Thursday, May 30, 2013

back from holgate and another year older!!

 bob's birthday is tomorrow so we celebrated together with this lovely spring paddle!!  we did have one day of rain, but sunshine otherwise.  guess it's been in the 70's in anchorage which is a heat wave for us.  hit 75 today.  my dogs were not happy.  i think they are tired from being away from home. manny and blossom play so she needs a day to chill.
i had a great birthday and another wonderful paddle with friends!  it had been too long since we were all paddling in front of a glacier and it's just such a great feeling out there.  the ice, the calvings, the sounds of all that ice shifting inside the glacier.  hard to tell how far it's receded.  i've been looking at old photo's today and they advance and recede. we all had a tough time remembering 10 years ago but we do remember quinton climbing a big rock that seemed to be right in front of ice that we were climbing around on.  we thought we found the rock, but that part of the glacier is far back now.  
 scott had forgotten his camera, among a few other things.  he couldn't find his list.  anyway.  so these next few are taken with my spare camera that he carried on his kayak.  our first paddle was when we both worked in ketchikan and we had made a deal to take pictures of each other out there.  well, lets just say i took several of him and now his wife is always reminding him to get photo's of me out's the running joke we all have.  our first paddle trip was probably back in '96 and it was to misty fjords...not a bad place to paddle.  we all discussed returning to that area for a paddle next year.  already have 6 of us for that trek just in these early stages. we will for sure do a guided trek.  last time we paddled walker cover, it will probably be rudyard bay this time.
 anyway...these are from day two as i didn't realize he'd forgotten his camera until that first night.  this is maddie, who is almost 10 years old.  she seemed pretty happy with her paddling partner...a sunburst sea star.  she was a bit less happy later on this second day as the rain began and didn't stop that night.  paddling will keep you warm and honestly when it's raining it's often better to just be out on the water.  not great for photo ops, but you are warmer.  maddie paddles, but it's not the level of paddling that will keep you warm . we'd hoped to get into pederson bay, where maddie was "babtized" while in the womb (tanya and bob flipped their kayak in there when tanya was 8 months preggers and out paddling).  anyway, we went in there but it was too raining to attempt lunch.  last time was warm and sunny.
 we battled the strong current going into pederson bay to get out and headed back to holgate.  we stopped despite the rain out of concern that little maddie may be getting too chilled.  those are perfect days for someone to get hypothermic.  we explained hypothermia to maddie and that night she was saying she had been hypothermic...a new word for her.  i am happy we stopped and heated up soup and prevented that from happening. people can do silly things when they get hypothermic.
remember a paddler out in ketchikan was hypothermic and in that state he convinced himself he would make a long crossing much quicker if he got out of his kayak and swam to shore...he died.  the cold waters of alaska are not to be taken lightly nor is the weather.
 all was well and we had a heated cabin to return to.  scotts friend george was a bit weary after battling the current in pederson so i think the break was good for him. fighting a current is not an ideal way to paddle.  always good to have a reminder of the power of nature and what not to do or what to do better next time.
 we passed this big iceberg before we took that break and i just had to have a shot in front of it.
 this is me in front of holgate glacier.  i'm still not done going through all my pictures.   figured i'd start with the little camera's then work my way up to the nicer photos.  we saw all sorts of creatures on the water taxi to/from holgate/aialik.  we also saw many on our paddles. haven't seen them all to see what came out but hopefully i'll have some cool stuff to share.
 have a few nights of work tomorrow and friday and then i should be able to post more.  so this is just a sample taken through scott's eyes.
 this is a black bear that was cruising out there as we paddled past.  i had my zoom on him so we shall see...scott did pretty good with my little powershot.
 you are probably sick of seeing shots of to actually have a few of myself.  i'm usually taking shots of other people.
 there were 6 of us and plenty of gear and food to survive out there for weeks no doubt.  the cabin was warm and cozy.  it was the first cabin i've been in that didn't have a wood burning stove but instead had a propane heat source.  i know i was here 10 years ago, but the odd thing of that was that we all slept in tents around the area (we weren't supposed to tent there apparently) and the only one who stayed in the cabin was clint, our cabin cook as it turns out.  we ate really fabulous that week i must say!  he planned the meals and shopped at costco.  none of us could really even recall being in the cabin for any extended time.  just looked, i took zero photo's of that cabin first time out.  we had great weather, perhaps if it had rained and been miserable i would have spend more time in there.
 the area in front of the cabin have eroded a great deal.  we'd been dropped right at the base of the area where the cabin was and we formed a chain going up the small cliff to the top, no way to do that now.  we got dropped at the other end of the beach and had to haul stuff further.
 bob gets maddie in close to a waterfall...she's covered her head with her hat.  below scott takes a picture of he and i.
 me, happy that the weather improved on day one.  when we left seward it was foggy.
 back to pictures by me...
 we met up at bob and tanya's to load kayak's. we had to take my yakima off as on the return trip my car was going to need to carry two kayaks and 3 people.  on the way out i had maddie to select music and keep me entertained.  we did a lot of singing on the two hour drive to seward. above left is bob tying up kayak, tanya and scott in the middle and george to the right.  maddie is already in my passenger seat, excited to go.
 i brought along a bag that i called, "maddies bag of fun".  i think that worked out well.  if she seemed bored during our time out there i would reach into her bag of fun and pull something out.  she seemed to enjoy it.  bubbles, nail polish, games, cards, playdoh...all simple, but enough to keep her entertained over the long weekend. above is on the way to seward along the turnigan arm.
