1. How long will you take? When are you going/coming back?
I’m leaving Saturday May 5 and plan on taking the ferry back from Juneau on August 21, so that’s about 3.5 months. That should be plenty of time, but if I have a lot of weather days, and feel like I’m running behind, there are a couple bits I could always take a ferry for.
2. Who are you going with?
I’m doing it solo, primarily. Warren is going to meet me for the Sidney to Powell River leg, Neil is going to meet me for a side trip to the Queen Charlotte Islands (I’ll take a ferry out there and back) and my parents are meeting me in Juneau at the end to take the ferry back with me. It’s hard to find someone else who can take 4 months off at the same time I can who would want to spend it kayaking. Yes, I will get lonely. I hope to get better at striking up conversation with people I meet along the way. I really like my time to myself.
3. Where will you sleep/camp?
I’ll be camping most of the way, with some nights in hotels when I stop in towns to resupply, recharge batteries, shower and do laundry. For the first third of the trip, official campsites are easy to come by. After that there are stretches where the chief concern of the day is looking out for the next place to camp. What I’ll be looking for at that point is places that are good to land/launch, aren’t too steep and that bears wouldn’t find appealing.
4. Bears?!? What do you do about bears?
I’ll take reasonable precautions. I’ll hang my food (and I’ll have one bear cannister as a backup stash if a clever bear outwits my super bearhang). I’ll try not to camp in places where there is evidence of bear activity. I’ll be bringing bear spray in case of a close encounter, but I sure hope I don’t have to use it. I’m also really looking forward to stopping at one or both of the bear observatories in Alaska.
5. What will you eat?
I’ll take about 2 weeks of food at a time. It will be camping type foods. Yummy bowls of mush are my specialty. I’ve been dehydrating some. Most towns will have a grocery store for resupply and I’ll stop in a town about weekly, with one stretch of 2 weeks between towns. I will mail myself resupply boxes to where there isn’t good grocery stores to be had. Contact Neil for those addresses and approximate dates.
6. Are you crazy?
No. This is something that I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time, that I’ve put a lot of planning into and that I plan on being very cautious about. Yes, there are risks kayaking in the wilderness, and going solo makes those risks scarier. I’m bringing appropriate safety and communications gear. I’ve been sea kayaking for 13 yrs now. I know there are some worriers out there and I’d like to do everything I can to alleviate them, but probably the best thing I can do is pass along updates and photos when possible.
1. What was your favorite thing?
2. What was the hardest thing?