Grand Plateau Outflow to East River
|My left hip and thighs ache during the night. In the morning I wake to rain. The wind has picked up overnight and blown under the end of the tarp, wetting the foot of the bivy sack. I get up, lower the foot end of the tarp and doze for another hour before breaking camp in the rain. |
Out on the beach the wind is blowing from the southwest. Low clouds stretch seaward to the horizon and obscure the mountains to the east . For the first time on the trip I'm walking in full rain gear, glad to have the wind at my back. I walk up the beach for a couple hours, wading across Clear Creek about 1:00 PM. Occasional showers become steadier rain. Hour after hour the beach disappears into the mist ahead. Bald eagles perch on beached logs, seagulls huddle in flocks on the wet sand. The main diversion is watching the endless curling and crashing of a now impressive surf.
A long afternoon drags by before I reach the outflow of the East Alsek River. The rain stops for awhile. Following the bank of the river inland for a few hundred yards, then south for a half mile or so, I stop and inflate the pack raft opposite Mike's cabin. It's a wide stream here, close to 1000', but flat, slow water and an easy crossing.
Walking up to Mike's cabin, he welcomes me in. Twenty minutes later he serves up a plate of hot pancakes, my all-time favorite food. Outside it's raining again. I'm very glad to be here. Mike gets on the VHF radio and makes a call to a neighbor 1/4 mile away, checking on the next bush plane out. There's one going to Yakutat in the morning with an empty seat. What luck!
I listen to the rain on the roof, immensely enjoy the pancakes and wonder how I can ever repay Mike's generous hospitality.
By 8:00 PM I'm sacked out next door in Mike's sleeping cabin.
Surf just north of Grand Plateau outflow.
Playing Russian roulette with the surf.
The easiest beach walking is at the upper limit of the surf line where the sand is wet and usually firm.
Gulls on beach.
Bald eagle on beached log.
The beach extends endlessly into the mist.
Selfie in the rain, on the way to East River.
I finally arrive at Mike's cabin on the East River. 15 minutes later he's fixed me a plate of pancakes. Have I died and gone to heaven?
(Thanks again Mike!)
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