|Up high, way up high!|
It seemed ages ago when David said Alaska! and I said Oooh!
After some to-ing and fro-ing, the time had come to head for the airport. Bags packed, car loaded and boats on the roof - yes, boats were on the roof and yes, we were going to Alaska! and no, we were not paddling the whole way!
Our group of 8, David, Paul, Graham, Susan, Elaine, Fiona, Ken and myself met up for the flight over.
We were met at the airport by Turnagain Kayaks' Levi, he then took us to REI to buy our gas, then onto the supermarket for 10 days food. That would be all well and good, except, buying food in a strange supermarket at the equivalent of 4am in the morning, having been on the go since the crack of dawn the previous morning is no fun. We did eventually emerge, managed to find a pizza for tea - or was it breakfast, possibly supper - who knows? After we'd been driving for a while we passed a huge moose with a young one - our first Alaskan wildlife! A little further along, there was a black bear wandering along the road, next thing we turned off the road. We had arrived in Hope at our chalet for the night, right next to the bear!
|A gathering of Ikea bags!|
Now it was time to unpack everything, just to repack it all for paddling. I spent a while re bagging food into meals and portions. Last thing I wanted was to run out of food miles from civilisation! Don't think Ken would have been too chuffed either!
It was quite a distance to get from Hope up to Whittier, the journey included an interesting tunnel. The 2.5 mile Whittier tunnel is shared with trains, with cars driving along the tracks, but is just single tracked so it's run on a timetable, there would be nothing worse than meeting a train head on!
Eventually all boats were loaded, just one last thing to do before setting off. Whittier is a tiny end of the line town, with not alot there, however, there was an extremely good icecream shop so that's where we headed!
|Me 'n' He|
Fully filled with icecream, off we set. The weather was a bit overcast, but not cold, perfect paddling weather! It was great being out with snowcapped mountains all around and the Learnard Glacier behind us on one side and Whittier glacier on the other.
We made our way out to Decision Point, passing the first of many bald eagles, before cutting over to Pigot Point where we spent our first night. We were greeted here by the first of our sea otters - lovely!
|An otter or two|
We were soon to find out that getting campsites was not going to be as easy as in Scotland. We were travelling in spring tides, so by the time that was taken into consideration, there wasn't much/no beach above the tide line. There was just a small strip of grass before extremely dense vegetation. The area is a rainforest, the trees were all thickly covered in moss.
|Even the trees have fur coats|
We camped on the thin grass strip when there was a "ping". One of our tent poles had snapped!!! New sleeve over the pole, all was well again. We then went to try tying our food bags up to keep them away from bears. We were soon to find that was easier said than done! Nothing quite like being on a learning curve! Pulleys would have been handy! So tents up, boats parked neatly along the grass verge, it was time for dinner, it was really late by now and what with time differences, I was dead beat and couldn't be bothered cooking, so out came our first dried meal, it was also our last, don't know how Paul lasted on them for every meal.