Scenes from the Kenai Peninsula...

Many of our friends like maps (they are visual travelers like myself). So this image shows you the roads and villages we will be exploring while in this part of Alaska.

We are currently camped 36 miles north of Nikiski at Captain Cook State Recreation Area. Captain Cook is universally regarded as one of the most ambitious explorers of all time - in particular, his three expeditions in 1768-1771, 1772-1775, and 1776-1779 accomplished an impressive list of "firsts," including the first European sighting of Hawaii. While his exploration of the coast of Alaska, in 1778, was not one of his greatest accomplishments, it added an enormous amount of information to the blank spots on the maps of the northern coast.
I wanted to share some of the sights of our day in the life.

Russian America was the name of the Russian colonial possessions in North America from 1733 to 1867. Settlements spanned parts of what are now the USA states of California, Alaska, and two ports in Hawaii. There are many Russian influences, found in surprising places.
We stopped in Soldotna for the Wednesday market. I fell in love with this vintage Cotton Candy trailer.
Steve fell in love with this poodle with the comment, "Thank goodness dogs are color blind!"

We paused at the Visitor Center to learn about the City of Kenai, named after the local Dena'ina word ken or kena, which means 'flat, meadow, open area with few trees; base, low ridge'. When Russian fur traders first arrived in 1741, about 1,000 Dena'ina lived in the village.
In 1786, Fort Nikolaevskaia was built on the site of modern Kenai, being the first European settlement on the Alaskan mainland.
This is also the site of Alaska’s first major oil discovery at Swanson River, in 1957. The town of Nikiski is all oil, gas, etc. Wild.
Alaska became a diocese in the Russian Orthodox Church in 1840, and the Church's popularity in the Kenai Peninsula region grew, particularly among the Kenaitze, the native people of the peninsula.
Holy Assumption Orthodox Church, also known as Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, is a Russian Orthodox parish church which we had to visit. Completed in 1896, it is one of the oldest-standing Russian Orthodox churches in Alaska and was a major center for the assimilation of the local Native population.

The Chapel of St. Nicholas was built in 1906. It rests over the graves of Igumen Nikolai (The first priest to serve the parish). The chapel sits on a bluff overlooking the confluence of the Kenai River and Cook Inlet.

After meandering about we settled here, overlooking the Cook Inlet.

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Karen Booth said...

Yay - on the map. You know I love them. So, are you supposed to chop and throw the Denali Mac? My attempt to be funny. The poodle was VERY colorful and Steve's comment was spot on. Being raised a Byzantine Catholic the church's imagery and icons were very familiar to me.

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