David and Pearl in Shearwater, British Columbia
|From mid June through mid-August of 2009, Pearl and I
paddled and sailed a double folding kayak from Port Hardy, British Columbia
to Ketchikan, Alaska, then to Misty Fiords National Monument, a total
distance of 700 miles. This trip, or portions of it, has been done
many times by other paddlers over the years. If there was a different
twist to our trip, it was that we wanted the adventure to include more than
just kayaking. We wanted to try transporting
ourselves and all our gear primarily by mass transit. This proved to be a
delightful adventure in itself, in many respects both more convenient and
more enjoyable than driving would have been.
I (David) first became enchanted with the wild, rainy, northwest coast in 1974 while a passenger aboard the Alaskan ferry Columbia, traveling southbound from Haines, Alaska to Seattle. Two years later I returned to the coast to spend 5 months sailing from Seattle north to Skagway in a 14' sailboat. In the 33 years since then, I've traveled this coast several more times by ferry, always wanting to do it once again in a small boat. Several years ago, Pearl and I began looking for a suitable craft, eventually finding a used double folding kayak online. The kayak was near our summer home outside Corvallis, Oregon and when we went to see it, we immediately recognized that we'd found the right boat. It was in like-new condition, equipped with many extras and the price was fair. We purchased it and in the summer of 2008 did a week-long shakedown trip on the west coast of Vancouver Island with a friend. During that trip we experienced some rough weather which confirmed that we'd found a good boat for the long trip up the coast the following summer.
June of 2009 found us ready to depart on the adventure, the details of which can be found in our daily journals.
This adventure, like most of those we've done, increased our appreciation of many routine aspects of life that we often take for granted at home. Each morning of the trip we looked forward to getting out on the water, anticipating the experiences and discoveries the new day would bring. Eating was always the kind of pleasure that only sustained exercise can provide. A ray of sunshine after days of rain was cause to rejoice and on the coldest and wettest days there was always the anticipation of a dry tent and warm sleeping bag at day's end.