Water taxi, land tours and flightseeing
BAY EXCURSIONS, Water Taxi and Tours. Enjoy spectacular hiking, biking and camping opportunities in Kachemak Bay, Alaska. Bay Excursions will pick you up and drop you off for a day hike, overnighter or week long expedition.
MAKO'S WATER TAXI. Now access to all of Kachemak Bay can be yours without taking a lifetime to save for it. Mako's Water Taxi offers trips across Kachemak Bay and into Kachemak Bay State Park. Mako will pick you up and drop you off for hiking, biking and camping trips.
The long, warm days of summer usher in a seasonal welcome
for wildflowers, shrubs and trees after months of winter dormancy. Spectrums
of color dot area hills, mountains, bogs, and meadows like vibrant confetti.
A good place to start identifying common flora in the
Homer area is at the Pratt Museum Botanical Garden. Beginning in late
April and continuing through the summer, on-site gardeners who tend
the grounds enjoy sharing their fields of knowledge about wild plants.
Bog: Wet and spongy, this habitat nurtures mosses. Of
the nine species in this area, the Labrador Tea and Lowbush Cranberry
are two examples of plants that grow in boggy areas.
Meadow: Sunlight is vital to plants of open meadows.
Eight species typical of plants that grow in meadows are Fireweed, Prickly
Wild Rose and Nootka Lupine.
Alpine: These high mountain plants contend with the
shortest growing season. The 19 species featured here were collected
from across Kachemak Bay, a few of which include Pussy Toes and Mountain
A Dry Stream Bed section is currently being developed
which will feature plants like Cotton Grass.
Additionally, 26 varieties of wildflowers dazzle each
The Pratt Museum Botanical Garden is open 24 hours.
An interpretive walking guide is available on the premises for fifty
cents. Located on Bartlett Street in downtown Homer.
For those who want to venture out and experience the
natural setting of wild plants first hand with a local guide or on your
own, Homer offers at least two alternatives:
The Kachemak Heritage Land Trust conducts guided nature
walks on the Calvin and Coyle Nature Trail during the summer. The trail
is open to the public anytime. Abundant wildlife and flora can be encountered
on this trail which overlooks the Beluga wetlands, home to many moose
in winter and some in summer. An interpretive sign and brochure await
you at the first trailhead, behind Paul Banks Elementary School a short
distance out East Road, off Mariner Drive.
The Kachemak Heritage Land Trust also provides two guided
nature walks on the 6.7 mile Homestead Trail which traverses the higher
elevations without being strenuous. The trailhead is off Rogers Loop
at the top of Baycrest Hill of the Sterling Highway, across the street
from the Bayview Inn.
Two additional wild flora tours are offered by the Land Trust. One will bring you across Kachemak Bay for a hike to Red Mountain, guided by Janice Schofield, author of "Discovering Wild Plants." She can help you identify all wild and edible plants and herbs that are available on the trail. In late June and continuing through August, the Land Trust visits four local homesteads that are under conservation easement. These properties nurture wild berry bushes as well as an abundance of other northland delights. There is a fee for most guided walks.
Check with the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust for dates and times of guided walks and other activities at 395 East Pioneer (Box 2400), Homer, Alaska 99603. Telephone 235-5263.
The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies has been fostering
education in the marine and coastal ecosystem in the Homer area for
years. Their field station in Peterson Bay, across from Kachemak Bay,
conducts natural history tours from Memorial Day through Labor Day and
incorporates both beach and forest exploration on the Island Peninsula
between China Poot and Peterson Bay. The variety of trail systems can
be tailored to individual hiking abilities, and each offers spectacular
scenery, identification of plants and forest ecology, a close-up view
of eagles, seals and other wildlife, and a glimpse into tidepools at
low tide for intertidal sealife. Boat transportation across the Bay
includes a close-up drift around Gull Island Bird Rookery, and departs
Homer at 9 a.m., returning at 6 p.m. Tickets and reservations can be
made at Rainbow Tours on the Homer Spit across from the Harbormaster's
office, or by calling 235-7272.
The Carl E. Wynn Nature Center opened last year. The
135 acres on Skyline Drive were donated to the Coastal Studies Center
by Mr. Wynn. Teeming with wildflowers and other alpine wonders, it's
a fine addition to the out-of-doors celebration of life. An observation
deck has been built which overlooks the meadow and takes in the view
of Kachemak Bay. Nearing completion at the Wynn Center is a "handicap
The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies office is located
at 4014 Lake Street (P.O. Box 2225), Suite 208, Homer, Alaska 99603.
Whether you take advantage of a guided nature tour or go exploring on your own, beware that there are poisonous plants, berries and mushrooms which, if ingested, can be fatal. There are also plants that sting such as Stinging Nettle and Devil's Club. Familiarize yourself with them and don't pet any prickly plants. by Nancy Brown
This guide brought to you by The
Homer Tribune. Publisher: Jane M. Pascall. Voice (907)235-3714,
Fax (907)235-3716 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org,
601 E. Pioneer Ave., Suite 109, Homer, AK 99603.