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No Roads Alaska and the Serenity of Halibut Cove

July 9, 2014

In Alaska, places without roads are quite common. In fact, “Bush” Alaska takes up most of the state. I once lived in an Alaskan village where the main modes of transportation were four wheelers and boats. Some people have difficulty imagining what it would be like to live in a place with no roads, but for me, the four wheelers and boardwalks were really the same thing. Granted, they weren’t as busy and you didn’t have traffic lights, but I heard more machine buzzing from my house in Tuntutuliak, Alaska than I ever do right from my living room here in Anchorage. The boardwalks wind their way around every nook and cranny, in between houses, small spaces….it’s difficult to escape and so at times, it doesn’t feel like you’re living without roads at all! Besides, places like Tuntutuliak are very small, and within the boundaries of your living arrangements and soul searching, you don’t need any roads in the first place. As they say, no matter where you go, there you are.

Tuntutuliak, AK via city-data.com

Tuntutuliak, AK via city-data.com

Outside of bush Alaska, you also have the southcentral area, but I have yet to explore the deep sections of that area. There too, you will find places where you can only travel by boat or plane.

But, coming from Anchorage by road, it’s somewhat easy to get to another area with no roads: Halibut Cove. Once a fishing village, but now home to artists and some small businesses, Halibut Cove rests on Ismailof Island, near the infamous Kachemak Bay State Park. The interesting thing I learned during this second visit was that planes are not a mode for transportation so everything must come over by boat. While there is a boardwalk in Halibut Cove that winds all around the town, we only saw one ATV and the boardwalk itself is a small cry to the one I walked up and down in Tuntutuliak. To give you a sense of the surrounding area, here is a shot from the air:

Halibut Cove via grin.nukaresearch

Halibut Cove via grin.nukaresearch

According to the locals, most people who visit Halibut Cove do not stay the night; they take a water taxi, have dinner, possibly take a hike in the park or go kayaking, and return to Homer that evening. It’s your day trip kind of place for the average tourist. After all, it’s cold. There are no roads. And really, many folks might be asking themselves what there is to do there, especially if they aren’t into outdoor recreation. There are few accommodations that are affordable, but with a little digging, you can figure it all out, and be the person who does stay a night, or even several.

With a little research, I found outside of the state park cabins, there are a couple of simple accommodations such as Cove Country Cabins. By simple, I mean that there is an outhouse, separate shower facility, and cabins that are nestled in the woods-perfect for those that want to experience the peacefulness of Halibut Cove. You also have the state park cabins without amenities and when I go next time, I hope to stay in the park itself, but this trip was meant for the cove experience.

Carl and Tammy, the owners of Cove Country Cabins, only have 3 cabins, but they are perfect. I was surprised when they were surprised that we wanted to have dinner, spend the night, and then do some hiking in the park the next day. This was an “unusual” request, but we persisted with our desires, and eventually, made all the arrangements needed with the water taxis to the various locations. I should say that my Aunt did all of that, but I was excited to get to experience something new about Alaska with her! It was well worth it, and should you ever find yourself planning a trip to Halibut Cove, I recommend staying the night!

Halibut Cove is true serenity. As we were leaving by water taxi the next morning, I could barely hear our engine and I looked out into the water only to catch a kayaker gliding over the water, enjoying the morning light. For a second, I wished I was her.

Ismailof Island

Ismailof Island

P1050607

P1050608

Approaching Halibut Cove

Outside our Cabin, Outhouse just a few steps away!

Outside our Cabin, Outhouse just a few steps away!

Boardwalk Stroll

Boardwalk Stroll

Boardwalk Stroll

Boardwalk Stroll

 

Approaching The Saltry

Approaching The Saltry

P1050616

Danny J, our water ferry that night

The Saltry restaurant

The Saltry restaurant

Kachemak Bay State Park is glorious as well!

 

Grewingk Glacier

Grewingk Glacier

 

Grewingk Glacier

Grewingk Glacier

 

Grewingk Glacier

Grewingk Glacier

 

The end of the trail!

The end of the trail!

 

Saddle Trailhead

Saddle Trailhead

 

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From → Alaska, Travel

4 Comments
  1. Laura, Halibut Cove is truly a beautiful place – the picture of serenity. Definitely the perfect place to get away from it all. How do you discover all of these hidden gems? ~Terri

    • Hi Terri! Speaking of gems, where are you now? I think living in one place for awhile teaches you to search for them in some aspects, but I have such a love affair with Alaska that I want to keep digging into every zone of it! It’s good to hear from you-hope your doing well out there!

      • I think your love affair with Alaska is wonderful, Laura. How long have you been there now? We’re currently in the states visiting with family and friends – a summer treat! 🙂 ~Terri

      • Thanks Terri! I’ve been up here since 1995, but last 11 have been in Anchorage. It’s glorious! Enjoy your time with the fam-I’m sure they’ve missed you!

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