We made it to the end! Arrived in Skagway on August 31st around 1pm. It was a short paddle from Haines and we had a really strong tailwind that pushed us into town. We spent 6 awesome days in Haines, so it almost felt like that was already the end but it was still exciting to pull up on the shore after paddling for 3 months! We didn’t have any champagne but we toasted with our flasks and ate a Newman O because we were starving haha! Last night we went to a local bar that is also a tourist attraction by day for the cruise shippers. The Red Onion Bar had a local band playing, and today we got all touristy and took the White Pass train ride. We can’t believe it’s time to get on the ferry tomorrow and head for Bellingham. It’s been an incredible adventure, and we want to thank all the wonderful folks we have met along the way who invited us on their boats and into their homes, fed us, and shared their stories! These are the things that made the trip even more amazing A special thank you to Eileen and Forrest (the Yelly’s) for all their help and generosity with trip planning, food prep, food drops, and hostel stays! Also a special thank you to Barbara Jones for the new gear and hostel stay! You guys are awesome and we couldn’t have made this trip happen without y’all!
We left glacier bay and headed toward Haines! We were dreading the first section out of glacier bay because we were backtracking but it wasn’t too bad. Went by pretty quickly. Took us 6 days to get to Haines! Arrived on Day 86 of the trip! On day 4 we headed into the Lynn Canal and it is a spectacular place and also the longest and deepest fiords in the world! It runs 90 miles south from the Chilkat River inlet to the Chatham strait and Stephens Passage. We had awesome views of snow capped mountains and glaciers! It’s beginning to turn into Fall up here and the rain and wind started to move in on us. We have still been lucky because the winds were coming out of the south and gave us a big push. A couple of big water days with the wind which is always fun. Nothing crazy though. Some 3 to 4 footers with white caps every now and then! The tides were big as well with huge low tides in the mornings which made carry and loading boats interesting! A couple of negative 3 foot tides. We would go to bed with a nice normal smaller rocky beach and wake up to rock walls and huge barnacle covered boulders that we got to crawl over and around with the kayaks and gear! Makes for an exciting morning for sure haha. We have really enjoyed our stay in Haines! It’s a cool town with great people. Thanks so much to Katey and Eric for hosting and feeding us at their awesome house! Eric let us take over his man cave/music room. We even went to hear a local funk band play our first night here. Only one day out from Skagway which is our final destination! We definitely feel like we have been paddling for almost 90 days, but I at the moment I can’t imagine doing anything else! Might be a little weird eating and sleeping indoors again on a regular basis haha
Excited to start our paddle up the east side of Glacier Bay and into the Muir Inlet! It’s been 4 days since we left Juneau and the weather has been amazing! Bit of a brutal paddle out of Juneau because of the shallow waters of the Gastineu Channel. I can safely say we have had our fill of mud and tidal flats! Next day we paddled out of the Stephens Passage and into the Icy Strait! We saw a lot of porpoises which was cool. The last camp spot before entering Glacier bay was on pleasant island just south of Gustavus! Amazing spot with ridiculous views of white capped mountains! We got in early and were able to chill out in the sun and relax. Super foggy this morning as we made our way into the national park! Couldn’t see land at all for the first hour and a half and just went off a bearing! Makes things a little exciting for sure. We did have 3 huge stellar sea lions follow us for a bit! Also saw a lot of sea otters along the way as well! So cute! Landed in Bartlett Cove around 2pm and checked in with the forest service and did our orientation about camping in the park! We are so excited for this!
Can’t believe we are in Juneau! Arrived yesterday early in the afternoon. It was around 120 miles from Wrangell and took us 8 days. This has been a really fun section! The views, weather, and wildlife sitings have been AMAZING! Lots of encounters with shallow waters also known as tidal flats haha. Got a leg workout in the day we left Wrangell. I can’t remember how many times we had to get in and out of our boats to drag them! Would have been pretty entertaining to watch I’m sure. They may call it Dry Straits for a reason haha. After LeConte Bay we headed into the Frederick Sound and found some great campsites. At a spot near Pt Vandeput we saw several humpback whales in the area and they were breaching and vocalizing. The sounds were really cool, and we had one breach within 20 feet of us and fluke! It almost seemed like they were following us because as we paddled out of the sound toward Stephens Passage and the Seymour Canal and they continued to be everywhere. We counted 17 flukes within a two hour period one day. As we crossed over to Admiralty Island we passed through the Five Fingers Islands and stopped at the lighthouse there. We paddled up to the lighthouse just to check it out and saw a lady, Janet, waving at us. She invited us up, and we got to check out the views from the light! That night we camped on Gambier Island just south of the Seymour Canal entrance! Definitely wanted to camp on islands during this stretch because Admiralty Island has a larger population of brown bears than people. The ratio of bears and humans is 2 to 1! A fun little fact. Alaskan brown bears are larger than grizzlies that you see in the lower 48! Just saying haha. We paddled up the Seymour Canal rather than taking the Stephens Passage because its a bit shorter and we wanted to do the tram portage over land into the Oliver Inlet. We are all about doing more work apparently, ha! Of course true to Kelly and Brooke fashion, when we arrived at the end of the canal at the Seymour Cabin the tide had become too low and we couldnt paddle up the creek to the cabin so we did a little boat dragging as far up as we could without destroying our boats. Good thing we didn’t arrive any later because when the tide went all the way out it was at least a mile from water to the cabin! Probably one of our only truly scary moments of the trip was when we got out of the boats to scout out the situation and find the cabin. There were giant and I mean giant bear prints everywhere along with bear scat and fish remnants all along the shore. We immediately started making lots of noise which means lots of singing! It took 3 long trips to get the gear and boats up to the cabin. Found the tram tracks and walked the boards over to the Oliver inlet to retrieve the tram for the morning haul. It was super cool, and exciting to be in the interior a bit since we are always on the coast. Next morning we loaded the boats up and pushed the tram over. Another crazy bear moment. Right as we started to push the gear we walked past a freshly wet bear print on the boards. We probably just missed it which we were happy about and the loud singing began again! The paddle out of the inlet and into Juneau was awesome. At the end of the inlet was a tidal rapid. We were paddling along in glassy, lake like waters when we hear the roar of the water. We both looked at the charts and were like there is no river coming out ahead?! Then we rounded the corner and boom! There was a downhill rushing mini river. We weren’t scared of the rapids but it looked super shallow and with loaded fiberglass boats you worry about busting a hole in the hull. Didn’t have much of a choice though. The current was sucking us in! It ended up being awesome. We shot down through there. There was a large standing wave/rapid at the bottom we avoided! Going to be in Juneau a couple of days. Staying at a friend of a friends house. Thanks to Autumn and all her roomies for having us. Super excited about doing a radio interview today on KXLL then seeing a movie! We have been dying to see a summer movie. Going to see The Heat, woo! Also plan to stop at the Alaskan Brewing Company for a brew tour perhaps! Next stop Glacier Bay then Skagway!
