Introduction

 

Our folding double kayak

 

This report describes our second long kayak trip.  The first was in 2009, when Pearl and I spent 2 months paddling and sailing our folding double kayak from Port Hardy, British Columbia to Ketchikan, Alaska.  In the summer of 2013, we continued north, paddling from Ketchikan, Alaska to Glacier Bay, via Sitka.  The trip was 70 days and 900 miles in length.  As on the 2009 trip, we were able to transport ourselves and 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 long trips on the British Columbia and Alaskan coasts. 

June, 2013 found us ready to depart on the adventure, the details of which can be found in our daily journals.

The summer of 2013 was a fortuitous choice.  Many Southeast Alaska residents told us that the summer of 2013 was one of the best they could recall in terms of ample sun and relatively little rain, whereas the previous summer had been one of the worst.  A ranger at Glacier Bay National Park said that the summer of 2012 averaged 10 degrees F colder than the summer of 2013 and much rainier. 

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.