbeknownst to most folks, this past Tuesday was the International Day for Biological Diversity. The United Nations declared May 22 as the day to help… Continue reading

A Google Earth image showing stacked assemblages of plant (green), arthropod (orange) and bird (red) species found on Kenai and Tetlin national wildlife refuges. (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Kenai Watershed Forum Summer Camp takes it more outside

The Kenai Watershed Forum Summer Camp is taking it outside. Or even more outside. Joseph Robertia is taking over as camp director and he said… Continue reading

Terry Umatum of Anchorage takes a deep breath after landing his Anchor River king salmon on Saturday, May 19, 2018 in Anchor Point, Alaska. The Anchor River opening May 19 was the first chance for freshwater anglers on the Kenai Peninsula to catch king salmon. Saturday proved a slow morning for fishing — Umatum said he waited about 5 hours to catch his king — though it’s still early in the season. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s weir on the Anchor River has counted precisely zero kings so far this year, as of Saturday, though the weir is positioned several miles upriver from the mouth. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

The joy of the fight

Terry Umatum of Anchorage takes a deep breath after landing his Anchor River king salmon on Saturday, May 19, 2018 in Anchor Point, Alaska. The… Continue reading

Terry Umatum of Anchorage takes a deep breath after landing his Anchor River king salmon on Saturday, May 19, 2018 in Anchor Point, Alaska. The Anchor River opening May 19 was the first chance for freshwater anglers on the Kenai Peninsula to catch king salmon. Saturday proved a slow morning for fishing — Umatum said he waited about 5 hours to catch his king — though it’s still early in the season. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s weir on the Anchor River has counted precisely zero kings so far this year, as of Saturday, though the weir is positioned several miles upriver from the mouth. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

The art of giving up

Years of practice and I’m finally ready to admit it — I’m great at giving up. In high school, my lacrosse team was tasked with… Continue reading

A devil’s club bud stands ready for harvest May 14, 2018. (USFWS/Matt Bowser)

Why I like devil’s club

If your only interactions with devil’s club have involved needle-sharp prickles poking into your legs, arms or hands, then I can understand your disdain for… Continue reading

A devil’s club bud stands ready for harvest May 14, 2018. (USFWS/Matt Bowser)

Out of the Office: Outdoor adventures with mom

“Why do you adults always talk so much?” Those were the disapproving words my kid sister launched at my mom the moment the latter arrived… Continue reading

A Common Raven watches from a safe perch and seems to be apprising friends of what I am doing. (Photo by Todd Eskelin/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Underestimate a raven? Nevermore!

I recently had an opportunity to make a quick dash up the Alcan. It has been 25 years since I last drove it and I… Continue reading

A Common Raven watches from a safe perch and seems to be apprising friends of what I am doing. (Photo by Todd Eskelin/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
A molting Adelie penguin sits on Paulet Island in the Weddell Sea. (Photo courtesy of Sue Mauger)

Polar Connections: Exploring Antarctic ice, and why it matters

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of monthly columns called Polar Connections. The columns explore how the Arctic and Antarctic regions are… Continue reading

A molting Adelie penguin sits on Paulet Island in the Weddell Sea. (Photo courtesy of Sue Mauger)
A buff-breasted sandpiper stops to feed near Anchor Point during migration. (Photo by T. Eskelin)

Refuge Notebook: Good birding etiquette isn’t for the birds

Spring is a rough time for migratory birds, particularly for arctic nesting shorebirds and waterfowl. They’re busy making their way ever north to get to… Continue reading

A buff-breasted sandpiper stops to feed near Anchor Point during migration. (Photo by T. Eskelin)

Out of the Office: Over, under

I learned how to wager an exacta, trifecta or across the board while sitting beside my grandfather at the horse track on sweltering Sunday afternoons.… Continue reading

Birches offer up free brew this time of year on the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo courtesy John Morton)

Refuge Notebook: Ent-draughts and birch sap

In Lord of the Rings, the two hobbits, Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took, grow taller as their hair curls after downing a few Ent-draughts between… Continue reading

Birches offer up free brew this time of year on the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo courtesy John Morton)