Have you ever imagined what the last Ice Age actually looked like? Well, imagine no more. See it for yourself by flying over the 700-square mile Harding Ice Field. Or driving to Exit Glacier. Or cruising in the Kenai Fjords National Park. It’s like stepping back in time 10,000 years… without all the messy quantum physics stuff.
If you’d rather go back just a few centuries, there’s plenty of human history to explore. Alaska Natives thrived on the Kenai’s rich resources from both land and sea. Captain Cook explored here in the late 18th Century. Russians colonized parts of the eastern coast, bringing a long-lasting influence to the area – including several Russian Orthodox churches, one of which is some 200 years old. Over the last century or so, gold, oil and coal have played significant roles in shaping today’s Peninsula. Gold brought prospectors to Hope and inspired the construction of the Alaska Railroad originating in Seward. “Black gold” (oil) was discovered on a northern Peninsula river. And Homesteaders still gather coal on the beaches of Homer.
While Mother Nature has given many gifts to The Kenai, it has also taken some away. The 1964 Good Friday Earthquake triggered a tsunami (tidal wave) that destroyed the Seward port. It also twisted railroad tracks like taffy and wreaked havoc throughout Southcentral Alaska. As you can see, The Kenai is packed with interesting history. But if you’re like most peninsula adventurers, you’d rather make history by catching a world-record king salmon. Lester Anderson did just that on the Kenai River in 1985 with a 97 lb., 4 oz. keeper. You can see it today at the Soldotna Visitors Center. And you know that monstrous fish has some hefty relatives just waiting for you to catch. So c’mon up! Even if you don’t make history, you’ll make memories to last a lifetime.
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