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June 25, 2007

Landfall in Juneau

Becky and I arrived in Juneau at 1:30 am on Saturday. We crashed out with a few other paddlers on the lawn in front of the ferry terminal and attempted to sleep during the few hours of darkness that night. In the morning we were greeted by a text message from our friends Erik and Haley. Congratulations to them both on the arrival of Tilly! They make a beautiful family. Thanks for the photos Erik. We're thinking of you!

Our ferry ride north was idyllic. After weeks of hectic planning and studying suddenly we had absolutely nothing to do. Right out of Bellingham, between Sinclair and Lummi islands, we were sent off by a pod of leaping Orcas! Catching up on sleep, reading, writing and simply watching the inside passage slide by kept us entertained. We pitched a tent on the beck deck of the boat and stayed dry despite a bit of rain during the passage. Our fellow passengers ranged from families on vacation, a USFS fire crew, wannabe and veteran fishermen heading north, folks relocating to new lives and jobs in AK, and a few paddlers, bikers, and hikers out for adventure, from genteel to truck-stop rugged. Our longest layover was in Ketchikan where we had enough time to walk down to the recreated native village at Saxman to view the totems and carving studio. It was nice to have a chance to stretch our legs after 40 hours on the ship. Continuing north we stopped briefly in Wrangell and then headed through Wrangell Narrows in the pitch black ghosting between the bouys with only yards to spare on either side. Petersburg was shrouded in fog and backlit by the glow of dawn, but by then it was time to head back to bed. By morning of our third day we were in Frederick Sound and staring at the biggest crossing of our paddle trip south. That morning the 10 mile wide channel was as calm and flat as a lake, a beautiful day for a crossing. We're crossing our fingers to have similar weather when we finally get there in our kayaks. Arriving in Sitka via the narrows of Peril Strait we had just enough time to run to the NPS historic site to soak up a few more totems and history. Then it was north to Juneau for an early morning arrival, a snooze and a short but painful carry down the Glacier Highway to our put-in spot next to a fish processing plant. A short 1.5 mile paddle, our first in the expedition loaded boats, took us to the USFS Auk Village Campground, on the site of an old native settlement. A little bubbly to celebrate Tilly's birth and the beginning of the trip topped off the day. Tonight, Becky and I will be boarding the ferry to Bartlett Cove and Glacier Bay. Oh and by the way, Becky and I did a little roll practice in loaded boats today and are happy to confirm that, yes, you can roll a fully loaded sea kayak! Again, three cheers for our coaches Shawna, Matt, and Leon from Body, Boat, Blade!!


Tracy said...

Too bad I missed you in Juneau! I'm so excited for your trip and wish you could "swing" by Pelican on your way. : ) Try and take a walk on Perserverance Trail before you leave Juneau--just ask any local where to go.

Glenn Kessler said...

It is great to hear you both sounding relaxed and finally on your way. No more prep. Just the trip of your lives! While I wish I were there with you, I believe my choice was the right one for now.

We had a great boat trip from Ilwaco to Blain, sailing for 32 hours straight to Port Angeles through the night, navigating by stars and compass. Very cool. Managed to toss my cookies only once!

I've got your van down to Portland and plan to bring it the rest of the way to Parkdale this week. She's a champ! I think she'll like it here.

Let me know just what I'm missing in Glacier Bay. Best of luck. (thanks for the video).


hillbillary said...

hi you two...i like living vicariously through you two. thanks for the mass emails. it is hard to keep up in a proper way with everyone. i know i am way out of it, but you guys are married now, yeah? congratulations!!! i am in homer if you want to paddle the other direction...it's just an idea :)
if you make it to seattle by july 13th, i will be at the airport there for a few hours on my way back from a DC conference also. anyway, i know i probably won't see you, but i am glad to hear and see pictures of you both. becky--what is your cell number? (presuming you have one). mine is 907299-2931 and i am updating my contacts. i hope you have fun and dont get seasick on a sea kayak like i do!!!oxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxxoxohillary

Grandma Molly and Dante said...

Glad to hear about your trip and we were really excited to read your lastest post. We hope that you are able to keep us posted as you go. We wish the both of you the safest travels and will be thinking of you two as the time goes on. Love Gram

Hey beck and nick,
I didn't get to see much of you while you were in town but i saw lots of pictures of becks graduation and i am really proud of you. i wish i could have gone, but im down here in San Diego doing the work thing. Your trip sounds really fun and exciting and the both of you are an inspriation. Stay safe and take lots of pictures.

Dante Jr.