chatted with rudy for a bit. always a pleasure. he has been very sweet since my mom passed. i think we both just miss her. he sent me a pretty boquet of tulips and spring flowers the other day. they are in bloom now. just beautiful. also tried to call my friend martha. usually when she doesn't pick up it's because she isn't feeling well. well...guess i'll see what else is on the old myspace. i'm still mixed. it was fun on there that i could see how often the blog was checked out. with this one i can't tell and don't know how you would even search it out.
kayaking harriman fjord, prince william sound... Current mood: creative
there were 12 of us on this trek and so we had split up on the water taxi....i was so happy i was able to catch the second boat run out...i guess the first group got pretty beat up by the weather, it was calming by the time the second run got dropped off. we took this trip in 2004. i was really excited as my good friend kelly decided to join me in the double kayak. we had been walking pals since i arrived in anchorage. we met at work, she was my preceptor for orientation to the icu. soon after that trip she was leaving with her husband, jon, for school in minnesota. luckily they are back now, but it was a drag to lose one of my favorite people, even though i knew it was a great thing for her. so it was especially cool that we could have this time to hang out before they left. i think we had 4 double kayaks on that trip. me and kelly, scott and his dad, christine and deb were in the second boat and we got dropped at a beach right out of the fjord. all the stuff on the beach finally fit into the kayaks. the fiberglass kayaks have less room for stuff, but are lighter. they are horrible for prince william sound...just not as hardy as the plastics.
the waterfalls and wildlife are always spectacular in prince william sound. the usual bald eagles in flight and seals. we always are anticipating the first icebergs...the water was flat and calm that first day as we paddled. we were to meet the other half of our group under toboggan glacier...each night we slept with a different glacier. the other six on the trip were ted and nancy, stephani, bob and tanya and john...a strange friend of ted and nancy's. on the boat trip out the water taxi guy from lazy otter, mike, told us this guy is well known in the water taxi world, never on time, never at the place he's supposed to be. he wanted to make sure we controlled him so he didn't have to deal with his antics.
with so many people we kind of did our own thing in camp...set up, meals, but we always got together for the campfire. we did get a fire going despite the rain of the morning. we were rewarded as the next day the sun beating through the tent woke kelly and i up. it was sunny weather the rest of the week. our goal paddle for the day was to get to harriman glacier. i know many of us like to get up and out on the water as soon as possible. for me, that is the most fun part. being out there on the water. ted and nancy are more into the food, relaxation and inbidement. :-) kelly and i found our backpackers meals a poor choice when we saw what they brought and ate. they eat like royalty out there. there wasn't a cloud out there and the water was flat. amazing paddling day. i think we all started on our sunburns that day. even though you wear hats, the sun reflects off the water and your lips and face take it in the shorts when you aren't paying attention. we always stop for a refreshing lunch on a beach that may come or go very quickly with the tides and you always have to watch your boats to make sure they don't get swept away with the rising tides. harriman is still a tidewater glacier. harriman fjord is a popular tour boat destination so we have to deal with the wake of these boats coming and going and also we get photographed by the tourists which is always a funny thing to me. you become part of the alaskan scenery. it was a beautiful place to camp. few bugs and nice wood. of course, the warm, sunny weather doesn't ever hurt!! it does get pretty cold when the sun dips below the mountains...the fire helps.
the next day we crossed in front of harriman glacier...we got to crash into all the glacier ice...always a blast!! it feels great on a hot day too to be in all that icy water. we lingered in front of the glacier before heading off to our next camping destination...surprise glacier. i love to hug the shore and see all the life at the edge. the water can be so clear you can see all the tidewater treasures as you look over the edge of the boat. looking up you can see nesting birds and of course the birds and wildlife is everywhere you look.
by afternoon we headed to the face of surprise glacier. lots of calving due to the warm weather. the wind blows more as you get closer to the face of the glacier. there were several seals hauled out on the ice in front of surprise. we were not in any hurry at all.
we finally arrived in our digs and settled in. the sounds of calving echo'd through the fjord and the mosquito's introduced themselves. i can't stand bugs!! if i had secret information the best way to retrieve it would be to put me in a room of flying mosquito's...i'd spill in short order. luckily, i think everyone brought mosquito hoods...a staple in alaska.
by the next morning it was apparent our faces were fried. we looked like bandits on ice the next day as we had to sheild our faces from further damage. we had a long paddle planned for that day to blackstone beach. it's on the other side of the 3 glaciers that come into the other end of the fjord from harriman. i remembered them as "brian"'s "cascade"ing "cox". those were the three...now you know how my brain works. the ice got thicker as we neared these glaciers...several sunny days make for alot of glacial calving. we passed a most spectacular water fall heading into these glaciers and we had to find our way safely through the ice pack. many larger bergs were seen and those are unsafe and to be avoided. the wind picked up a bit as we crossed over the fjord. before that though we stopped for a great lunch and hairwashing on another beach that had some great little waterfalls. showers for hot campers...though not warm at all!!
here is where it got scarey...the beach we were to land on was covered with large chunks of ice. crazy john had gotten there before us all and we have no idea how he made it to shore. as people landed they tried to clear a path through the ice..the glacier was totaly calving and this was causing wave action where normally none really is. kelly and i and tanya were the last ones out in the water. as tanya approached the beach the glacier before us decided to calve off almost the entire face...this creats an almost tidal wave...the boys on the beach screamed at tanya to get out in the more open water for safety. all we could do was get as far away from the larger chunks of ice, face the kayaks forward and pray we weren't killed by the boat tipping or ice bergs taking us out. they can flip and take a small kayak with them. we were all terrified out there. the waves came towards us...the waves were so huge that we could no longer see those huge glaciers in front of us. after the waves from this began to hit the beach they started to come at us from the sides as well as the front. it was terrifying and we were still going to have to get to shore somehow...the glacier kept calving and in a moment where the waves were diminishing we all made a run for shore. the guys got beat up by the ice helping us in, but we did all make it in. i think i was shaking for several hours after this. it was amazing to watch the face calving later from a safer spot and the waves hitting the beach after these calvings were well over 10 feet. these huge calvings continues for several hours. we watched in amazement from the safety of this big rock. the taxi was scheduled to come the next day and i was pretty elated that i may not have to get back in the kayak. we really weren't sure if the taxi could get to us though with all the ice in the area. we'd have to wait and see. once the sun settled the calving calmed and it was a lovely day overall, despite feeling like my life was in danger for that time. a few mixed drinks on glacier ice did wonders to relieve our frayed nerves.
we had lots of visits by these adorable marmots. of course, we had another campfire in the evening. we celebrated solstice!!we took goofy pictures in the morning on the huge icebergs that were dropped off by the outgoing tide on the beach. we again had to attempt to clear a path to get our stuff down to meet the boat we hoped would be able to pick us up.
we saw mike from lazy otter off in the distance. he had to go very slowly through the ice and it seemed to take forever for him to get to us. he did though and we tried to load the boat as quickly as possible....not quick enough though as again the sun was out and the glacier had yet another huge calving. scott, bob and those who were left on the beach stood in front of the boat in the waves physically trying to keep the boat from getting grounded on the beach by the enormous waves that were forcing it in. with thier aide we were able to get back out on the water. it was sad leaving them behind on the beach. we heard they did make it out when mike returned, but he was in such a hurry to get them off that beach he backed that boat right onto a huge rock. i know it did some major damage to his boat and i'm sure he was downing a few beers that night. alaska is always an adventure and danger always is there. we take risks and most of the time we come out alive. each year though people die up here. it only takes one mistake in alaska to meet your end...we still must face the danger for the beauty is too great to be missed.