Sunday, June 22, 2008

Harriman, Part Deux

I went to Harriman Fiord last year (there's a post about it in the archives), and while I like exploring new places, one of the many things I love about AK is that visiting the same places always feels like a different experience than any other time you've been to that place. So, when my friend asked if I wanted to join she and her friends on a trip to Harriman, I grabbed my kayak and went! We basically took the same route I took last year to tour the fiord, but this time we covered more ground and camped in some new-to-me areas. Black Sands Beach was buried under avalanche debris, so it looked completely different than last year. And so did Cascade Glacier. Check this was a tidewater glacier in 2007 and was connected to its neighbor, Barry Glacier (Cascade is on the left, Barry on the right):

But not in 2008. Its no longer touching the water or its neighbor:

Its amazing how quickly these things can retreat. Wonder what it'll look like next year.

Last year we got weathered in near Surprise Glacier and didn't make it back to the end of the fiord, where Harriman Glacier awaits visitors. But this year the weather cooperated, and we made it all the way to Harriman.
We didn't see any bears on this trip, but did have an angry porcupine at our campsite. The first time I saw him I'd taken a walk to use the "restroom," and as I was taking care of business, something to my right caught my eye. That little guy was peeved. He was in full quill spray mode, and only about 10 feet from me. I have no experience with porcupines, so I didn't know that he can't actually "spray" me with quills (you actually have to touch them before the quills are released into your skin), but I had to laugh at the situation. The little bugger literally caught me with my pants down! He was a brave little guy and visited us in our camp several times. We also saw spotted seals, and now every time I see them I wonder if they can tell I've eaten their kin (see the Kotzebue entry below). So far, none of them have rammed my boat or given me the evil eye, so that's good.

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