Our Trip to Anchorage & Prince William Sound!!
the truck, the dog, and evan's boat - ready to go!
So last week, as it was snowing in Squarebanks, Evan and I set out to Anchorage (and beyond!)
Evan attended NABS - the North American Benthological Society national meeting (wicked fun....) while I hung out in Anchorage with the dog and the amazing density of moose in Anchorage! Just while walking down the sidewalk you end up sharing the road with a mama moose and her calf. It's insane. I saw 14 moose in about four days, all but four of them were within the city limits.
Murie (the dog) and I also took a day trip down to Seward. While rainy, it was a lot of fun. Beate and Mary showed me around, and I got to see Shiway working hard in the lab (thanks, guys!!). We ate at a *great* lounge, which really was probably Vegas, circa 1965. We had a stellar 'bowl of buts' (apparently the best fried halibut in town)
After Seward, Murie and I headed back up to Anchorage to the greeting of wonderful hospitality and a b.b.q. at Brian and Shannon's beautiful house.
Come Thursday, Evan and I scrambled to get our stuff together, got my rented kayak from R.E.I., and headed off to Whittier with Carolyn and Mike - friends of Evan's and former UAF students. On the drive to Whittier I saw a grizzly bear, outside of Girdwood!!
The weather forcast was crummy, so we changed our plans from HoboBay and we took a water taxi (Lazy Otter, they were great and highly recommended) to Culhroch Passage (spelling is wrong, I know), checking out numerous seabirds, sea otters, and a black bear along the way.
Thursday night was great, and we paddled a few hours down Long Bay, saw another black bear, then back to camp. Friday we got a wee two hours in before the wind really picked up. From there we were pretty much camp-bound, with winds in the big passage hitting 40knots, and plenty of white caps and driving rain where we were to keep me snug (and damp) under the rain tarp.
(yep - it's true! i bought a "sou'wester" rain hat, and man did i love it)
Saturday we left camp with decent weather, but the wind picked up as we neared Passage Canal. Near the point of this bay, we decided that the water was too big for the group experience level. Happily (you might say) there was a really narrow and low point over land, so yes. We portaged. It took awhile, and there was plenty of bushwacking, falling in the mud, trying to avoid the Devil's Club, as well as trying to avoid putting our stuff down in a pile of bear scat.
We paddled many more hours that day, making it a nearly 14 hour day in the end. It's hard to find a place to camp down there!! It's really wet and spongy on the banks, if it's above high tide. Lots of harbor seals, common and red neck mergansers, murrelets, murres, kittiwakes, and sea otters were seen, as well as yet another black bear!!!
Sunday we made our long trek back to Whittier, and got to shore around 130/2 pm. Evan and I packed up the truck, loaded the kayaks, grabbed some coffee and halibut and went to triumphently leave Whittier. I'm sure most of you aren't aware of the "situation" in Whittier. Apparently developed for safety and miliatry purposes, Whittier was created in Prince William Sound in a place only accessible by boat and train. Well, now you can drive there but I kid you not- it's a single-lane, 2.7mile long tunnel through a mountain, that you take turns going through between both directions of traffic and a train. if this isn't bad enough, Evan and I happened to be unaware of the annual "Walk to Whittier!" event. We missed the last tunnel crossing by 30 minutes, and the boy nicely informed us that every year they close the tunnel from 230 to 430 so people can walk through it. Sooooo sad! So we sat in the truck, in the rain, and watched people walk through.
Eventually we made it, cruised to Anchorage, picked up the REALLY clean dog (Shannon's the best for washing her and fixin' her up with meds and good food!), dropped off the kayak, showered and headed off to Fairbanks at the hour of 730pm. We got home, eventually, around 2am and collapsed into bed - home, dry, safe and happy.
murie, asleep and happy in my front yard