The following morning we carried, dragged and shlepped our gear and boats... it was the most dangerous part of our entire trip... seriously. But we still got a very early start in one piece... minus some gel cote donated from the kayaks.
One more night of camping just South East of Elder Rock light house and then on to Haines at 20NM in a hotel, then done at Skagway 15NM a day or two later. It felt like we were racing the weather. Not so much the wind this time, but "frozen mix" entered our weather lexicon for the Skagway area and candidly we don't have the gear to be damp... ok, wet... and have the temps fall that far.
As we left SE Elder Rock camp site we decided to hug the East shore and not cross over to the west/Haines side of the Lynn Channel until we had too. It turned out fog limited our choices anyhow... visibility dropped to a quarter mile at most, so keeping the east shore in sight was mandatory. We paddled tethered to shore all the way until we crossed the ????? River mouth as the fog began to lift. That's when I posed the question to Lauri.... "You up for a very big day and finish this thing ahead of the freezing rain?" I had not completed the sentence before she said yes! I warned her that 32NM was bigger than any day she had ever done and that we'd be out way past the 1PM witching hour for the wind to toy with us. Lauri was not fazed. We would finish tonight.
The best way to do something hard is distractions. We had plenty. The wind never kicked up. The tide was ebbing against us, so we hugged the most amazing shoreline... rock formations that were jaw dropping beautiful and waterfalls that thundered down 1000s of feet in seconds. And Lauri got a tribal name. She will forever be known as "The Rock Hunter" as she just could not get enough of the sculpted rock Alaska was showing us.
31 of our 32NM paddle was drama free and it was just starting to sink in. The trip is over. We were both expecting heavy emotional surges to play havoc with us as we pulled the kayaks to the beach one last time. A cruise ship leaving the harbor in Skagway had other ideas.
We approached Skagway as the Cruise ship backed out, Pivoted and started up the channel. Good, I thought, the harbor will be empty. Not Quite. 3 more of the behemoths awaited us as the harbor came into view.
Cruise ships are required to give a 15min Warning of their departure.... at our approach angle I'd been more comfortable with 30 min. As we studied the harbor a security call went out. We sat there studying each ship for signs of departure, but it turned out to be a water taxi leaving the harbor. After a brief VHF communication with the water taxi I confirmed the harbor entrance was indeed between two of the floating cities. We would get up close and personal with these ships to enjoy the safety of the small boat harbor. Game on.
Other then the brief bout of vertigo that was triggered by looking up at these ships as we paddled by, there was no issue. Except in all the last minute drama, Lauri and I had forgotten that the trip was over... no time for reflecting. Just a brief hug and a quick selfie video. We have arrived a few days early. Reflection will come, but now we need to find a place to stay.
10/6/2022 06:30:01 am
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10/17/2022 03:04:26 pm
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10/20/2022 02:36:19 pm
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Denny and Lauri