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My Homer Winter Staycation

It’s fair to say that winter started with a whimper in Homer this year. It seemed to take forever to arrive. Late last fall, I asked my kids to put together a list of things that they wanted to do this winter and we waiting impatiently for the cold and snow to arrive.

My experience with Alaska is that I dream of all the awesome things I’m going to do in a season and when the season hits, I’m so busy doing things that I forget about the experiences I dreamed of in the off months.

So this winter, I figured I’d tackle that with a list of winter goals. I got out a huge sheet of paper, a few markers and sat down with my kids to start dreaming Here’s what we came up with:

  1. Sledding at Olson Mountain – this is by far my favorite sledding hill. Right now, the snow is such that you can get on your sled at the top of Easterday Street and sled for  about a half mile under the power lines. Better yet, hike up the mountain at the very end of Olson Mountain Road and take the long bumpy runs down. Snow machines have cut great tracks to make hiking up easy.

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    The top of Olson Mountain
  2. Cross Country Ski (Lots) – the Kachemak Nordic Ski is simply amazing at cutting ski trails all over town. Check them out at www.kachemaknordicskiclub.org and get out there!
  3. Read a great book – when the sun sets at 4ish in the winter time, we need lovely ways to fill up our nights. This winter, I’m reading The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell to my kids. She’s the same author who wrote How to Train your Dragon. Highly recommended.
  4. Freeze Bubbles – A youtube video popped into my Pinterest Feed about freezing soap bubbles. Looked like fun. It promises to be cold enough this week, so I plan to take the kids out and freeze some bubbles.
  5. Skate Beluga Lake – Beluga Lake in Homer is a great place to hit the ice. Once it freezes solid, it’s an easy place to stop after work or school for a bit of skating fun.

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    New Ice Skates this year – heat molded in the oven. DIY skating comfort.
  6. Sled at West Homer Elementary – In my humble opinion West Homer is a great place to go sledding on ice. It’s best when temperatures have warmed up a bit and then frozen again. This creates icy conditions so bring your cleats, walk carefully to the top and then penguin slide down – no sled required.
  7. Methane Fires at Beluga LakeMethane gas gets trapped into the ice at Beluga Lake. With some common sense, a pick ax and a lighter, you can set fire to some of these methane pockets and watch it burn.
  8. Go Ice Fishing – my son is a fisherman at heart. The Reservoir off of Skyline Drive in Homer is an easy place to go for some Ice Fishing fun. The Borough maintained road beside the reservoir is also a great place to sled, in case the fish aren’t biting. You can even pack some snowshoes and tackle the Homestead Trail that starts at the end of the road.
  9. Go Downhill Skiing – the Homer Rope Tow is open on Sundays for people wanting to get some downhill skiing in. It’s been ages since I’ve been downhill skiing so I think a trip to Alyeska for some refresher lessons are in order. While I’m there, a soak at Alyeska Resort’s awesome hot tub will be on my private to do list.
  10. Climb a Snowy Tree – this is on my daughter’s list. She was bored this summer and asked me what she could do. I was totally preoccupied with something else and I told her to go climb a tree. So she did. Now she climbs trees.
  11. Build a Snowman and a Snow Dog – it warmed up a bit over winter break and that meant perfect snowman snow. So we built snow people and snow critters in the back yard. We dressed them in hats and scarves, used coal from the beach, and carrots from the kitchen to make them authentic.
  12. Go snowshoeing. I love snow shoeing, especially with harder, crusty snow that you barely sink into. I feel like I can explore places I couldn’t when the snow’s deep or the summer vegetation is in its full glory. Wynn Nature Center has trails already cut, as does Rogers Loop. Last weekend, I took a friend across the bay and did the Halibut Cove trails. It was beyond fantastic. The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies rents snowshoes and they’re super affordable.

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    Halibut Cove, Alaska

So there’s our little list of goals for this winter. We already knocked quite a few of them off our list. As soon as my builder friend is feeling better, I’m going to have him show me how to light a methane boil. Hopefully I come out of this winter with my eyebrows still on.

~Sarah