Sunday, July 31, 2011

through south inian passage to shaw island in idaho inlet

after a tasty breakfast cooked, served and cleaned up by our guides...loved that...we got off to the inian passage. these are a few pictures of me taken by valerie morris...thank you val! below i was doing sand angels!

the inian passage is apparently a pretty challenging area for paddling. i think i was so overwhelmed by the abundance of wildlife we saw that i didn't notice how fast our boats were being taken by the currents and tides. our guides were pretty serious and asked us to keep paddling despite our desire to settle in kelp and get out our cameras. luckily val snuck hers out a couple times. if you make an error in this passage it is pretty nearly impossible to correct it. strong eddies and currents will take you far off course quickly and paddling against that powerful current would wear you out very quickly. i could see the need to get through this in a timely fashion.

while we were in the inians again we ran into all those sea lions we'd seen the day before playing in the currents. i guess that passage can get some impressive wave action as well. lucky for us it was pretty calm despite the speed of the current. if you missed the tide though at that speed paddling would be hell. i thought halibut cove and china boot seemed challenging..ain't got nothing on this place.

after we paddled through we made our way to shaw island for a lunch break before crossing idaho inlet to find our next camp for the night. above is scott on shaw island.

another fine meal prepared by the guides. tanya, sandra and val partake.

we kept expecting the weather to make a turn for the worse and it kept surprising us.

enjoyed taking some fun kayak/scenery pictures.

didn't wake up early enough today to join gail on cross pass. just keep staying up late and just couldn't get myself moving. did walk both dogs in the bog, no bear sightings and then went ahead and headed to girdwood. missed the hike but it still seemed like a good idea to be on the road. took both dogs though and we hiked the other, non hotel, end of winner creek. it was just a mile to the hand tram so we went to that point and turned around. not taking a blind dog on a hand tram over a very fast running creek. ran into several folks from work. always fun. girdwood is a popular weekend getaway from anchorage, summer or winter.

those sponges became a topic of conversation. here you would just use them to sop out your boat if there was just a bit of water. when scott and i did our first paddle trip out in misty fjords in ketchikan we were instructed that we may need to use the sponges to pee in in our little kayaks. really don't think i could manuever myself out of all those clothes in order to pee in a sponge in a kayak. in misty fjords the mountains go straight up from the water and there is often very few places one could actually pull a kayak for such things.

camping and bathroom details are never a favorite. one does what one must in order to be out in this amazing wilderness though. we nicknamed the one beach that we hiked to "turd beach" as it was designated our restroom. one wonderful aspect of using the beach is that we often could see whales swimming about as we utilized the facilities. we decided we should all get t-shirts made that said, "i took a dump with a hump". potty humor happens on all camping least all of the ones i go on. hehe.

yes, no outhouses to be found. our last camp actually had a pit toilet which seemed a luxury.

but lets not digress from the beauty of the day!

my strawberries and rasberries are starting to ripen. if i can get to them before the birds and moose do i'll be happy. the rasberries go crazy here, actually, i didn't plant these, they grew over from my neighbors. no berries on our paddle, but they seemed to have an unending supply of apples.oranges and cheese. lunch that day i think also had this salad made with smoked halibut, apples, peppers and a little mayo i think. we all loved the smoked salmon and got tanya to purchase us all some in gustavus as they stayed most of tuesday.

mine is in the freezer. need to get it out and use it. tanya brought me a nice salmon too. they went dipnetting i think last week. people love thier salmon up here. we were memorizing the different types of salmon and thier various names. king is also called chinook, red is known as sockeye, pinks are humpbacks, silvers-coho's, chums are also known as dog salmon. with sandra along this became a game...king starts with k, chinook ends in k. if you get socked in the eye it turns red,, i won't go there, it's a public blog. wouln't give your ho gold. dogs are my chums, or chum/thumb.

