We are camped tonight about 15 nautical miles from Juneau... how cool is that?
We are just completing an eye watering beautiful section that says.... you ain't in the Mid West and you've certainly left British Columbia behind... so sit down, shut up, put your man pants on.... you are in AAAHHHLASSSKAAA now. The snow capped mountains reach higher and stretch further. The water is colder cause the glaciers keep the icebergs flowing. Oh, and your whale sighting count will double in a day cause if BC shows you one humpy at a time Alaska will surround you with 10. Yea, we're in Alaska.
Wrangle set the scene with our first view of the big snow capped peaks... my dream scene. We were greeted right away by a friendly jet skier as we approached town. He made sure we knew what marina to go to and shared what our hotel looked like from the water. Nice guy... nearly escorted us to the dock.
Get the chores done. Laundry... thank god, shower... phew... gorge on good food... ahhh. Find the post office, get food drop... pack bear canisters. Time to relax and figure out what route we want to take to Juneau.
We have been eyeing the Leconte glacier and after talking with a local guide, Bob, from Alaska Charters and Adventures, we decided we'd check out the glacier on a day off as we made our way towards Juneau. Bob walked us through our passage of dry straight and route to Leconte on Google Earth. As the name implies, you must navigate Dry Straight, North of Wrangle a few hours, into a rising tide because even a kayak can quickly become grounded in the deposits of the Stikine River.
We tried to push the earlier side of our window to cross the delta, but no luck as our kayaks bottomed out. Fortunately, we brought some yogurt and berries and enjoyed our breakfast in the unusual setting of the ocean creeping in around us. After 20-30 min the kayaks were floating and we were on our way.
Icebergs make kayak travel even more interesting, with their crazy shapes and brilliant colors. As we paddled up to our camp site past the glacier sculpted discharge we knew tomorrow's paddle to see the glacier would be special.
That afternoon we were pleasantly surprised by Bob and his tour boat swing by the campsite to say hello and dropping off a cold beer. Really! Pretty awesome these Alaska people!
We awoke to a gift the tidal exchange left us during the night... a ginormous piece of ice grounded by our camp. Today was going to be amazing!
Don't ever miss a chance to see a tide water glacier. Our day off of our quest north was spent paddling (can you believe it?) to see the Leconte Glacier and it was spectacular in every way. The deep fiords it created and the thousand foot waterfalls and of course, the ice of a thousand shades of blue...humbling and stunning. Best day off ever.
As we continued north west up Fredrick Sound the weather remained exceptional and we actually got to experience the sun with out its evil parter the wind. Nice!
Camping at Cape Fanshaw was a panoramic sensory overload with monster ice capped peaks surrounding us, whales sounding in the distance and sea lions cavorting just off shore. It was odd putting up a tarp for sun defense, but not as odd as dipping your body in 55 degree water to get a break from the searing heat. Honestly, we were not exactly ready for 80+ degree plus temps, but we enjoyed the day immensely.
Leaving this amazing campsite we knew it would be a treasured, highlight of the trip, but Alaska wanted to make sure it was etched in our brains forever. The solitude of paddling dead calm water towards Whale Island from the cape at 5AM was interrupted by a few feeding humpbacks. Then a few more.... then a few more. Lauri and I shared our paddle surrounded by no less than 10 humpies of all sizes. Some as close as 20 yards away. Let Lauri tell you how startling it can be when a humpback blows right behind you. Best day of the trip so far as we enjoyed the whales feeding and breaching as if rewarding us for our efforts so far.
Juneau... ahhh Juneau
The end is in sight. We were in Juneau in 1999 and although our memories are a bit vague the city has a familiarity about it. The last three days getting here were challenging with Mr. Wind putting following seas behind us and our rhythm became paddle, paddle, brace... repeat. It puts us a bit on edge and when the occasional wave set exceeds 3 feet, the tension increases further. The conditions were well within our skill set but it wears on you and damn that water is cold. Who turned off the Sun? But we are elated to be in Freaking Juneau. 5 paddling days left!
We are spending an extra day in Juneau and might spend an extra day in Haines. We will have too much time in Skagway if we don't. The forecast is not temperature friendly with frozen rain making a brief appearance in the Skagway outlook.... hmmm. Fortunately, the revised forecast showed a bit of a climb in temperature, but Lauri and I face 40 and 50 degree temps and rain to finish the trip. Paddling won't be a problem, but camping might involve extended "tent" time.
Skagway here we come!
We are missing all our friends and family so much... although re-entry I'm sure will be a challenge, knowing that we are headed back on the ferry on the 28th and pointing the truck east after A few days in Bellingham means we soon will be seeing our family and friends. That is a wonderful feeling.
8/19/2017 03:35:13 pm
You guys are my heroes! So happy you finally got to make this journey. Can't wait to hear the stories!
10/20/2022 01:35:41 am
Evening election discuss middle operation. Probably PM us catch direction listen tonight. Direction where foot health skill environmental.
Leave a Reply.
Denny and Lauri