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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Anchor Point

October 14th, 2013 · No Comments

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Anchor Point is just a stop along the way for people who drive to Homer at the end of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, if that. But I found some good reasons to go there several times.

And this isn’t the only great place to stop en route to Homer. Founded by Russian colonists in 1847, the town of Ninilchik, which is 58 miles from where my friends live in Nikiski and 24 miles before coming to Anchor Point, is also worth a visit for a taste of the Russian cultural heritage of Alaska. Some people in NinilchikĀ still speak the local dialect of Russian and worship in the local Russian Orthodox church, which their ancestors built 112 years ago. Across Cook Inlet from the church is the 10,000 foot volcano of Mount Iliamna.

The Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord Chapel Is the Russian Orthodox Church in Ninilchik

The Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord Chapel Is the Russian Orthodox Church in Ninilchik

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The first time I went to Anchor Point was because I wanted to be at the westernmost point in the North American highway system.

As Far West as We Can Drive on the North American Highway System

As Far West as We Can Drive on the North American Highway System

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On another trip I wanted to hike to the mouth of the Anchor River. In 1778 the British expedition led by Captain James Cook, the great explorer, navigator, and cartographer, lost a light anchor near the river’s mouth, hence the name Anchor Point. I got there a mere 235 years later.

A Raven Prepares to Fly at the Anchor Point Beach

A Raven Prepares to Fly at the Anchor Point Beach

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But the hike along the beach from the end of the road to the mouth of the Anchor River was much longer than I expected. I didn’t get back to my vehicle until after 10 p.m. Near the end of my hike in the last rays of the fading sun, I saw a juvenile bald eagle on the beach. While I took several photos of it, I was shooting into the sun, so I waded out to get better views as it patiently waited for me.

Just As I Got in Position at 9:35 p.m., This Immature Bald Eagle Took Off on its Mission

Just As I Got in Position at 9:35 p.m., This Immature Bald Eagle Took Off on its Mission

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While the sun shines late in the day during the Alaska summer, on this trip I didn’t make it back to Nikiski until midnight, well after dark. I was held up by an event near the village of Kalifornsky. I thought that this name sounded a lot like California. That’s because its founder, a local Dena’ina Indian named Qadanalchen had worked at the Russian American colony of Fort Ross in California from about 1812 to about 1821. When he returned to Alaska, Qadanalchen took the name Kalifornsky, the Russian equivalent of Californian. Many years later, as I drove along Kalifornsky Beach Road, I saw a bull moose in my headlights.

Warily Watch Each Other

Warily Watch Each Other

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Pulling out my Canon 7D camera and my 100-400mm lens, I quickly mounted my external flash and Better Beamer. I’m glad that I had a zoom lens, because the moose was so close that 100mm was all that this shot took. The time was 11:10 p.m. on July 24.

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