I have a new T-shirt!
This (once again) tranquil beach-side campground is most likely going to fill up with weekend campers and fishermen by Friday afternoon, but mid-week, it has been an oasis of quiet. Perfect for social distancing!
There is one travel trailer parked well off to my left and behind me. It’s an active camping family with children, but far enough away to provide no more than visual entertainment.
There is another Winnebago parked at the far back end of the campground with a nice view of the marshlands and river. I’m guessing bird watchers? Although I must admit, my only bear sighting for the week was while walking past their campsite.
Don’t be alarmed – the two bears (far enough distant, I couldn’t really tell if they were brown bear or black bear) were simply loping across the river in that very distinct rolling gait of bears. They quickly disappeared into the marsh on the far side. They paid no attention whatsoever to the couple of campers taking delighted note of their passing.
My tent-camping lady friend (three campsites away) and I have the front center of the campground mostly to ourselves.
Then, for whatever reason, there is everyone else in the campground … 7-8 RVs, all jammed side by side in the one small “ocean-front” area, so close together it may as well be a parking lot. Only the RVs on either end could possibly have a decent view of the water.
There were a couple of sites available there when I first pulled in on Monday afternoon, but the close quarters didn’t appeal to me – especially these days. With an entire, nearly empty campground of fairly roomy sites to choose from, I still don’t understand why they all squeezed together like sardines in a can.
My site was spectacular, and with the one brief exception (read “The Wednesday Debacle”), I had not only a lovely view, but all the privacy I could wish for.
The sunshine and balmy temperatures held sway throughout the day on Wednesday, adding color to my cheeks in spite of sunscreen and a hat.
My outings were varied and always included at least one dachshund (usually just one dachshund, as I quickly realized I wasn’t going to get many good photos with two dogs on leashes – each with their own agenda and often at cross purposes).
Baxter preferred to play the jaunty gentleman-about-town and wanted to prance down the center of the sandy gravel road, head high, checking out anything that moved. One brisk circle of the campground, with a stop to water each corner post, was usually enough for him.
Rhonda, on the other hand, seldom had her nose off the ground unless she startled a bird into flight and insisted on following each scent to wherever it led her, which was invariably off into the tall roadside sea grass or other bushes. At least, to the extent her 6’ leash would allow.
Ronni discovered at least two old, abandoned sea-bird nests, innumerable fish skeletons (thankfully, she didn’t seem to have a desire to eat them – just finding them seemed sufficient), and heaven knows what else.
I thought she was going to start digging clams on the beach at one point, but no … she unearthed a large fish tail, still mostly intact and recognizable. She carried that prize with her for a ways before abandoning it for the next intriguing scent.
All in all, Tuesday and Wednesday were both the much-sought-after summer beach weather I had been hoping for.
The campground was fairly quiet, the surf alternating between gently swishing ashore when the inlet was quiet and mirror calm, and a peaceful but distinct background thrum of waves when weather out to sea pushed the tide in with robust rollers.
I was able to sit outside in my camp-rocker a good deal, dogs napping in the sun at my feet as I read and listened to the musical combo of ocean waves and birds. The latter consisted of several species of seagulls, ravens, small shore-birds and quiet often, bald eagles.
Every day in Ninilchik, the scenery seemed to change by the hour. The tide going out exposed a whole new beach to explore, while high tide pounded a short distance from my campsite. The family of four eagles (brilliant white-headed parents with a pair of shaded brown adolescent offspring, I’m pretty sure) added delightful aerial acrobatics for my viewing pleasure several times a day.
Walking the short distance to Deep Creek, at the end of the campground, offered a completely different view, with the family of eagles almost always in sight since their nest was high on the bluff overlooking the river.
The weather, of course, was always changing – although it stayed remarkably blue and mostly clear for these precious two days. This has been a fairly wet summer, as summers in south-central Alaska go, so I’m always appreciative of good camping weather when happen-chance offers it.
Being Alaska; of course the weather was about to change …