Monday, February 2, 2009

from myspace...shuyak island trek

Saturday, June 28, 2008
trapped in shuyakCurrent mood: blissful
i'm back from my trip to shuyak and dutch harbor early....that is because we got weathered into shuyak and missed our ferry! we still had a great trip despite the change in adventures. sandra and i flew into kodiak on the 21st and cruised around the city we could walk to. a few museums and such. it's not a really quaint town...more of a functional town. the scenery was very beautiful though. kind of like whittier. a not so pretty city in an amazingly beautiful surrounding. sandra likes to read all the signs in musuems while i tend to just cruise through exhibits. of course, at one of the places we went to i discovered she had fallen asleep during the video they had her watch. i heard the remote hit the floor. we laughed all week that she paid 5 bucks to take a nap. we packed and repacked so we could leave a bag at the hotel to pick up when we got back from shuyak. sandra, meghan and i were to catch the first float plane out to shuyak so that meant a very early start for us. bob and tanya came in late via the ferry from homer and meghan slipped in at 7 am. went right from main airport to the float plane. ride was pretty nice out from kodiak to shuyak. sad to fly over afognak island and see all the clear cutting. it is native owned and they aren't required to abide by the same rules as the other loggers are. just sickens you to see all the clear cut and know there is a better way...shuyak island is owned by the state and is a state park. we dumped our stuff on the beach at our cabin after some hard banks in that little plane to locate the cabin....the pilot wanted us to look for it, but at that angle if i looked down i would just puke on the window! i'm not too keen on planes doing rolls like that. :-) . our pilot was pretty young looking. not your typical alaskan pilot looking guy. supposed to be some "hotty" but he really didn't do much for any of us...especially after he farted! we got landed safe and then he skirted us across big bay to the rangers cabin to collect the kayaks. the water was nice and calm. we met the ranger and checked out the nice digs there. nice set up for the ranger. took us a bit to get the kayaks all sorted out, but they were in decent shape. meghan and i doubled for the ride over to the salmon cove cabin. we dragged one single and so did sandra. it was meghans first paddle really...she had taken a class the day before we left on a lake in palmer. we wanted to get back to the beach before a kodiak bear ate our stuff or the tide came up and washed it away. it took us about 45 minutes to paddle across the bay. just as we dragged the kayaks up the beach and started moving our gear to the cabin the float plane arrived with bob, tanya and the 5 year old maddie. she was beaming after her first float plane ride.....!
we settled the gear in to the cabin and took off for a paddle. bob, tanya and maddie ended up taking the double so maddie could sit with her dad. she called us the 3 blueberry boats as the singles were all blue. it rained a bit on our first paddle but it was still decent water and we enjoyed the day. we saw many otters floating around in the bay so that was really fun. otters are just so cute.
we cruised our beach and enjoyed the sunshine that came and went late into the day. there was an oyster the one end of the beach and he was doing the whole "i'm hurt...come follow me" routine to get us away from a nest no doubt. it was hysterical to watch his act! there were several loons in the bay and eagles as well. bob and tanya made the first group meal of shrimp and rice. tasty. the cabin wasn't large, but it was cozy. 4 large bunks to sleep on, a wood burning stove, propane lights and stove. the wood was cut for us and there was a shed with more wood so we got the fire going.
next days paddle was our longer paddle. we cruised to the left or our cabin and eventually headed to nekita bay. there is a hump that you have to portage the kayaks over and when we got there it was super low tide, so we decided to hike to the nekita cabin less than 2 miles away and have lunch and hope the tide would be in a bit before we returned so we didn't have to portage as far. the rain forest walk was beautiful. there are mosses and bear bread fungi all over. just various shades of green where ever you looked. the ground was soft and spongy. bob kept maddie walking by spinning a tale. after we returned we began kayaking on the flat water of nekita bay. this took us out to the big water. the skies continued to clear and it was just amazing out. we decided to just go ahead and head to the outer waters and make a big loop around back into big bay. when we turned onto the big water of the ocean we could see for miles. it was an awesome site. we could see the whole katmai range and some volcano's. several seals began popping up around us. there were several bird rookeries. birds were flying everywhere of every sort. some puffins zipped past us....they are the cutest little birds. lots of gulls, pigeon gullieants? a few cormorants. it was just a fabulous day to paddle. it doesn't get any better than that. we circled back into big bay and stopped by the rangers so bob and tanya could say hi. the ranger, jason, was really nice and his two volunteers, jon and jim were also fun to chat with.
we paddled back to our little cove and made a nice fire on the beach for marshmallow roasting. we tasted s'mores made with reese's peanut butter cups and had some discussion about which way was better with the reese's or with the hersheys. i prefer the hersheys as the reeses don't melt as well and the coverage ratio of chocolate to grahm cracker is deficient. the light is out so late it's easy to forget how late it actually is.
