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July 25, 2007

The Routine


Day 28

First Presbyterian Church, Wrangell, AK

Wrangell, Alaska is home to ten churches and two bars. Probably the only town in the state able to boast that kind of ratio. Becky and I are in the Presbyterian Church of Wrangell today. The Catholic Church is right next door, but this place has a hostel and our room is in the bell tower, overlooking the harbor, with an intriguing rope hanging through the ceiling. I keep egging Becky in, hoping she'll pull the cord and wake up the town. Not only is this church the oldest continuously functioning Presbyterian church in Alaska, it also has a neon cross on the steeple that shows up on nautical charts as a navigational aid. We're here resting and resupplying for the day. Its nice to have a little break from the paddling, do some laundry, shower and rest the shoulders and backs. Although Beck and I are by now muck stronger than we were three weeks ago, joints and muscles are a little sore.
We've fallen into a bit of a routine having been on the water this long. Days are structured around the tides, we plan to make the most of favorable currents. Not that we always guess the water's mind correctly, but it is nice to pick up a knot or a half if we can. The trick is to decipher the weather forecast to predict what the wind might do. Having a sleep-in to catch a favorable afternoon tide might backfire if the wind picks up. Nothing like paddling a loaded boat into 15 knots of wind to kick your butt in a hurry!

Some mornings, like the one we crossed Chatham Strait, dodging the wind might mean waking at 5am to be paddling by 6:30. Most days we're awake around 6am. One of us will retrieve the food bags (hung out of the reach of Yogi Bear), set up the kitchen, pitch the megamid if its raining, and cook brekkie. The other will pack up the tent and related gear, and do dishes. Once camp is packed and our engines are fueled with farina or oatmeal we schlep all our gear and boats to the water's edge. This is trickier than it sounds since the water's edge is always moving. Its a bit of a bummer to spend 15 minutes loading your boat only to find it left high and dry by a falling tide.
After a brief warmup stretch its into the boats to paddle away the day. Breaks are determined by out hydration level and its a common occurrence to sprint to the beach for a snack and a much needed pee. Around 3 to 5pm we start looking for a nice steep pebble beach to camp on, we reverse the morning routine, have time for a swim, walkabout, or just dinner than bed. We usually cover about 15-17 miles a day.



Anonymous said...

Hello Becky and Nick!
I rediscovered your blog, which has made me very happy. Your trip sounds amazing and magical. I love reading about you soaking your bones in hot springs and seeing sea monster whale apparitions. It sounds like you are both doing well and are enjoying the adventure. I am having a fun, relaxing summer at Rainier, and am currently on a fire assignment with Glenn. We are both amazed by how tired we are after doing nothing all day! It must be the heat. Anyway, I'm sending you both big hugs, and can't wait to hear more stories.


Admiral Murphy said...

Nice job you nuts.
But dont give too much away in this blog, I need those stories to keep me awake when we fly together this coming season.


Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,
Sounds like so much fun. I'm living vicariously through you. I'll keep checking back.
Steph Sprague

terry said...

Good to catch up on the wonderful adventures you two! keeps me motivated thinking what sort of silliness I'll be up to next. so nice to hear stories of real whales . . instead of all the ones i and the nurses 'metaphorically' talk about at work.
nick, spent a quite a bit of last month in CA . . dodd, wiggit and tilly pass on a hello as do the Tahoe crew!
buen viaje,

Glenn Kessler said...

N & B,
Thanks for keeping us updated. It all sounds quite magical except for the rain and wind and bugs and dehydration and alpine starts and . . . well thats enough.

I believe we all would love to be there with you and hopefully that will happen soon.

In the meantime, regards from your FAA examiner, Mike Everett. I've been doing about three hours of low-level recons a day over the Columbia and Spokane Rivers with Mike looking for fires. Yes, a fire assignment boondoggle. Mike sends his best.

Jamie and Brayden said...

Hey you guys!
Your blog is really amazing! You have got to be one of the coolest couples I have ever met and I am really looking forward to keeping track of your adventures on here =). I was so good to talk to you Bec and I can't wait to hear about the next exciting thing. We love and miss you and are thinking about you often.


Jamie and Brayden