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Doug Bettencourt with a 138 lb halibut he caught in the waters of Cook Inlet just south of Aspen Hollow Lodging staging out of the Ninilchik Harbor.
Aspen Hollow Lodging guest, Sue Bettencourt, poses with her 43" King Salmon.
During thier vacation to Alaska, Doug and Sue Bettencourt photographed this sow grizzly and her cub. While it is very infrequent that we see bears immediately at Aspen Hollow Lodging we do live in bear country here! This is one reason we do not allow fish cleaning on site at our facilities.
More Alaska wildlife photographed in their natural environment by Doug and Sue Bettencourt. These are what are considered "cross fox". They are a genetic variation of a red and silver fox, and can be spotted throughout various regions of Alaska, with the exception of the Kenai Peninsula. These were spotted in the Denali National Park area of the state.
Some of the guest to Aspen Hollow Lodging in Kasilof, Alaska arrive via cruise ship. This Holland America vessel is shown docking at the port in Seward, with the waters of Resurrection Bay in the background. On the "Inside Passage" cruise, travelers usually come up from the Seattle or Vancuver ports, and make stops along the journey to ports such as Juneau (Alaska's capital city) Skagway, and others.
If you elect to fly into Anchorage and rent a car for your "land cruise" of the state, you will find that the Kenai Peninsula affords the most complete Alaska experience in one package of any region of the state. From sea ports such as Seward, you can embark on day cruises that take you close to waterfalls, glaciers, sea birds, otters, often times Orca (killer whales) and even Grey Whales as well as endangered Stellar Sea Lions. An easy drive through the mountains takes you along one of America's Designated Scenic Byways on the eastern side of the Kenai Peninsula, while the drive towards Homer affords you panoramic views of the active Redoubt Volcano across Cook Inlet, as well as many wildlife viewing opportunities - not to mention world class fishing on the famous Kenai River! Kayaking is popular in Homer, with the breathtaking views of Kachemak Bay usually enhanced by seals and sea otters that are taking advantage of the fresh supply of crab, clams and fish. You can also take in the daily charter fleet returning from a day's fishing, with monster halibut caught by anglers. Ninilchik is another popular spot for anglers to launch for a day of fishing the icy waters of Cook Inlet. Just watching the large seaworthy vessels put out to sea with a John Deere tractor is an experience in its self at Ninilchik. Along the shoreline of Cook Inlet, particularly near Kasilof, you can see Alaska's commercial fishing industry at work. Beach sites flank the shoreline, with the mouth of the Kasilof and Kenai rivers both being popular for the commercial drift fishing fleets.
If you haven't witnessed the dip net and personal use fisheries in action, you will want to make a point to see Alaskan residents taking advantage of their opportunity to simply scoop fish out of the water with a handheld net. Note that if you are not a resident of the Great State, you are limited to spectating only. This is a fishery exclusive to residents. Both the Kasilof, located just a mile and a half from Aspen Hollow, and the Kenai rivers are designated for this unique fishery. Contact us if you would like to hub your Alaska experience from our high-end accommodations!
The area where the two main highways on the Kenai Peninsula, (the Sterling and Seward Highways) intersect is called "the Y". Tern Lake is located there, with a nice salmon viewing platform and peaceful spot to stretch your legs as you make the scenic drive through the Chugiak Mountains. Thank you Chris P. for sharing this photo, which was taken in early June. Note the snowcapped mountains to the left. Many times, especially in early summer and fall, white swans can be seen here.
If you seek cultural experiences during your visit to Alaska, you will want to do what these Aspen Hollow guests did and visit the Kenaitze Indian Tribe Interpretive site in Cooper Landing. It is called K'BEQ', and allows you to read and hear words used by the Dena'ina ancestors to describe the area along the Kenai River. You will travel through the Chugach National Forest, and learn about the natural resource and heritage of the area. The entrance is located at Milepost 52.6 of the Sterling Highway, approximately 5 miles south of Cooper Landing. There is also a gift shop featuring crafts by local and native artists. Visit www.kenaitze.org for more information.