Second annual Fall Odyssey begins...

As many of you know, October of 2017 marked the kick off of what I now refer to as my First Annual Fall Odyssey, during which I spent the better part of 3 months travelling to various states hunting upland birds and otherwise having the time of my life.  This year’s version, now well underway,  involves pulling Gypsy (our Airstream) all the way to Alaska, combining sightseeing with Ann, a family vacation on the Kenai, and of course as much fishing and hunting as I can fit in.   Ann and I left Sheridan on August 8th and reached Anchorage on August 20.  The journey north through Canada was marked mostly by high temperatures in the south and lots of massive wildfires throughout British Columbia.  Along the way, we fished a bit and I managed to catch my first grayling and first bull trout.  We also saw extraordinary scenery – primarily after we cleared the smoke and reached Yukon Territory which boasts the tallest mountains in Canada. 

Nice grayling caught on Edith Creek near the YT/Alaska border.

Nice grayling caught on Edith Creek near the YT/Alaska border.

Bull trout taken on the Testa River in British Columbia.

Bull trout taken on the Testa River in British Columbia.

 

When we got to Anchorage, we connected with Peter and Rebecca who’d flown in from Montana and California respectively.  We shared a wonderful evening and meal at our good friends Ryan and Gina’s.  Caribou chili 2 ways (with beets and with butternut squash).  Fantastic!  It’s no coincidence that Gina’s wild game meals taste great – she makes a living out of helping people eat tasty, healthy meals (https://wildandwellfed.com/author/wildandwellfed/).

From Anchorage we headed to Soldotna.  We’ve had a series of really fantastic experiences on the Kenai Peninsula.  We started off with a day trip to Halibut Cove, an island community about an hour boat ride from Homer. If you’ve never been to Homer, put it on your bucket list.  The setting and views are awesome.  Schedule a halibut/Cohoe salmon charter if you go.  It’s probably the only paid fishing excursion where the ROI (return on investment) in terms of fish pays off the cost of the charter.  Of course, you have to like halibut and salmon.  And if you don’t, I can’t help you.  Our day in and around Homer was filled with good weather, over-the-top scenery and a fantastic meal at Saltry - the only restaurant in Halibut Cove.  When I tell you that it was worth the trip just for the smoked salmon pate and the potatoes, I am not kidding! 

Flying in a 50's vintage Beaver to our secret fishing spot. The less-than-perfect weather turned out to be part of this awesome experience as we flew low and close to mountains and glaciers in order to make it through the pass.

Flying in a 50's vintage Beaver to our secret fishing spot. The less-than-perfect weather turned out to be part of this awesome experience as we flew low and close to mountains and glaciers in order to make it through the pass.

A successful family fishing adventure. We caught silver salmon that were as anxious to bite as the epic swarms of flies (note the head nets)!

A successful family fishing adventure. We caught silver salmon that were as anxious to bite as the epic swarms of flies (note the head nets)!

Next on our itinerary was a fly out fishing and sight-seeing adventure with All Alaska Outdoors (http://www.allalaska.com/).  Bob (the owner and head pilot/guide) bills this trip as The Ultimate Alaska Adventure and that is not hyperbole!  Even with challenging weather conditions that forced us to pick our way through passes and fly beneath the low ceiling to get to the fishing grounds, the views from the float plane were fantastic.  Add to that an epic morning of silver salmon fishing and one starts to run out of superlatives.  We all agreed it was one of our most memorable family adventures, if not the top of the list!  At day’s end we were tired but overflowing with memories (and pictures) of mountains, glaciers, fjords, and of course, fish.  The day’s efforts with rod and reel produced 9 beautiful, fresh silver salmon to take home.

We capped off the family portion of the adventure with a couple of days stay in Seward during which we enjoyed hiking, a glacier/wildlife boat tour, and of course, more great food. 

Fly fishing, CuisineKeith Marcott