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  1. #1
    Caveman
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    Yakutat Southbound, AK Coast

    11 days in the wilderness.. how do you sum it up and put it into words? I always have a problem with it and every effort falls short. This will be no exception since my brain is mush and has been in a stream of conscious mode since I've been back.

    We had nothing short of a fantastic trip. The weather cooperated, the route was excellent with good riding and a host of challenges, our group was solid and could crack dirty jokes 27 hrs a day. But leaving it at that would not make for much of a story. Details! photos! right?! ok fine. twist my arm.

    I've been thinking about this and the best way I can describe how this trip came about is "Circular Inspiration". Roman did bad ass trips in the 90's that blew the doors off the notion of wilderness mountain biking as we know it. Following in the footsteps, Dylan and I were amped on the concept and started packrafting with our bikes a few years ago. Eventually We spent 19 days riding, pushing and paddling our Pugsleys on the northern section of the Lost Coast from Yakutat to Cordova, a route brought to light by Erin and Hig who walked it. At some point a now older and wiser Roman saw the new bikes and the potential... bought one this spring and proposed doing the Southern part - Yakutat south. um yes, Game on! Friends from Colorado, Steve Fassbinder and Mike Curiak, both well versed in the world beyond 2.25" joined in. It was quite the crew, well rounded (literally for some) and experienced.

    Expedition Coastal fat tire biking is a unique animal. It's gear intensive with Bikes and packrafts, yet simple and primal. When things click it makes for a very efficient method of travel without the mundane of simply walking. Yet there's more too it than that. You'll have try it for your self, but for me it has something to do with <i>real</i> adventure riding. The giddy feeling of riding where nobody has biked (or even thought of it!) in a remote environment with the self reliance and determination that comes with it. There I tried.

    (The photos in this post are a mix of mine and some of DOom's)
    Off to Yakutat, landing there and prepping our bikes brought on total deja-vu of 3 years earlier. Same bikes, same flight, same bacon cheeseburger from the lodge.



    Heading out to the beach:

    We had the perfect night, a low tide that made for a fat tire playground. Gigapixels were burned finally on the beach.






    Roman with fatties..


    a funny thing happens when everyone is spinning nearly the same gear combo...


    We enjoyed near perfect beach for the first 2 days. Crossed Situk Lagoon, The Dangerous River and finally the Alsek as we worked our way closer to the Fairweather range.


    We spent the whole trip traversing below all these peaks.


    Immense mountains smack in front of us, crashing surf off to the right. Is this really happening or am I dreaming? if so don't pinch me..


    At the end of the third day we hit Boulders. Boulders on the beach mean big glaciers are close by. Following bear trails we went up into the woods and schwacked to the lagoon formed by the Grand Plateau Glacier. (note clawage)




    We reached the lagoon as the evening's chill was upon us, combined with icebergs and glacier melt made for a brisk paddle in search of a camp spot.


    We found one, a tiny stretch of beach between the alders and rocks.


    Tall tales by the campfire accompanied sporadic glacier calving off in the distance and we hoped that the lake level would not rise from the micro tsunamis and swamp our camp.

    Putting in the next day, everyone giddy for good reason!


    Our exit from the lake was a bit of a crap shoot. Our maps (last updated decades ago) showed a braided stream leaving on the far end of the lake. Our plan was to follow that back down to the beach. We did, but the stream was not really there anymore. The landscape had changed dramatically and we climbed up away from the lake in full on schwackfest swamp mode.


    We found the stream, but it was just slime covered boulders, balls deep at times.


    Off the stream and into the quality. Mike gets acquainted with Devils Club and all that <i>summer </i>Alaska trip have to offer.


    A few hours later we broke out onto the coast. The massive boulders were gone and we were greeted to smooth and ridable beach. This would be the theme for days to come. Bash and bushwack in the morning, cruise in the evening.