embarrassed to say i haven't fished myself since i moved from ketchikan. it was just so much easier, cheaper in ketchikan. everyone had boats, you just went, no crowds, no hassle. up here they have alot of what they call combat fishing. you are out there with so many people and tourists. just not as relaxing in my mind. as my friend kelly says, it's often cheaper to just go to new saguya and buy the fish you want to eat that night.

we did see lots of fish out there jumping. when we didn't see any humpbacks breaching we saw salmon breaching, sea lions breaching and even herring breaching.

got loads of pictures of sandra. these were always taken upside down and over my head so sandra would just direct me til i got it lined up...then snap.

these are just of us getting started on that first longer paddle through inian.

the guides ended up in a kayak together. so that is adam and monica there.

water was flat and calm, just how i like it!

settled in tonight and watched "JFK". it's a long movie and i'd never seen it before. i saw the one "bobby". i knew there were several conspiracy theories about jfk and when i was in dallas once my brothers took me to where he was killed. there were people with tables set up still talking about the conspiracy theories. i think i may have fell asleep a few times, but not too long. overall it was interesting and good. jsut saw the bones episode about that as well so kinda funny to see them both over the same weekend. hard to imagine that many people being involved in this conspiracy and it never coming to light, but sadly, it's not hard to imagine the government being involved. the records don't get unsealed until like 2029 or something, of course, records are often doctored anyway. doubt that will clear anything up.

not a day of dilly dallying, but we managed to get some in anyway.

erica and alex decided they were ready to ride together.

bob and tanya wait with us while everyone gets loaded and on the water.

did enjoy camping on george island, beautiful place.

all that gear has to go in those boats...that first load up is always a bit time consuming. after that it's more organized. sandra and i carried most of the food and our boat was probably the heaviest one out there. only the two blue boats had the center storage area.

a bit of the sea life before we left george island.

sea anenomie above, which apparently can live for decades, maybe more according to the national geographic i was reading on the plane out.

above is a chiton.

look like seals out there.

not sure what we are all looking at. val and scott and our guides monica and adam

these two pictures are from val's collection. thanks again val. there were actually 3 humpbacks cruising along pretty close to us as we paddled through south inian passage. they weren't actually all that close, but they look huge when you are on the water in a kayak. this was probably the closest we got to whales while on the water.

it was definitely sensory overload that day. along with these humpbacks we were surrounded by many sea lions as well.

back to my pictures...we also saw several seals and otters.

wish i could have just stopped and taken pictures, but we really had to be serious paddlers for these few hours. some memories will just have to live on in your mind.

suffice it to say that i'm extremely happy that we were able to add george island and the inian islands to our visit. it was definitely a highlight. all that wildlife in such a small area was a sensory feast for all.

hopefully, i can get my act together these next few days and enjoy some more alaskan scenery. everyone is predicting an early winter this year. the fireweed is crazy right now and fast approaching the tops. they bloom upwards and it's said that once the blooming hits the top you can expect winter in 6-8 weeks. or is it 6 or 8 weeks. can't remember...soon though. there are already some minor changes, some leaves have started giving it up.

it's 1am already so if i have any hope of waking up at a decent hour i'd best get to bed.

Friday, July 29, 2011

a day in and around george island

we spent quite a bit of time waiting for that second boat. we probably should have set up tents and all that. we just had no idea how long it would take. if that process would have been more efficient we may have done a trek over to elfin cove that afternoon. as it turns out, we just did an evening paddle around george island.
loved this picture above with the sea star. just thought it turned out cool.

we all enjoyed our day on george island though and were rewarded by a beautiful sunset. great way to start the trip. above monica, sandra, val, erica and alex.

the fairweather mountains came out to greet us. our guide was happy as she hadn't seen them since she had returned to do guide work. monica used to be a guide up here then she and her husband moved south, always hoping to get back. they came up for the month to do some guiding and enjoy the beauty of alaska. turns out she and our other guide adam just met for our trip. they seemed like they'd known each other a long time really. he came up from sitka i believe just to take our trip out. i think since we were adding the inians they wanted some guides with experience there. they both turned out to be great guides. hopefully, they had a fun time hanging with all of us.

