FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST SAFARI, YOU’VE PROBABLY GOT SOME QUESTIONS. HERE IS A LIST OF THE MOST COMMON ONES PROVIDED BY SILVER SALMON CREEK LODGE. IF YOU DON’T SEE THE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION HERE, PLEASE CONTACT US
WHAT TYPICAL WEATHER PATTERNS AND TEMPERATURES CAN WE EXPECT?
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.
ARE THERE RESTRICTIONS ON THE AMOUNT OF BAGGAGE TO BRING?
Because you will be transported by small plane, we ask that you limit your gear as close to 50 pounds 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 it's 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.
HOW MUCH WALKING WILL WE BE DOING?
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, but it is important to expect that a reasonable amount of walking will be necessary. There are areas where walking can be challenging, such as on the tidal flats and places around the creek which are muddy.
WILL WE BE TRANSPORTED BY BOAT DURING OUR STAY?
Some 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 exploration 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.
HOW BAD ARE THE INSECTS?
There are annoying insects throughout Alaska but they are easily managed by a combination of insect repellent, head-nets, or simply by 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.
WHAT MEASURES ARE TAKEN TO BE SURE WE ARE SAFE FROM THE BEARS?
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 of Silver Salmon are still free-ranging wild mammals and need to be approached with caution. The guides will ensure your safety while assessing behavior and possible stress signs of the bear. People react to the close presence of bears very individually. If you are uncomfortable with the proximity between yourself and the bears, we will accommodate your concerns and make adjustments accordingly.
WHAT IF I HAVE DIETARY RESTRICTIONS?
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.
ARE BOOTS NECESSARY AT SILVER SALMON?
Yes. For daily bear viewing/photography in the local area, most people get by fine with knee boots, of which we have a large supply. 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.
ARE THERE INCIDENTAL COSTS THAT WE MAY INCUR?
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 $140 a person (3 minimum), and international cell phone calls ($3 a minute). Gratuities are not included in the charges and are always greatly appreciated.
IS THERE A CHANCE OUR ARRIVAL OR DEPARTURE WILL BE DELAYED BY WEATHER?
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. In the event weather forces an extra night at SSCL, we charge $100 per person for room and board.
DO YOU HAVE INTERNET SERVICE AT SSCL?
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-wide allocation. When that happens, the system gets shut down for 2 days, and everyone suffers. Emails without photos are fine.
DO CELL PHONES WORK AT SSCL?
Yes, depending on your provider. At the current time, we have good luck with Verizon, only fair with AT&T. Sprint does not work.
MAY WE BRING OUR OWN ALCOHOL BEVERAGES?
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 one month prior to your arrival.
DO YOU OFFER A CHOICE OF PLACES TO DEPART FROM TO REACH SILVER SALMON?
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.
DO YOU HAVE RECOMMENDATIONS OF PLACES TO STAY IN SOLDOTNA, ANCHORAGE AND HOMER?
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 Courtyard Marriott (907) 245-0322 or the Holiday Inn Express (907) 248-8848. 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.
DO YOU HAVE LAUNDRY FACILITIES AT SSCL?
Yes. We have a washer and dryer, and you can arrange with our housekeeper to have your laundry done, on a gratuity basis.
CAN WE USE A HAIR DRYER?
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 a.m. and also between 5 and 11 p.m. 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.
IS THERE A GIFT SHOP AT THE LODGE?
Yes. We have a small gift shop that includes hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, thermal mugs and children's books plus books of poetry by an Alaskan author.
WILL WE BE REQUIRED TO SIGN AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RISK FORM?
Although we've never had an incident where serious bodily harm has occurred, our insurance company requires us to have guests sign an Acknowledgement of Risk form, which can either be downloaded from the SSCL website (http:www.silversalmoncreek.com, 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.
WHAT TYPE OF PHYSICAL DISABILITY OR MEDICAL CONDITIONS MIGHT CREATE DIFFICULTIES FOR ME?
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.
WHAT SIZE LENS SHOULD I BRING?
A 500 mm lens or 400 with teleconverter works well for your telephoto needs, and you may want to bring a landscape and macro lens also. For bird photography (especially puffins), you will need a fast lens to capture them in flight.
HOW LONG WILL WE BE ABLE TO STAY IN THE FIELD EACH DAY?
Pretty much as long as you like, with a 10 p.m. national park cut-off for activities. Departures usually occur after breakfast, with a 1 p.m. lunch, then again into the field until a 7 p.m. dinner, and if interest, weather, and daylight cooperate, then again after dinner. If you are with a group that wants extended time in the field and you prefer less time, we can make adjustments for that as well.
DO YOU HAVE ANY LENS OR TRIPODS FOR RENT?
Yes, we have a Nikon 200-400 F4 lens that rents for $50 a day, not to be used in extreme weather conditions. We also have a Sigma 28-300 for $15 a day (Nikon mount). At times, there are Canon lenses also for rent (call). We have a Bogen tripod with Wimberley head for $15 a day.
HOW MANY PHOTOGRAPHERS WILL BE IN THE FIELD AT ONE TIME?
Usually the ratio of guide to group is 1 to 6, so with larger parties, you will encounter others in the field also. The local area of marsh meadows and tidal flats is large enough to accommodate several groups, and since it is public land, we do not have exclusive rights or use of the prime photo grounds. Your guide will strategically move you around in order to maximize photo opportunities. Small parties of 1-4 may be combined, with your interest and skill level a determining factor in combining small groups.
CAN WE BE ASSURED OUR EQUIPMENT WILL BE ADEQUATELY PROTECTED?
While you are responsible for your own equipment, we educate photographers during our orientation and in the field about local conditions and what to expect, in order to help protect your expensive investments. Wind, rain, blowing sand, and salt spray are all conditions we may encounter. Rain shrouds and dry bags are very helpful at times.
HOW DO I SIGN UP?
At the bottom of the page of your chosen safari, you’ll find a Registration Form. Submit the completed form, and we’ll contact you with further details.
Once your placement has been confirmed, you’ll need to submit a deposit by check to hold your place.