the next day we paddled out in another direction not clear as to the plan, but the wind was picking up a bit and so we ended up on a shortened paddle. we did see a very large kodiak bear on the beach near our cabin. he was just cruising the beach. looked pretty impressive. after he spotted us he headed off into the woods. that afternoon we packed our gear and took it down to the beach as our pick up was scheduled for that evening. our little salmon cove cabin view looked like great water for our kayak taxi back to the rangers station. so we tied the kayaks up and headed across the bay....this quickly turned dangerous as the wind picked up and those empty kayaks we were dragging we too light and flipping all over behind us. i feared they would flip over with teh waves, fill with water and then become a sort of anchor for us. we were all very nervous....well scared crossing over there and we got to far from sandra which made her even more scared. if any of us tipped there was little the other could do to try and rescue the others. then to make matters worse we hit some crazy rip currents on the other side as we tried to enter the bay the rangers were in. it was terrifying. the gods were with us and we did manage to get safely to shore at the rangers place and tie up the boats. we went to the rangers place to warm up and wait for the float plane. the plane never came. the fog dropped lower and lower and lower with each passed hour. as we waited we had figured out that not only did me and meghan know the card game did the ranger, jason. we got several decks of cards together and settled in for a game. at one point the plane flew over head and left. there would be no pick up tonight. as the crew warmed to us and realized there was no safe way for us to get back to our cabin that night they decided to break the rules and ferry us back in their little zodiak. thank god they did as the waves had gotten very large and it would have been deadly to attempt to paddle it for us. the ranger returned with the crew after he dropped us off so we could continue our nertz game and enjoy a box of wine. we must have played nertz for like 4-5 hours that night. there was much laughter and competition. i think they left close to midnight before it got dark. the next day the fog and wind were no better and actually much worse....
we called over to big bay on the radio and got the bad news that nothing was flying, even in kodiak. jason said they were going to hike to the other cabin, deer haven, that afternoon so if it didn't look any better we could join them for that. when there was no hope in catching our ferry the boys showed up and we all took off for deer haven cabin. it's a 2.8 mile walk to that cabin from ours. we had no idea how bad the wind was til we got there. the rain did increase as we walked. it was a really pretty walk and we saw a deer too which was nice. the wind was howling at carry inlet where this other cabin is. it was pretty clear at this point that there was a major storm going on and that even if we'd gotten to the ferry, we would have been in for a really rough crossing. this ferry route is nicknamed "the vomit rocket" so that would have been pleasant. we were bummed and concerned though as our friend, julie, was scheduled to meet us in kodiak that day for the ferry run. still have no idea if she made it on the boat or if weather had prevented her from getting into kodiak. i haven't been able to reach her so i assume she's there now. anyway..once at the other cabin tanya and i took a windy walk on the beach while the others played pinnocle in the cabin and warmed by the fire. we found sand dollars on the beach so that got us to walk the entire beach. we found several more shells which was really fun.
the next day continued rained like crazy all night. the wind and fog also stayed with us. we found ways to entertain ourselves and maddie in teh cabin or went for walks. of course, each am we thought perhaps we'd get a pick up. the plane did fly by thursday morning at some point but it was too windy and foggy for him to attempt to come in. we took a walk down the beach and did find some of the bear tracks from the bear we'd seen on tuesday and we walked the other way to check on our oyster catcher friend often. we'd found the baby they were protecting. i know it was cruel to bother them, but it was just so fun to watch those birds act. i mean it's pretty smart little trick. i know tanya was fooled a few times into believing that bird was actually hurt. one one of those beach walks we saw a sea lion out in the bay....probably taking a break from the rough water. we rationed our food and carried/heated water for showers in the little shower room they have outside the cabin. it was chilly with the wind and rain, but great to feel clean. the rangers made us brownies on thursday and stopped by with mac n cheese to prevent us from getting too hungry. of course, they brought thier decks of cards so another wild game of nertz was played. bob and tanya were getting concered as thier ferry was set to leave kodiak for homer on friday and missing that would bite as their car was in kodiak. we settled in for another night, sang the old lawrence welk good night song for maddie and hoped the weather would clear. the first to rise checked looked promising. there was sun and calm water. we optimistically decided to pack up. i wanted to pack as early as i could so i would be able to enjoy the last hours there with the sun out. there were geese on teh water and it was just so peaceful as i stood at the waters edge. shuyak truely is an amazingly beautiful place. so remote and so untouched in many ways. we were all excited when we heard the distant sound of a planes engine. it was willy with the beaver so we could all just load up together. we made a call over to the rangers to say goodbye and took off from the bay. i think willy felt badly for us as he gave us a nice tour of the area en route to kodiak.
the rush of being back in civilization began soon after the plane landed on the lake in kodiak....we had to check on hotels reservations we'd missed and the ferry and then attempt to get flights out of kodiak to anchorage. i got scheduled on the 8:30 flight,but was able to jump on the 2:30 flight stand i was home by around 5pm....always so strange of a transistion after being away from all. no cells, no contact with the outside world.
even though the trip didn't go as planned we had a great time. everyone remained positive and easy going and we all got along great. the rangers out there were very sweet and acommadating. we will get a care package off to them soon in thanks.
it was nice to sleep in my soft bed last night and the dogs totally missed me. i guess rio had the runs after jolene took over....i think jolene jsut didn't get them out enough or spend enough time and rio went freaker on her. they were alive and well overall so that is fine and rio seems prettynormal now. she's on me like glue as she does whenever i leave her.
i didn't realize that by moving my pictues from the little card to the computer i take them off the card so now i hope the cd's i attempted to burn will work so i can take that to costco.....computers can sure baffle me at times!!
well....enough said i guess, i'm off to bed

No comments:

Post a Comment