    Cape Fairweather - Subdivision sized boulders loomed ahead. I figured a solid 4 hrs to get around it all. It took us about 6 or so reminiscent of the <a href="http://vimeo.com/2316864">Sitaki Bluffs along the Malispina Glacier</a>. It was here that Roman educated us on the aptly suitable verb "Stumble****ing" nothing describes it better. Roman obviously derived the term from decades of perfecting the art. You bash along with your bike in mind numbing tedium. Thought process slows, as does time. Your body tires from the minute yet strenuous movements needed to carry, push and bash though the cobbles and boulders. The only thought that need to be held on to is that yes, the bike will be useful again at some point so keep bashing, you're having fun you idoit.


    Bear trails, not the best maintained in these parts. someone needs to write a letter.


    they grow em big out here.


    As evening progressed we left the boulders behind and were quickly greeted to the goods. re-pack, pedals on. I was in no hurry this night however. After a solid day of stumble****ing the big trees, big beach and big ocean brought a sense of calm. an erie calm in a way, something that made me think that this moment right here and then, is what I came for.
    <iframe width="800" height="487" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/fJVWtJZjR_w" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    more to come.

  2. #2
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    Excellent!, looks amazing
    Looking forward to seeing more Eric!
    plan it...build it....ride it...love it....
    http://coastkid.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by coastkid71 View Post
    Excellent!, looks amazing
    Looking forward to seeing more Eric!
    1+
    A Fatback'd Lefty for who life IS a Beach

  4. #4
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    Effin' brilliant, Eric.

  5. #5
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    There's nothing to beat being places where the next human is hundreds of miles away. I used to love that feeling when I lived in outback Australia.

    Great writeup. Hope it's going to get into some mainstream press.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearbait View Post

    more to come.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your trip.
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  7. #7
    PRETENDURO
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    Really nice photographs and description/writeup. Looks like an amazing adventure.
    QUOTE from MTBR.COM: You have given Brewtality too much Reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later.

  8. #8
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    So jealous!

    Whats a gearlist look like for a trip like that?!

  9. #9
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    A true adventure indeed! Thanks for sharing!

  10. #10
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    inspirational and aspirational....
    thanks.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddrjeffe View Post


    So jealous!

    Whats a gearlist look like for a trip like that?!
    balls, brass (2)

  12. #12
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    So since they are riding pugs, are those Brass balls offset?
    Also did they get them online or at their LBS?

  13. #13
    Caveman
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    offset ever since I got kicked there thanks.

    Gear list is simpler than you'd think. Devil is in the details and how it's all used and how you efficiently switch from one mode of travel to the next, bike-foot- boat. I'll try to post something eventually along those lines.
    Roman posted a short vid here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2cf1fF1i2E
    cheers

  14. #14
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    Oh Yakutat... my home sweet home. I wish I knew you guys were in town. I would have loved to said hello and maybe a cold beer. Glad you had a good trip. It really is a special place.

    Cheers,
    Steve

  15. #15
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    Great trip!

    Can't wait to hear more about it.

    Pat

  16. #16
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    Awesome!

    More videos/pics please.
    "Ride what you love, love what you ride"

  17. #17
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    Bearbait,

    How was your Dangerous River crossing? How far from the mouth did you guys cross and how swift was it moving?, Tide can also be a big factor. Flew over it yesterday and was wondering how that went.. Alot can wrong fast on that river,

    Steve

  18. #18
    Caveman
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    Hi Steve,
    We entered a bit inland and easily crossed the lagoon staying far and clear from the mouth playing with the seals. Straight foreword, no problem. Fun riding just after that. Wind hammered driftwood terrain park. I think the tide was low.
    The hardest river crossings were coming off the Finger Glacier south of La Parouse. They just gush out of the forest with a lot of energy. The Alsek was big but also straight foreword.
    If you have any aerial photos of any part of this route I'd love to see them!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarNorth View Post
    Oh Yakutat... my home sweet home. I wish I knew you guys were in town. I would have loved to said hello and maybe a cold beer. Glad you had a good trip. It really is a special place.