the fairweather range is up in glacier bay national park. from thier name one assumes they don't make appearances all that frequently.

so we considered ourselves quite lucky.

have had headaches this week. hopefully, i'm on the end of that cycle. so annoying. have a few hikes i'd like to take this stretch off and maybe hit seward for a day trip. my swimming gets neglected in the summer months. would rather be out for longer hikes. had every intention of swimming today, but then it just got too late. the sun was out though and i quite enjoyed spending some time in the backyard just chilling and reading. haven't done much of that this summer.

will have quite a few pictures to post when i'm caught up with these, but it's fun to prolong my vacation by posting all the pictures. besides, i'm putting off getting the office and spare room put back together. once the closet organizers are in though i'll have fewer excuses.

read this article in readers digest. finally just got that as i do enjoy reading those on occasion, this is the first time i actually got a subscription though. thought i did good on the vocabulary thing this month, but i still was highest of the low. oh well. anyway, this kid has a rare genetic disorder, ccms (cerbro-costo-madibular syndrome). she is on a trach and has never left the hospital. she is four. plenty of kids live in homes with trach's so i'm not totally sure why her family is unable to take her home.

many kids spend thier first months/years in hospitals around our nation. i really had no idea that this happened until i started working pediatrics. eventually, they outgrow the neonate units and get transferred to the pediatric units. it's another one of those moral/ethical issues for me. are we doing the best by these kids. would they be better of living shorter lives, but being in a home environment rather than in a hospital? they are hoping for a pediatric long term care position to open closer to their home so she can move there and they can visit more often. i guess i just kept wondering why they don't just learn how to take care of the trach and bring her home?

for some odd reason i had a burning desire to go to target tonight. i rarely go there and i didn't really need anything. strange...that never happens. oh well. bought some of those tasty chocolate covered macadamia nuts. nummy!!

there was a large piece of driftwood on the beach on george island. took some macro's of the cool designs in the wood. some other blog i read mentioned this wood i believe as well. wishing they could bring it home and make a coffee table out of it. happy they weren't able to.

it really is beautiful.

the rocks on the beach were very cool looking as well. especially as the tide went out. the wet rocks were speckled.

this one loaded sideways...oh well. you get the idea anyway.

more of the big driftwood

tanya and i took a walk partway to the old gun and then after we circled the islands on kayaks the whole group did while the guides cooked dinner. i think the guides were a bit nervous to send us on our own, it's not that big of an island and we are pretty capable and cautious.

always great to be back in rainforest land.

loved the colour of the water in this little pool at high tide.

there were some old remnants of buildings. not sure what thier purpose was in thier time.

it was a leisurely day, i think we all enjoyed the sights and scenery.

the other picture i took of that sea star in the water.

the clouds were pretty cool that night as well.

here is the big gun, though, now i'm remembering a picture i took that i'm not sure where it went...hmm. they are all divided into several files. trying to sort out two cameras and several different memory cards. gets confusing.

it may have not turned out and gotten deleted too.

we all stopped for a photo op at this point. the sun was shining so hard to get the scenery in the background without losing our faces. just had them get me on this one.

that is part of the scenery we were looking over.

here is that big driftwood again. focal point on the beach.

we wandered around our little cove in our kayaks after we circled the island. loved the colours on this rock. i'm sure they told me what caused it, but i'm not very good at remembering details. looked cool though i thought.

everyone is out for our first paddle. we put our lesser experienced paddlers with the guides and with scott to help them get confidence in the kayaks. it's pretty easy to learn to least the basics. good though to split up a bit that maiden voyage.

