Monday, August 23, 2010

Glacier Bay - by wee little boats

Our cousins J and Krista flew up to Gustavus from Bellingham to meet us for a week in Glacier Bay NP.
Gear - there was wheelbarrows full.
This load was just the seven bear canisters full of food. We have to admit, we had a bit that did not fit. We didn't lose any weight on this trip.
The water taxi was the high-speed day cruise catamaran, and we got to spot breaching whales, bears and mountain goats along the way. The NPS does a nice job of the interpretation, and they took us up to the glaciers at the head of the bay, and fed us well.
The view was occasionally obstructed...
But we found that if you put them in perspective, they seem less intrusive.
Here we were celebrating fittng all the gear and food in three kayaks on a glorious day. The beginning of 5 straight days of sun and no rain. Wow, these guys can really time the weather.
We were able to finagle a drop off closer to Johns Hopkins Glacier by asking the captain if he'd let us get off with a guided group at "Ptarmagain" near Lamplugh Clacier. Better forget we told you this, though. They don't advertise it.

So right around the corner was a massive glacier. Awesome way to start the trip.

Most of our camps were on moraines, so we could get the views. Unfortunately the ranger who gave us our "backcountry orientation" talk also gave J, Krista, and Mo her cold. So they were a bit puny some days, but we had short paddle days, since we'd been dropped off so much further up our route than we'd planned. It worked out great.
Regular application of glacially-chilled chardonnay helped, too.
The models became a little more lively.
And the photos more artistic.

J was our trip photog, and we can't wait to see what he got with his super-duper digital SLR.
One campsite had great wildflowers, and I shot about 40 of them. Here's a nice paintbrush.

Some gorgeous spots. And only one "carry of shame" beach where the tide went way out and we had to carry the boats a hundred yards to the water. Oops. One should never totally trust their guides, anyway.
And we did pick up a new friend for Chance. This little vole stowaway really wanted to see the world with us. J saved the day by using a paddle float as a magic carpet ride. The little guy got to tell his buddies about the visit to the big boat AND flying through the air.
Other wildlife included a wolf possibly carring a pup, a humpback whale carcass, a lone orca (T-1 so named) loads of oystercatchers, thousands of seals on the ice in Johns Hopkins, harbor porpoises, and on and on.

Here's the daed whale smorgasbord. Yummy, and still a bit more to eat.

Hopefully more photos, later. It was a fantastic trip. We loved sea kayaking again; it is such an intimate way to be on the water. We know it was the beginning of many long kayaking adventures for J&K.