Thursday, July 28, 2011

When am I supposed to sleep?

Wow, what a fun summer this has been!! It kicked off with a kayak trip from Valdez to Whittier. A group of 4 of us took the ferry to Valdez, then launched right near the ferry dock. We made the trip in 9 days, averaging 15-20 miles per day. We battled wind the first day and thought we were in for a long trip, but by day 2, the sun was shining and the waters were much calmer. We made serious headway over the next several days, so much so that we tacked on about 25 extra miles just so we wouldn't make it back to civilization before we'd planned. Here are some pics from our journey:

Columbia Glacier is the world's fastest retreating glacier (I think). Normally when I visit glaciers via kayak I can get right up to the face...this time we were stuck 8 miles back. Why? Because it looked like this!! We could've maybe hopped across the ice to the face (see it waaaayyyy back there?), but certainly not kayaked!

With all that ice, it was obvious what needed to happen. Glacier margaritas and campfire pizza, of course.

The next day we paddled to the largest falls in Prince William Sound. They were, indeed, large. Also large were the waves we had on our penultimate day. We made a 5 mile crossing in 4-5 foot chop. I recommend that just about as highly as I recommend going up to the face of a glacier and petting it. My favorite part of the trip, aside from the people on the trip, were the humpbacks that visited us on our last morning. Two popped up about 10 feet off shore. So, so cool. Now, I've seen just about every nook and cranny in NW Prince William Sound via kayak. It's amazing how big that place is - I kayak there every summer, yet there is so much more left to explore.

We made it back to Anchorage in time to catch Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. If they ever come through your town, you must go!! The lead singer, incidentally, he is not Edward Sharpe (no one in the band is named ES), looks like a hippie Jesus. His band mates look like they're straight out of Woodstock. They put on a hell of a show - one of those bands who sound better in person than on any recording. They let the audience choose the song line-up, took requests, and otherwise rocked the stage. Yay them.

A friend from college arrived from Detroit to explore good 'ole AK right after my kayak trip (and while ES was in town). I took her paddling in Resurrection Bay with Jedd and Mark. This was Jedd's first time kayaking, and I think I have a convert on my hands. He managed to catch dinner from the yak too! We also managed to scored a cabin and fishing trip (on a boat with an actual motor). Oh, and there were more whales. Ho hum.

After all that, Jedd, moi, and a few other Alaskans headed to Hawaii to join forces with Krista and Duncan. Our objective: kayak and hike the Na Pali Coast in Kauai. We started with 7, then were down to 6, then 5, then 3. Jedd, Duncan, and I made it to Kalalau, the end of the trail, and I have the pictures to prove it...(up next...)

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