    Cheers,
    Steve
    Wish we had known there were 'friendlies' in Yakutat. Maybe you could have talked the lodge into finding some seafood for us...?!

    Amazing backyard you have there--thanks for sharing it. And I'll second the request for aerial pics--please!

    Cheers,

    MC

  20. #20
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    I was just flew down to the Akwe River ( the next larger river you crossed after the Dangerous River) to pick up some set net fish. I will TRY to fly down next week and get some pics.

    Steve

  21. #21
    Frt Range, CO
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarNorth View Post
    I was just flew down to the Akwe River...to pick up some set net fish....
    Just curious, do you land on the beach? What kind of plane, is this your business/occupation?

  22. #22
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    Just flying down with a friend to give him a helping hand. This last trip was in an Otter. Sand "strip" on the beach. They can land pretty much anywhere on the beach. Low tide of course. Have landed in Beavers, Otters, Cessnas, Beach 18's, Sky Ranger's, DC 3's, C46's. All on the beach up and down the coast.

    I found out through the years, its better to have friends with planes then to own one.

    Cheers,
    Steve

  23. #23
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    Bearbait,

    Did you all use a single speed set up and what type of gearing? Once again congrats on a safe and successful trip.

    Steve

  24. #24
    Caveman
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    kinda, singlespeed with 2 cogs on a freewheel. 2 of us had single cog white industries freewheels, Roman had vertical dropouts and ran a old school campy derailleur w/ 2 gears. gearing was generally 22-20, but some had a bit lower and higher.

  25. #25
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Looks awesome. I just got back from a sea kayak trip around Afognak and Shuyak. Conditions were ideal and I have a crazy farmer tan. Dunno if you have kayaked much, but it's a lot less work than what you dudes are doing.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy View Post
    Looks awesome. I just got back from a sea kayak trip around Afognak and Shuyak. Conditions were ideal and I have a crazy farmer tan. Dunno if you have kayaked much, but it's a lot less work than what you dudes are doing.
    Sounds like a cool trip. Any pics? Specifically wondering which straps you used to tether your kayak under the bars while riding the beaches?



    Still wondering where the beaches were in your eaglet pic...

    MC

  27. #27
    No, that's not phonetic
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    I'll put together a little slideshow a la your lovely productions soonish.

    The beach in that pic is Halibut Bay, near the western-most tip of Kodiak. The beaches down there are lovely but not tremendously long, and are separated by large cliffy capes. Kodiak has very little real beach riding, but the north Alaska Peninsula on the other hand...

  28. #28
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    Lost and Found: One.

    The idea was simple: fly with friends to a <a href="http://www.yakutat.net/">coastal town</a> in AK, then ride fat tire bikes and paddle packrafts to the <a href="http://www.gustavus.com/">next town</a> down the coast.

    Lower 48 to AK flights are always oddly timed--meaning I had a scant few hours on the ground in Anchorage before we all needed to be back at the airport. In those few hours I was able to do a little food shopping and marvel not only at Roman's fancy <a href="https://www.alpackaraft.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=store.catalog&categoryID=53&P roductID=126">little</a> brand new boat, but also his metrosexual dressage.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/EVGm0FvI6GFCzyUHLKvJ8LNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-btD0YY-nj0U/T0bQSKLvorI/AAAAAAAAe74/ctGoVukNFgc/s800/IMG_9975.jpg" height="800" width="620" /></a>

    Food bought and stowed, we changed into our action-hero duds, stacked bikes into Eric's truck, then hit the road for ANC.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/gDCQkoZ4-WxzcJKCDDadobNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsi te"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-OXwCHtu7ZFk/T0bQTmlfEcI/AAAAAAAAe8A/pC7lgHexLfo/s800/IMG_9981.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    We stopped shortly in Cordova, and the gloomy drizzliness of the place (not far from where we'd be starting) had lumps in all of our throats. Packing for a trip like this is easy--right up until you're on the ground in the rain, wondering how to keep dry and warm.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ToljV15ePDLLSXTVO0CaCrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-qhS9uop_FXI/T0bP8oMb78I/AAAAAAAAe58/8u7ZffFoeqQ/s800/IMG_0003.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Once on the ground in Yakutat Roman vanished while the rest of us unboxed bikes. He reappeared lugging a pile of (Heet) alcohol, a purchase inspired by the Cordova rain.

