National Geo Moment: Watching Salmon Run in Alaska

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It was like a lesser episode of National Geographic! Standing there watching salmon jump up the seemingly insurmountable waterfalls was an unforgettable moment.

It almost, but not quite, erased the memory of the 3.5 mile “light hike” I had been unprepared for.

We were going through Cooper Landing on our way from Girdwood to Ninilchik and heard the salmon were running on the Russian River Falls. It would be an easy 1-2 mile walk. Sold!

Well, we arrive to a long line of cars, but hadn’t been paying attention to the signage telling us what lane to be in. It turns out if you just want to park and see the falls instead of camping, you should be in the left hand lane if you want to avoid a 45 min wait.

Russian River Falls Park Entrance Wait

Eventually we figured it out, skipping ahead, only to find out all the lots were full and we’d need to park in the overflow lot, only a mile or so away from the head of the trail. Hmmmm.

My Teva Cabrillos would have been equal to a mile or so “easy hike” in each direction, but for that distance I probably needed to change out of my sundress and pretty footwear. I struggled into workout clothes in the backseat and we set off.

That’s when I realized how out of shape and jetlagged I was. It was actually not a bad hike — there were plenty of hills, but it was an easy gravel path that someone in decent shape and with plenty of sleep and well hydrated would cover with no problem. For me, it was a little taxing and I showed up at the falls red faced and tired (the jacket was to combat mosquitos).

Russian River Falls salmon run Keri

Only to forget it all in my eagerness to spot salmon jumping the falls. I was never able to get a good picture, but I would shout with triumph every time I’d see one beat the odds and make it up a level.

Russian River Falls Salmon Run Cooper Landing Alaska

Russian River Falls waterfalls cooper landing alaska

The trip back was quicker and much more tolerable, though the 70 degree weather felt more like the 90s. Yet another amazing life experience!

More From This Trip

One of the Best Restaurant Views in North America
The Midnight Sun is Bad for My Health
Alaska Makes Wine!
Should You See Homer Spit?
Disappointed by the Soldotna Dump
My favorite stop on the Kenai Peninsula
Where to Stay on the Kenai Peninsula

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

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