Outbound Collective logo

Road Trip Chronicles - WWOOF-ing in Homer

An organic farm, a bonfire, and getting lost in order to be found

By: Eric Murdock + Save to a List

Day 9 & 10, Sept 10th - 11th

Entry 7

Whats WOOF-ing you ask? Well that's just a verbalized from of WWOOF, which is an acronym for 'World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.' One of our guide friends, Brit, had left Juneau a month before us go and WWOOF on a farm in Homer. In order to take advantage of the accommodations on the farm we offered our services in the form of sweat equity in exchange for room and board for a few days. Thus a day was spent pulling weeds on the farm. 

The view from the deck at the house in Homer

It may sound odd, but this was actually one of the highlights for me during our stay in Homer. That's not to say we didn't do anything that was more glamorous than pulling weeds, but it was another one of those moments where things came together to make an unforgettable experience. We were all together, grooving to some music, the weather was perfect, and the farm overlooked the Alaskan Range. Whenever you needed to take a rest you could just lay down in the grass, with the sun providing the perfect amount of warmth, and you could gaze out onto these spectacular mountains that came straight down to dramatically meet the sea in the distance. Crouched down working in long rows of plants and with Steve's ridiculous giant straw brimmed hat, I felt like we were working in rows of a rice paddy field. You would shout someones name and you could comically see their head poke up above the row they were in as they sat up. At one point we got a little restless and so we discovered a wooden swing perched just up the hillside. I spent a good hour just hanging out on that swing and enjoying the moment. 

Steve (with his ridiculous hat), Tanner, and Brit pulling weeds

Taking a break to relax and enjoy the moment

I know I mention moments a lot when writing, and yes I am aware that it's a little cheesy, but that's what experiences are--lots of moments put together. 

With our powers combined our group manage to weed out an entire acre of the farm. A job well done, we went to prep for the bonfire out on the spit. This basically consisted of gathering together as many wooden pallets as we could find. We then rendezvoused down at the beach with everyone. 

Subaru number 2 on the beach at the Homer Spit

 We arrived at the spit just in time for a spectacular sunset. A few of the others constructed an impressive house with the pallets. As the sun was reaching the most impressive portion of its set, we doused the pallets with gasoline and let 'er rip. The flames took the shape of the house for a few minutes before the fire caused the whole structure to come tumbling down in an impressive fashion.

Constructing the pallet house for the bonfire

Let there be light

There were a few tents not too far down from us, and seeing as they didn't have a giant pallet house on fire, we invited them to come share the fire (and our drinks). If you are camping on the beach in Homer AK its safe to assume you are on your own adventure as well, which they were. We spent the rest of the night enjoying the simple pleasures of swapping stories, the company of great friends, and the warmth of the fire. During all of these I even got to experience my first 'moonset.' Perhaps its only something that you can experience up north, but after the sun had set I sat there and watched the full moon crash with the horizon, so bright that it actually cast out colors that were similar to a sunset, except in a manner that changed the color of the moon itself more so than the sky.

The following morning was our day of departure from Homer, which was probably a good thing because we were all getting much too comfortable with the luxuries of traditional living. As we were all getting ready to leave it was easy to see that we were all dragging our feet in attempt to draw out the looming inevitability of another 50 days with tents and Top Ramen. Eventually things got going, somebody turned on some music, the sun came out, and we made the process of getting ready an experience in itself. 

