North of Sea Otter Creek to North of Fairweather Glacier Outflow
|The sun is shining when I wake the next morning around 7:00 AM. I take my time getting up and it's after 9:00 AM before I'm off. The walking is warm, becoming hot as the day goes on. At 11:00 AM I reach Sea Otter Creek, another rain-fed stream and an easy wade across. |
Occasionally reddish sand begins to appear on the beach. By 12:15 PM rocks begin to dot the beach north of Cape Fairweather. Soon the sand is gone and it's all rocks.
I continue slowly hopping from rock to rock until I round the north side of the cape and come to large boulders. It's about 2:20 PM now and I've had enough of rock hopping. It's also hot out in the sun. Bushwhacking up into the forest, it's immediately cooler and I soon find a bear trail. After following it for awhile, I come back down to the boulders to take stock of where I am. It's just more boulders in both directions.
I have lunch on the boulders, then head back up into the forest. The trail soon fades away and high sand cliffs prevent getting back down to the boulder beach. Twenty minutes of searching finally reveals a continuation of the trail. Now I occasionally pass small ponds freckled with water lily pads. Moose tracks appear along muddy portions of the trail.
It's early evening by the time I emerge from the forest at a low spot in the high sand cliffs above the boulder beach. After boulder hopping for another half hour I finally come to a short stretch of sand beach. There, I'm delighted to find the first glass Japanese fishing float of my life. It's green, about 12" in diameter and hand-blown. Many of these are trapped in circular currents in the North Pacific. Occasionally they break away in storms and continue drifting across the ocean to land on the North American coast. It's way too large and heavy to carry and I leave it sitting in the sand.
Soon I come to the outflow of the Fairweather Glacier. It's flowing faster than any stream yet. Pieces of glacier ice line the shore. I can see a good line across though, with an eddy just before the river flows into the surf. I blow up the raft, launch and am across quickly.
Another 1/2 mile of rock hopping brings me to a camping spot down a bear trail in the forest. This is my first forest camp of the trip. When Pearl and I are sea kayaking on the outer coast, these are our preferred camping spots, rather than out on the beach. The moss makes a soft bed, the sound of pounding surf is muffled and there's not sand getting into everything. An added bonus is that come morning, there's little or no dew on the tarp.
It's a good camp and I'm relieved to have food hung 100 yards away and high out of reach of bears. I'm also tired after rounding Cape Fairweather.
Beginning of boulders at Cape Fairweather
Mostly good bear trail above Cape Fairweather
Japanese glass fishing float in sand north of Cape Fairweather. It's about 12" in diameter.
Ready to cross Fairweather Glacier outflow, north of Cape Fairweather.