Paddled into Wrangell yesterday around 430pm! The weather has been so amazing. It was 77 degrees yesterday. We have been in the NW too long and were dying haha. It took 5 days to paddle from Ketchikan to here. It was around 80 miles. We headed up the Clarence Strait and camped on the Cleveland Peninsula about 10 miles south of Meyers Chuck. We never paddle very far after a town stop for some reason, but the next day we busted out another 20+ miler and headed into the Ernest Sound and across Union Bay! Although the weather has been ridic, the current and wind has been against us hard pretty much all 5 days! We have decided that the currents will switch when it sees us coming haha. The Ernest Sound is beautiful! It’s a wide channel with small mountains, rolling green hills,and gumdrop islands in the middle! We were paddling past Easterly Island in the middle of the sound and kept hearing this crazy loud noise. It sounded like a broken chainsaw and there is a lot of logging around here so I assumed that’s what it was. Felt like an idiot later when Kelly says “man those sea lions over there are loud”! Haha
Night 3 was awesome because we stayed in the Frosty Bay Forest Service Cabin! We got lucky that it wasn’t taken. It’s amazing how just having a roof over your head and a flat spot to eat and sleep on can feel like major luxury. I’m always happy when we don’t have to do a bear hang! We were so dang hot from the tropical weather we even jumped in the water for a bit to cool off. Only took us 59 days out here to do it Day 60 ended up being a doozy for sure…at least I felt that way! Made it up the Seward passage and then headed up the Blake Channel. I paddled this way 3 years ago and the channel was so easy and calm. This time there was gusting wind and a pretty strong current. It sucked because you stare at your camping destination for the entire 10 miles you are in there! Unfortunately once we got to Berg Bay that cabin was occupied and we had to paddle out and down the Eastern Passage towards Wrangell for a bit and found a terrible swampy, grassy site for the night. We decided we were do for a crappy spot and just went to bed super early. We stayed in the Presbyterian Church Hostel in town. Going to eat a big greasy town breakfast this morning and then head out toward Juneau. We haven’t decided if we will stop in Petersburg. We are paddling to Juneau via the Seymour Canal where there is a portage tram to walk walk your boats across! Super excited about this. Should be fun!
Arrived in Ketchikan this past Sunday the 21st! Decided to go big and push through so it ended up being a 30 mile day into town. Got in around 7pm and found a nice guy who let us store our boats on his dads dock right next to Salmon Landing in the center of town. We were worn out and starving but had to check in with customs and of course we had to get back into our boats and paddle to another dock to meet with the customs agent. Not too terrible though and soon we were off to O’Briens pub for a burger and fish n chips! I was super excited to be back in Ketchikan because I guided up here in 2010 at Southeast Exposure and it has been awesome catching up with Betsey, Jared, John and Jodie. We were lucky and able to stay in a guide house in town before paddling another 12 miles up to where SE Exposure is located at Knudson Cove! It wasn’t that far of a paddle from Prince Rupert to Alaska. Only took us 5 days to paddle 80 miles but it ended up being a little grueling. Definitely seemed longer than 5 days for sure! You are paddling in big water on this stretch. We were out in the Dixon Entrance and had the make a descent crossing over the Portland Inlet and from there you are pretty much in Alaska. We actually crossed into the U.S. on day 50 which was pretty cool One would think having the wind at your back would be awesome but not always. Everyday it was blowing out of the SW, giving us a crosswind which means our boats definitely did not want to track straight even with the skegs down. There were some big rollers to play in for two days which was awesome. Kelly’s skeg wasn’t functioning properly so she was hating life for a bit, and I was getting wet having to pull her skeg down all the time. Once we got within 40 miles of Ketchikan we started seeing tons of fishing seiners in the Revillagigedo Channel. It was pretty cool watching them pull up there huge nets and drop the fish down. We had a few more whale sitings too along. We saw one humpback and at this sweet campsite on the mainland we saw two orcas swim by. Also found more wolf tracks at this camp spot as well! I’m happy to report the bug situation has been much better too, woo! The 30 mile into Ketchikan was actually a pretty good day. Even though we were in the boats for 10 hours we felt like we were moving pretty quickly which normally doesn’t happen with 20 plus mile days. It’s been fun relaxing at SE Exposure. Got to have a proper bday celebration for kelly and met a lot new cool people and guides. We even got to run a kayak tour for them! Oh and we also got to play on the climbing wall and run the zip line course on our own! It was good stuff! Big thanks to Betsey and the Southeast Exposure crew for letting us hang out for 4 days! Heading out toward Wrangell tomorrow morning!