 several paddle boarders out there and the regular hooligan fishers.
 sunny day in seward as we located our B&B and got settled in.
 as you can see the fog began to decend that first night.  our ride out we didn't have too much scenery per se, but we did see several whales and the sea lions as usual.
 our B&B was called SOO's and was well set up for our stay. the lady that owns it was very nice and she said her son designed it for her.  it's on the market if you are interested in relocating to seward and running a B&B. would love to see what her gardens look like when the flowers are all out.  i did love all the cairns around the place.  that first shot of us with our cars at bob and tanya's place you should note that all the trees are leafless.  when we drove home last night all had changed and summer had come to the place.  it's pretty amazing up's like all the trees and plants communicate and they all turn green in seemingly a matter of hours. we also noted that in that above shot there were no mosquito's to deal with.  when we returned last night and were trying to unload kayaks i was getting nailed by mosquito's repeatedly.  i'm not a fan of mosquito's but i do love the green!!
 fog in the harbor.  we loaded up quickly. we were on this lovely boat, "the fairweather or knot".  they were very helpful and super nice.  it was us, day paddlers, and a few single kayakers going out solo being dropped out there.  takes a while to load all that gear and keep it organized as to where the various drop offs are.
 it was early...too early for me, but i woke up first i think.  hit the shower one last time and the store for ice and a few items that i didn't think to tp. i always have my own tp kit, but it totally slipped my mind.  can't go camping without that!!  the cabin has an outhouse of sorts.  it seems more and more they are switching from outhouse form to a crap and carry form.  you have human waste bags and you pack it out.  less  maintiennce for them i guess.
 a happy scott above and below is tanya, myself and george snuck in there as well.
 the fog didn't seem to be lifting.
 we enjoyed what scenery we had and the calm seas are always welcomed.
 we shall see if any of my humpback shots came out.  seems like those sea creatures always slip back into the sea before you can get that great shot.
 all our stuff unloaded on the the work begins.  we were itching to paddle and i was convinced that the fog was going to lift earlier than later.  one of the solo paddlers dropped off with us on our beach and i should have bet him cause he was skeptical and i was cleared soon after we got on the water!
 our boat heads off to aialik with the day paddlers.
 it was a bit of a trek to the cabin and so it was decided to use the kayaks to shuttle the big stuff over and we'd tote the little stuff.  this worked quite well, the kayaks would then be located closer to the cabin making them easier to pack up.  i paddled one over.  you can see a sliver of the glacier on the left below.
 more glacier begins to appear.
 it was decided to basically dump our stuff in the cabin and load the kayaks for a paddle to the glacier.
 maddie wanted to select beds though...always critical for a kid.
 more glacier....we left seward by 8 am i think and were put on beach around noon. probably underway paddling by 2pm...
 all the crap on the deck.
 this is post paddle i believe...too sunny to be before we left.
 i'm still debating a run to the grocery store. i have nothing.  gotta pay bills and fill the tank with gas.  i think scott had a gi bug that first night and i'm thinking i had a bit of that yesterday and today.  was nauseated all day yesterday before i ever hit the boats.  i paddled anyway and never puked on the water taxi out.  i'm finally feeling hungry and i have nothing much to eat here.  i've had a few eggs, some rice and in a moment of weakness a hotdog.
 trying to catch up on stuff.  dishes, laundry, cat litter, had to pick up rio.  the dogs are always a bit needy right when i get back.  we did two short walks...too hot for both of them.  the dogs are sacked out and i'm sure happy to be back to their routine.
 that first paddle was sweet!  nice calm waters.  blue skies!!  we saw some great calvings as well.
 our little home away from home.
 scott in his red kayak and me in bobs kayak.  they jsut got a used double so he could ride with maddie now.    that meant i could use their extra single!!  thanks bob and tanya!!
 great reflections off the water.
 loads of waterfalls everywhere.  the melt is happening pretty fast with this heat.  there is still a lot of snow out there though.
 self portrait
 we made our way into the ice...
 mostly little bergy bits but there were some good sized chunks out there as well.  the rule is stay away from anything refrigerator sized.  what you see above water can be a small fraction of what lies beneath.  they can flip over from wave action or big calvings and when they flip if you are near you could be flipped along with them.
 a few tour boats were out there. i think word spread of the sunshine.  the boats do give some perspective as to size of the glacier.
 we were all smiles out there for sure...good thing as i suspect our little boats made it onto a few tourists photo's.
 holgate, seems most of the ice bergs were to the left side.  probably tide related.  the ice got pretty thick when we attempted to head to that side.  we did cross over on our third paddle, day three and were able to get through then.
 when it gets warm out there i generally will let my hands chill in the water to cool off.  yesterday i was scooping the cold water up and sprinking it over my head to cool off.
 we all picked up some bergy bits and tossed them on our kayaks to take back to camp.   often it's used for mixed glacier drinks.  we had ice cream to make too.
 loved the reflections of the glacier on the water.
 it's a great feeling cruising through all that ice.
 maddie seems to be enjoying new kayak!!
well, i think i should crash. still more pictures to look through and i gotta eat something and pay some bills.  i suspect the groceries will wait til tomorrow. it was too hot to leave the dogs in the car.  that really doesn't happen here too often.  cars get hot fast though.  that will have to hold you til i get off my two nights work i guess.  enjoy!!  more to come!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so jealous. Hard to believe Tanya was 8 months pregnant the last time we made it out there.