sandra and i paddled together. that first day i took the back seat, but we switched the next day and stayed that way the whole week. sandra is a bit shorter than i am and the front seat of the kayak is a bit of a stretch to get to your deckbag. worked out fine for me. i got myself some longer arms. it is hard for experienced paddlers to give up the steering portion of the boat. i'm sure i was a terrible paddle partner at times trying to get her to steer where i wanted her to steer.

i decided too that experienced paddlers are often terrible at getting cadence. we have our own ways and rhythms and it's tough to try and match a partner when you've done your own for years. when i looked around it seems nobody had decent cadence.

so here is sandra in front on that first day.

more of the gunner in black and white.

don't think the guys that manned these all those years ago ever saw any of the enemy, but i'm guessing they saw some whales out there.

i'd take whales over warships anyday.

i don't think drug addicts make stellar parents. often i tell people i have no desire to work mother-baby, one of the main reasons why is that some of these people are so obviously going to screw up that sweet innocent baby they had and i just would have a difficult time handing them thier child knowing how horrible that childs life will probably be.

that makes me incredibly judgemental i'm sure in many eyes. often you just can't tell how people really will be. people that seem like wonderful parents have been known to do horrible things. we can't prevent all the ills that happen to kids.

in my mind though if you come in and deliver a drug addicted baby you have already shown yourself to be unfit. now it all gets grey, i mean we could say if you drank or smoked in your pregnancy you are unfit, then it becomes at what point is a fetus a human life and therefore when do your actions constitute harm to a human. very confusing and complicated.

it just seems that the system errs on the side of the unfit parent and then by the time the system finally figures out they bite as parents the poor kid is too old and messed up already. my opinion then is that if you come in with a drug addicted baby, you have already proven yourself unfit and your parental rights should just be terminated. you are free to go get treatment and get preggers again if this is what you desire, but for this have blown it. i just have zero tolerance.

part of my lack of tolerance i believe stems from the fact that, though i think i would have been a decent parent, i have chosen to be careful and not have an unplanned pregnancy. i have chosen to not become a single mom. parenting is just something i believe people shouldn't fall into, it's something people should plan for and take very seriously. it's a long and toilsome commitment. there are rewards, but there will also be some very difficult and stressful days in there. i've heard neighbors all around me lose it with the kids i know they love. i've had moments myself where i have screamed at the dogs and then caught myself and realized what an jerk i've just been. those are just dogs. i have a great deal of respect and appreciation for those who become parents and take the role seriously. for those who don't, i have distain and disrespect. the older i get the more i think that those with the patience and ability to be great parents should have many kids while others should just skip the whole thing altogether. not everyone needs to breed. i feel the same about dogs and cats by the way. breeding is not required. you can live a full and happy life without children. think long and hard and then make the choice that you can live with.

wish that more people who are able to carry a baby, but would make terrible parents would just step up and admit it right off and give that baby a chance to flourish in an adoptive home. there are plenty of good parents out there awaiting that gift. sadly, most drug addicts are unable to process this and tend to be a bit self serving. those that make the right choice for the baby they have born get my respect. it can't be an easy decision and it's gotta be a terrible thing to be confronted with your weaknesses, but it's gotta feel better down the road to know you did right by the baby and put your own needs and wants second. i'd say that probably is a sign that you are stronger and more capable than you know and hopefully you can use that to bring yourself up and move forward.

guess i will get off that soapbox.

as we paddled that first day we could see across to glacier bay and i believe this must be brady glacier from my alaskan atlas map.

always love an arch. one of our guides, adam, attempted to go through but decided the currents were a bit rough and there were some random rocks poking out in the wrong spots. we all went around.

a cormorant on a rock.

back in our little cove.

always love reflections and using the kayaks in photo's.

home for one night. the tents were a bit odd to set up that first night, but we got the hang of it. my tent mate and i scored extra pads so we slept in comfort. still not sure how it was decided who tented with whom, but we were all so tired each night we just crashed.