CHOOSE: GENERAL | PHOTOGRAPHY | FISHING
- What typical weather patterns and temperatures can we expect?
- Are there restrictions on the amount of baggage to bring?
- How much walking will we be doing?
- Will we be transported by boat during our stay?
- How bad are the insects?
- What measures are taken to be sure we are safe from the bears?
- What if we have dietary restrictions?
- Are boots necessary at Silver Salmon?
- Are there incidental costs that we may incur?
- Is there a chance our arrival or departure will be delayed by weather?
- Do you have internet service at SSCL?
- Do cell phones work at Silver Salmon?
- May we bring our own alcohol beverages?
- Do you offer a choice of places to depart from to reach Silver Salmon?
- Do you have recommendations of places to stay in Soldotna, Anchorage and Homer?
- Do you have laundry facilities at SSCL?
- Can we use a hair dryer?
- Is there a gift shop at the lodge?
- Will we be required to sign an Acknowledgement of Risk form?
- What type of physical disabilities or medical conditions might create difficulties for me?
- Are there hiking opportunities at Silver Salmon Creek?
- What is a typical itinerary for an overnight bear viewing trip?
GENERALQ: What typical weather patterns and temperatures can we expect? Top A: The weather is coastal which means rain can be likely so bring a raincoat, although we do experience periods of sunshine. Expect temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s (F), and sudden changes, including wind, are common. Bring layered clothing. Q: Are there restrictions on the amount of baggage to bring? Top A: Because you will be transported by small plane, we ask that you limit your gear as close to 50# per person as possible. Sometimes exceptions are made for photo tour groups, and it is also possible to mail some gear to us ahead of time. The name and address to use are: Steve Toth, 1618 Tanaga Circle, Kenai, Alaska 99611 and best to ship it at least 6 weeks prior to your arrival, & make sure you write the party name on the outside of the box. Steve is our expediter, very reliable, and his phone number is (907) 252-3118, email firstname.lastname@example.org. There may be extra charges if excessive gear results in additional plane trips. Please limit your gear to clothing, a few personal items and photo/fishing related equipment. Q: How much walking will we be doing? Top A: We are equipped to transport people into the field who have difficulty walking long distances. This includes the use of ATV’s with trailers that will transport you for bear viewing, photo excursions, and fishing. Walking can also at times be an option, if arranged ahead of time with your guide. There are areas where walking can be challenging, such as on the tidal flats and places around the creek which are muddy. Q: Will we be transported by boat during our stay? Top A: Same day and overnight guests generally will not be utilizing any boat services. Those staying longer than two nights will have the option of boat trips to bird sanctuaries, coastal explorations and fossil beds, and the boat is necessary for halibut fishing and access to the tent camp site. Our charter vessels are operated by coast guard licensed captains, and we have a 100% safety record in 29 years of operation. Q: How bad are the insects? Top A: There are annoying insects throughout Alaska but they are easily managed by a combination of insect repellent, head-nets, or simply ignoring them. Mosquitoes are more common in early summer while no-see-ums and “white sox” (small gnats) more common later in the summer. We have a good supply of repellents but you are welcome to bring your own. Alaskan insects do not carry diseases but the bites can result in swelling and itching. Q: What measures are taken to be sure we are safe from the bears? Top A: Our guides are trained to understand bear behavior and know the parameters surrounding safe bear viewing practices. Most of the bears we see are already somewhat acclimated to the presence of humans, and there has never been a serious negative encounter with bears in our 20 year history of providing bear viewing services. With that said, the bears at Silver Salmon are still free-ranging wild mammals and need to be approached with caution, and the guides will ensure your safety while assessing behavior and possible stress signs of the bears.