Getting ready to depart the farm

During my process with this I had what was probably one of the best showers I will ever take in my life. Even though we were living a life of luxury, the farm was still lacking in what most people would call necessities, one of these in question was hot water. They shower on the farm was an outdoors shower, which was simply a piece of tarp pinned to the outer fence, a small 3'x2' plank of wood to stand on, and a water tank that gravity fed the system from an uphill position. In order to get the shower running it required a combination of lever turning at the shower as well as at the tank further up the hill. Once that was achieved after a little back and forth there was nothing but to hop in. The water was cold, as I knew it would be, and I planned to quickly scrub with the 4oz bottle of biodegradable camp soap that I borrowed from Tanner and then get the heck out of there, but that was not what happened. I was struck by the cold water, but then shortly after I felt the warmth of the sun contrasting itself where the water would allow. The conditions were amazing, the sun was at its highest, the persistent Alaskan clouds were absent, and there was a hint of a breeze that provided a slight brisk in contrast to the warm sun. To go along with this, the view from the shower provided me with a glimpse of the Alaskan range while surrounded by rolling green hillsides. It was an incredible and invigorating contrast of sights and sensations to the perfect degree I want to avoid using the term 'nirvana,' but that's exactly what it was and google hasn't provided me with any suitable synonyms. 

The perfect shower

After that it was back to packing up camp and the good vibes continued. Another spontaneous moment came up when Brit was using her bubble maker and the farm German Shepard decided that they were evil bubbles sent to kill us and decided to attack them all. 

Death to bubbles

Finally, after getting sidetracked more than a few times, we said our thank yous and our farewells and hit the road. Because we were at the end of the Kenai Peninsula, the only way out was back the way we came, and because I was sick when we came in and couldn't experience it, the guys wanted to stop at a neat spot that they hit on the way in. This place didn't have a name, it was just another pull off on the side of the road, which is what makes the Kenai so incredible. The place in question was this massive picturesque  green field the size of at least 4 football fields, with one perfectly straight trail the split the field right in two. We followed this path all the way until it unexpectedly ended at a dramatic cliff that towered hundreds of feet over the ocean. As we peeked over the cliff we were greeted with ocean winds that were ripping straight up the cliff face at tremendous force that would almost knock you over. You could even lean into the wind slightly and it would keep you from falling forward, which is what we did on the cliffs edge and it created a crazy sensation that made you feel like you were flying as you looked straight down hundreds of feet. 

The field before the cliff

Eventually one of the guys said to hell with it and started climbing down the cliff. We of course followed. The cliff was a combination of lose dirt and soft rock, so it was less of a climb as it was an slightly controlled tumble down to the bottom, sort of like Buzz Lightyears falling with style. The spontaneity was exhilarating, and we hit the ground running straight into the ocean, and holy crap was it cold. After coming back down to earth, we were forced with precariously working our way up the loose rock face, which took quite a bit of MacGyvering around. 

Descending down the cliff

Sidetracked as always, we hit the road again, next stop--Waikiki Beach. This is where things get interesting. One of the others in the 2nd Subaru (Rachel--by far the most stoked person I've ever met) had worked in Coopers Landing before and knew of secret local spot on Kenai Lake, so we were relying on her to lead the way since it wasn't on any map--big mistake... We ended up driving  well past nightfall down a dirt road for about an hour an a half, at which point she came to the conclusion that she had forgotten exactly where it was and that we were lost. At this point we had been in the car for about 5 hours and we were tired and hungry and weren't looking forward to setting up camp in the dark. Our car took the lead, with Steve behind the wheel as the rest of us peered into the dark in search for a decent spot to pitch our tents. After about an hour we were impatient and decided just to take the next pull off we could find. This ended up being a half beaten path that went to who knows where, but we took it. The Subaru's had to crawl their way around holes and humps down the trail in the dark but after not too long we found a spot to set up camp. We got out to direct the Subaru's, but then we saw that another 75 feet further was a clearing. Investigating just a little further and we stumbled out onto a wide open beach with campfires burning in both directions, showing signs that other campers were there. It didn't take long for Rachel to realize that we had in fact accidentally found what we were looking for--Waikiki Beach. Back in good spirits we found the perfect spot, secluded away from the others and right next to the lake. 

After enjoying a campfire we ended the night with the rain fly's off our tents stargazing at the night sky, calling out shooting stars to each other as the darted across the vast space overhead until we fell asleep. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


Are Outdoorsy People Happier?

Matt Van Swol

4 Things Photo School Won't Teach You

Garrett Graham

Why I Photograph the Outdoors


Everything You Need to Know about Hiking and Photographing Utah's Kanarra Creek Falls

Ross Kyker