This weekend, get out and play

Earlier this year, the Legislature designated the fourth Saturday in July as Ted Stevens Day, in honor of the late longtime senator. Stevens’ family suggested a summer date, rather than the senator’s birthday in November, because this is the time he would have been enjoying the outdoors in Alaska. In honor of “Uncle Ted,” we Alaskans are encouraged to go do somethings outdoors for the day.

In our experience, the Kenai Peninsula is the perfect place to do just that. Here’s a quick list of ideas for enjoying what the Peninsula has to offer:

  • Go watch a parade — it just so happens that Soldotna is celebrating Progress Days this weekend, and the parade steps off at 11 a.m. While you’re at it, enjoy the weekend’s outdoor festival, including activities, vendors and live music, at Soldotna Creek Park.
  • The fishing is hot. Go wet a line or dip a net for sockeyes, troll for kings, cast a fly for rainbows or Dollies.
  • If you catch a fish, gather friends and family and share the feast.
  • If not, work on your story about the one that got away.
  • Go take a hike. On the Peninsula, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and Chugach National Forest have a number of hiking trails.
  • While you’re at it, stay the night in one of the campgrounds. Or, carry your gear with you and find a secluded backcountry spot to camp for the night.
  • Toast marshmallows.
  • Dust off your bicycle and go “bike the loop” — the bike path that connects Kenai and Soldotna along the Kenai Spur Highway and Kalifornsky Beach Road.
  • If you’ve got a mountain bike, try pedaling the trails at Tsalteshi Trails, with trailheads on Kalifornsky Beach Road and at Skyview High School.
  • Try wildlife watching. The Kenai Peninsula Wildlife Viewing Trail Guide is online at http://www.kenaipeninsula.org/kenai_guide/index.htm.
  • Try people watching. It can be just as much fun as wildlife watching.
  • Get in a round of golf. Courses are open in Soldotna, Kenai and Funny River.
  • Check out the disc golf course in Kenai.
  • Break out the canoe. Visit one of the Peninsula’s many accessible lakes, or check out the Kenai Canoe Trails on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Try kayaking Kachemak Bay or Resurrection Bay.
  • Visit a park or playground with your kids or grandkids (or borrow someone else’s, if they don’t mind).
  • Grab a Wiffle ball and bat. Work on your curve ball.
  • Play with your kids. Catch, tag, kick the can, hide and seek, jump rope, hopscotch — it doesn’t matter, just play.
  • Take in a baseball game. The Peninsula Oilers play at Coral Seymour Memorial Park today and Saturday.
  • Work in the yard (if you enjoy it, it can be called gardening).

The list could go on, but the point is this: there’s plenty of fun, accessible, and inexpensive things to do here on the Kenai Peninsula. Get out there and enjoy them. That’s what Uncle Ted would’ve wanted.

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