People react to the close presence of bears very individually, and if you are uncomfortable with the proximity between yourself and the bears, we will accommodate your concerns and make adjustments accordingly. Q: What if we have dietary restrictions? Top A: Our kitchen staff is very sensitive to any special dietary needs. By letting us know well ahead of time (and reminding us again by email 1-2 weeks before your arrival if possible), we are able to accommodate most requests. Q: Are boots necessary at Silver Salmon? Top A: Yes. For daily bear viewing/photography in the local area, most people get by fine with knee boots, which we have a large supply of. Some people, especially photographers, prefer hip or even chest waders. The nearby meadows and tidal flats can be marshy and wet. Boat activities require hip waders, and while we have some in stock, many guests prefer bringing their own. It is best to contact us a short time before arriving in order to know if a correct size is available for you. We are limited in knee and hip boots of size 13 or larger. Hip boots can be purchased at any sporting goods store in Anchorage, Soldotna or Homer. Q: Are there incidental costs that we may incur? Top A: There is a $6 a day per person park user fee (even if you hold a National Park pass) and a sales tax due with your balance. Other optional costs are vacuum sealing any fish you want to retain ($1 a lb), halibut charters at $100 a person (3 minimum), and international cell phone calls ($3 a minute). Gratuities are not included in the charges and are always greatly appreciated. Q: Is there a chance our arrival or departure will be delayed by weather? Top A: Because we use chartered small aircraft for transporting you, there is always a chance that bad weather may pre-empt a flight, but it’s unusual and delays are often only a portion of one day. For this reason in addition to the possibility of a domino affect on your travel plans after leaving SSCL, we strongly encourage trip insurance and have links on our reservation page. In the event weather forces an extra night at SSCL, we charge $100 per person for room and board, and often this will include guided local activities. Q: Do you have internet service at SSCL? Top A: Yes, we have a satellite dish and you are welcome to bring your own laptop computer. However, we only have limited band-width and it is imperative that you not send photos, stream videos, or access programs that will exceed our band-width allocation. When that happens, the system gets shut down for 2 days and everyone suffers. Emails without photos are fine. Q: Do cell phones work at Silver Salmon? Top A: Yes, depending on your provider. At the current time we have good luck with Verizon, only fair with AT&T, and Sprint does not work. Q: May we bring our own alcohol beverages? Top A: Absolutely. We do not have a full service bar at SSCL but you are welcome and encouraged to bring any alcoholic beverages you wish. In the case of large amounts of beer/wine, we may be able to purchase that for you ahead of time and store it at the lodge, if notified at least 1 month prior to your arrival. Q: Do you offer a choice of places to depart from to reach Silver Salmon? Top A: Yes. Groups of 3 or more can leave directly from Anchorage and sometimes parties of one or two can also, depending on existing plane schedules. The flight from Soldotna is only 35 minutes and many people enjoying the Kenai Peninsula depart from there. A Soldotna departure usually works best for parties of one or two in addition to larger parties. Homer is available for parties of 3 or more, or two with an additional fee. Q: Do you have recommendations of places to stay in Soldotna, Anchorage and Homer? Top A: Yes. We have a 4-plex in Soldotna, one unit which is set aside during the summer for your arrival prior to and after your visit to SSCL. Vehicle use can sometimes be arranged.
In Anchorage we recommend the Quality Inn (907) 243-3131, or the Courtyard Marriott (907) 245-0322. They, along with several other reasonable motels, are very close to the Lake Hood airstrip (wheel planes) where you will depart from. If you have additional time to spend in Anchorage, there are several luxury hotels downtown including the Captain Cook, Sheraton and Hilton. Q: Do you have laundry facilities at SSCL? Top A: Yes, we have a washer and dryer and you can arrange with our housekeeper to have your laundry done, on a gratuity basis. Q: Can we use a hair dryer? Top A: Yes, but only when the generator is on. We operate alternately on a direct AC diesel generator current and a solar/battery system. Typically the generator is running between 6 and 10 AM and also between 5 and 11 PM. Hairdryers draw a lot of electricity so please use only during designated generator times or check with staff as to the status of our power grid. Q: Is there a gift shop at the lodge? Top A: Yes, we have a small gift shop that includes hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, thermal mugs, video CD’s of Silver Salmon Creek, and children’s books plus books of poetry by an Alaskan author. Q: Will we be required to sign an Acknowledgement of Risk form? Top A: Although we’ve never had an incident where serious body harm has occurred, our insurance company requires us to have guests sign an Acknowledgement of Risk form, which can either be downloaded from this web site (under RATES) and brought with you or it can be signed upon your arrival at the lodge. The wording is simple and they may be mailed to us also. Q: What type of physical disabilities or medical conditions might create difficulties for me? Top A: You don’t need to be in perfect shape, as the walking is generally over short distances. There are stairs leading to the dining area and we are set up for CPAP users. Joanne is a board certified emergency medicine physician and is happy to answer any medical questions prior to planning your trip. Q: Are there hiking opportunities at Silver Salmon Creek? Top A: Silver Salmon Creek Lodge sits in a coastal section of Alaska, where there is dense brush and undergrowth making long hiking treks difficult. We do have short hikes available around the premises and longer ones available along the beach and inland along riverbanks. Q: What is a typical itinerary for an overnight bear viewing trip? Top A: Your plane usually leaves at 9 AM and you arrive 35 minutes later (from Soldotna or Homer). You are taken to the lodge by ATV, shown your room/cabin, given a short orientation about moving around bears, then taken into the field until a 1 PM lunch. At 2 PM you are transported back into the field to view bears, then returned to the lodge no later than 6:45 PM, in time for a 7 PM dinner. Depending on weather and your interests, we can sometimes continue with bear viewing, with a 10 PM curfew on national park activities. The next morning there is a short window for bear viewing following breakfast at 8 AM, until your departure at approximately 9:30 AM.