Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The 2007 Harriman Expedition

In 1899, the first explorers (that I know of anyway) of what is now called Harriman Fiord saw glaciers, marine life, etc. Can't say much has changed since then in Harriman, except that the glaciers have drastically receded. Well, that, and we arrived via water taxi with our polypro and waterproof clothing, bear cans, and plastic kayaks. See?

Anyway, my friend, Mike, joined Val, Brent (together, Valent), Jenn, Alison, Ron, and myself for a 5 day trip. We spent our first night at Black Sands Beach, which allows campers to watch not one, not two, but THREE tidewater glaciers calve...all night. Coxe, Barry, and Cascade Glaciers put on quite a show for us (and the couple of black bears who joined us near camp). The second day (first full day) we were greeted by sunshine. Sun in Prince William Sound?!?! What a gorgeous day it was! We paddled past Serpentine Glacier (if anyone can tell me why/how it's covered in sediment, I'll buy you something really cool) and headed toward Surprise Glacier. That's when I snapped this photo:

After arriving at Toboggan Beach (our camp), I learned that Brent had proposed to Val (and she said YES!) just before this picture was taken. Not too shabby a place to get engaged, eh? (By the way, this was followed by a rainbow sighting, and two harbor porpoise, seals and sea otters swimming by!) A total surprise in front of Surprise Glacier...this called for a celebration! Congrats Valent!
Sometime that night the sun was again hidden by clouds and it rained the entire next day. Mike and I managed to get out for a wet, windy paddle. It's still fun to paddle in crappy weather...and then dry your stuff out near a fire. We had overcast skies, and even a little sun (no more rain!) the rest of the trip - perfect paddling conditions. I'll definitely be heading back to Harriman in the future.