Peninsula hikes fill outdoor guide

Posted: Friday, August 01, 2008

"Been there, done that" and the personal perspective that offers is clearly the driving force behind "50 Hikes In Alaska's Kenai Peninsula." This 267-page by hiker extraordinaire Taz Tally is just that and more.

Every step described between the book's covers has been walked and talked by Tally, who traced and retraced each route with a recorder that allowed him to note details and impressions for reference when he began to put pen to paper.

For instance, hikers with itchy feet and photographers with itchy shutter fingers get a nice visual from Tally's comments about Seven Lakes trail in the central peninsula.

"My favorite time to hike here is in the fall, when the aspen trees have all turned gold and they contrast so beautifully with the dark green spruce, especially in the low light of early morning and evening," Tally writes.

Get-away-from-it enthusiasts will appreciate side-notes like the one included for Homer's Bishops Beach and the Spit.

"The wonderful thing about the beach here is that a short walk down the cobble-sloped top beach quickly separates you from the Spit's frenetic business environment. The constant onshore winds carry the noise away from you," is Tally's assurance that wilderness is not so far away.

The idea for the book began about four years ago when Tally and his publisher discovered they shared an interest in the Alaska outdoors. It grew from there, with Tally researching National Geographic trail maps to uncover the web of wilderness routes spreading across the Kenai Peninsula. Then, it was time to gather firsthand knowledge.

"You drive around, see a road take off, a path, take off and go look at it," Tally said.

The book is divided into five sections: Northern Kenai; Northeast Kenai; Central Kenai; Southeast Kenai -- Homer and Anchor Point; and Southeast Kenai -- Across Kachemak Bay. All of them are tied together by one similarity: extraordinary settings.

"One of the things great about the Kenai Peninsula is the real diversity of hiking environments," Tally said. "And where do you find scenery like this?"

To tap into Tally's trail knowledge, join him for a hike on the Anchor Point beach at 5 p.m. Aug. 15.

"I always encourage people to bring hot dogs for cooking around the fire," he said, reminding that hiking isn't the only way to enjoy being outside.

The event is organized through the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust. For more information, call 907-235-5263.

Tally also will be a keynote speaker, focusing on outdoor deficit disorder, at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge center in Soldotna from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 27. For more information, call 262-7021.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at

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