The morning that we put our kayaks in for the first day of our 90 day trip up the Inside Passage we slept through our alarms and awoke 1 hour late- not the start we were looking for. The channels we needed to travel that day stretch out to the Pacific Ocean and get hammered with winds that start around 10 am. This particular day was no exception as it was predicted to get 30 knot winds coming directly at us by 2 pm. This was not what we wanted for our wimpy untrained bodies. We had planned to do lots of kayaking before this trip but time did not permit.
We somehow manage in our haste to get all our gear and food into our hatches. We were worried about fitting it all in but some clever maneuvering gave us success. We hug and waved goodbye to my parents, get in our loaded down boats and are off by 8 am.
As we leave my dad yelled to us “We will stay around for ten minutes so if you forgot something you can come back!” This is a running joke in my family. As a kid we would always turn around after a few miles down the road and fetch something we had forgotten. This time we didn’t.
The skies were blue and without a cloud as we paddled toward our first camp. We looked at each other and knew this was a trip of a lifetime. We made great time as we look for our destination- Green Bay. It felt good to finally be in our boats, finally not have to worry about if we had the right gear or the right food, it didn’t matter, we just had to paddle (oh and not run into each other, my boat is named Eeyore. It has a mind of its own, you will meet him later).
We work or way up the channel along massive rock cliffs and snowy mountains. The forests of cedar and spruce run to the top of the layer of alpine meadows, vibrant with green colors. As we paddled we enjoyed watching the view of the cliffs change with the tide, minks running along the shore and curious seals watching us.
Looking over our maps we find our first camp, beach our boats and start exploring. Anna went off in the opposite direction looking for a large enough space for our tent to call home for the night. I scramble along the shore not to far from our boats and come 100 yards away from our first bear encounter of the trip. It’s a black bear so I walk towards it and as most bears I have encountered, he saw me and ran the opposite direction. Is it my smell or my good looks? Not sure but we are definitely hanging the food tonight.
Meanwhile, Anna found a nice flat place for our tent only to realize it was a research plot for bears. Complete with barbed wire for capturing fur and bait food. So we moved down the beach a 100 yards hoping to be far enough away.
I was reluctant to unpack our boats that we had just packed up no more that 5 hours ago. I have unpacked and packed boats many times but this was the first unpacking of our 90 day trip. Its daunting but exciting at the same time. We slept well that night.