There's this little town, a town of a couple hundred, that we always pass through on our way to Anchorage.
It's dubbed: Cooper Landing.
It's one of the most picturesque places to pass through on the Peninsula, a winding scenic drive that takes you past the glacial Kenai River and Kenai Lake. Aside from being a popular summer tourist spot, it's always remained one of the more mysterious places I've coasted through, for I had never really explored it.
I've eaten there (at the surprising number of tasty restaurants), stopped there many a time for restroom and snackie breaks (thank you Wildman's!), and hiked on a few of their popular trails, but I had yet to really explore what Cooper Landing had to offer.
Well, today, an opportunity arose for an adventure.
One of my best friends Caroline rolled into town for the weekend, and because we're both eager Alaskan explorers (who begin every trip with a stop for coffee at Kaladis), we decided to head up to Cooper Landing to wander about and enjoy the scenery.
And that's exactly what we did. We parked at multiple stops, would find our way down to the glacial water's edge, and then would go on to the next destination, most usually a place we had driven past and always wondered about visiting.
It was the perfect fall day for it too. The colors were brilliant against the richness of the river, there was a sprinkling of fresh rain, and I spent it with good company, a friend who appreciates and adores Alaska as much as I.
Again and again I'm being drawn into the magnetism of Alaska's beauty, continuing to question why I would ever want to leave.
While I don't know where my future will take me, whether Alaska will entice me to stay or eventually encourage me to explore other parts of the world (which I've done), I do know that whilst I'm here, I'm going to enjoy every moment of her majesty.
The first stop on our adventure (aside from Kaladis) was at the Princess Lodge, which sits up on the bluff and overlooks the Kenai River below. Hopping over "Keep Out" fences (we're rebels), we wandered down the leaf ridden path and came to the water's edge.
An absolute essential when hiking in Alaska: bear spray. I can't even bear to think of what would happen if an encounter were to go down. Lucky for us, no bears!
After the Princess Lodge, we drove down rickety roads near Quartz Creek and wound up at a dead end, an end that took us to Kenai Lake.
Look! It's a photographer in her natural habitat...
Dead end? I should say so...
Last stop on our adventure: the bridge crossing at King Salmon Drive.
And then we were on the road again, but this time, our journey took us to destination home..