Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Okay, I have not posted anything since before the trip to Harriman. We had an incredible time, I took lots of pictures, and lost the disc that had most of them on it. I have lots of great pictures of a sun dew plant we found, a burry eagle, a long-distance otter that swam by, and pretty much nothing else. We saw calving glaciers, seals both in the water and hauled out on ice, lots of otters, birds that flew over, posed, and even presented us with gifts (Sally got an eagle feather dropped on her), and I have NO pictures of these. Sally has lots of beautiful pictures so there are even some of me, but mine are lost (probably at the campsite in Harriman, the ONLY litter we left!).

For a Harebrained Adventure, we were surprisingly well prepare. I will credit much of this quality preparation to Sally as she was extremely methodical in her organizing. I went shopping with my usual mental list that is highly prone to editing as I go up and down the aisles at Costco. By the time we were ready to pack supplies, we had more than enough food, drinks, and equipment. We did one more shopping trip to tweak the list and accomodate personal preferences and to get a few more dry bags but we were pretty much ready when we were supposed to be ready.

We left bright and early on June 30th for Whittier. We had plenty of time and people who were still on EDT who were happier to drive than I was so we were on our way...until...we got onto the Seward Highway where there was a line of cars, lots of construction equipment, and a long wait. We went from casual, laid-back to frantic bat-out-of he;ll mode. We made it to the tunnel about ten minutes after we were wanting to get there but luckily we made it through in plenty of time to go to the rental place (PWS kayak Center) and check in with the water taxi (Honey Charters). We actually got to leaving by about 8:30 and no one had to wait for us, anew first for Harebrained Adventure Tours!

The ride out to Hobo Bay was uneventful and the weather was perfect with an intensely blue sky, not much wind and the sun shining brightly. It took us about 45 minutes and they unloaded our boats and gear, then sent us on our way, with assurances they'd be back on the fourth. We reloaded the boats, playing "Tetris" to find places to put all our stuff we were sure there would be room for it somewhere, in some boat. We ended up launching our little flotilla with various bulges and lumps interrupting the sleak lines of our watercraft but we were floating and everything was staying dry.

We were making good time, about 3-4 knots and with our maps and GPS we followed the coastline identifying points and landforms we assumed matched those on the map. So much for our a geography degree. Dave was following the coastline and suggesting to us that we were right at the entrance to the fjord. We looked at the chart and actually convinced ourselves that we only at the mouth of the small bay down from Hobo. Even still, Sally pointed out that Dave has a VERY good sense of direction so we might consider. I checked with Annette, who had the GPS and was tracking our speed and course. We hadn't had it long so we weren't too adept yet at using all of the bells and whistles so the little map wasn't as useful, with its labels and relief information appearing as we moved the cursor over the features displayed. By the time we got to the middle of this small bay mouth, I asked Annette how far we had gone from Hobo. She said, "five miles" which was a lot more than it had been the previous time I had asked. Now were sure we had "missed the turn so we decided to make for the far shore, another couple miles still but easier than changing course completely to make our original turn. There were still other campsites that we figured we could find one before we were exhausted so after a short rest on the far shore, we saddled back up continued down the coast of the eastern shore. We met a family of river otters who were a little curious about us but were clearly enjoying themselves with little regard for us once they realized we were just passing through. We kept on and began to look in earnest for a flat place to camp on high ground. Dave scouted the shore but I felt sure we would find something better just down the beach, where I had gone then realized I was out of sight from the group, since I traded boats with Dave and was truly enjoying the speed and efficiency of my own boat after pushing the double we had been in all day. Sure enough, we did find the nicest campsite in Alaska. We were able to stay there and do are day trips from that site for the next 3 days.
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