    Mere words can never convey the relief, elation at finally getting going after so much planning, prep, and travel time.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/9T8XcvDLQsrfoQJYbLyABrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-6X8cd_6nWP0/T0bQGyuZwEI/AAAAAAAAe7E/nulvxH-5IQA/s800/IMG_9349.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    Approaching the beach, marveling at a land of water.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/QFSxo7mGu9KQw3x8PZQEwLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-nMIwBMN2A-Y/T0bP-ObtRDI/AAAAAAAAe6E/ja8R0EUZjsg/s800/IMG_0041.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    I think everyone in the group knew someone that had traveled somewhere on this section of coast. Except me. Breaking out of the trees and finally seeing the ocean was another tremendous relief--that there was actually a beach (not cobbles, not mud) that looked eminently rideable.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/yWC0HRX7D_HQJ0lHUjKwDLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-F25IE7dvuMA/T0bP-1d-58I/AAAAAAAAe6M/zzAzf24V7UY/s800/IMG_0055.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Gorgeous evening light, an enormous sense of gratitude that we'd all made it out safe, nothing to do but ride. And take pics.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/I_-tTWtNbPRaO5V5j7Z_HbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embe dwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-u6XVQCuroIE/T0bP_trTAfI/AAAAAAAAe6U/AqqOXGZQMdU/s800/IMG_0155.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    These derelict remains were the site of a wall ride, a micro huck, and considerable (literal) relief.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/mt3ClF-hDn3hI6LpLEM2KbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedweb site"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-0BRcSvO3QBI/T0bQAbTLA7I/AAAAAAAAe6c/_2XiiryvlsI/s800/IMG_0172.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/xuMee-NuazceJ6aH8e1QcLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwe bsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-_ezTUD8jQsc/T0bQA2s63TI/AAAAAAAAe6k/Ip_3HAn4e3g/s800/IMG_0175.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Like a handful of exuberant schoolboys we explored our new environment: climbing bluffs to see what lay yonder, flipping over half-buried shells, telling what we knew about the visible flora and fauna, walking the plank just to see if we could.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/qT283CkF7IEcBEaVgueII7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-EUhVVpOZ8mc/T0bQO_Xm-lI/AAAAAAAAe7w/TQwpc0ZmtXQ/s800/IMG_9601.jpg" height="800" width="535" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/h5NJGXZkxJYzlypS4Dr4JrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-PHBQnDGniqY/T0bQB5AaLGI/AAAAAAAAe6s/SlRJJTUgcFQ/s800/IMG_0260.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    The place was filthy with eagles, none of which let us get close.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/7uPeKzfdmuqONcTpoXhTabNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-VDHoHEObQoI/T0bQINwowLI/AAAAAAAAe7M/Vqagxp6Y8NU/s800/IMG_9379.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    As evening faded into night, thick clouds obscured the sun. Which hardly mattered because it sets so late up here. We rode on and on, and at least one of us began to fade after a looooong day+ of sleepless travel.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/LAQByPy91EaRwVcEX0aFKLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8sUqMOhe4VI/T0bQJXVbDYI/AAAAAAAAe7U/xuj8UaAAS10/s800/IMG_9454.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    Eventually we bumped into a river that required inflating boats to cross. Rather than risk getting wet right before bed, we backtracked a bit in search of a suitable camp spot.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/3pghX_ldK8C-ah-wBdP6c7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><i mg src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-rhrmyf2Aec4/T0bQClrqM3I/AAAAAAAAe60/vMfaRi3UJSk/s800/IMG_0299.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    I figured anyplace above the high tide line but still on the sand would be good--far fewer bugs there. But everyone else seemed fixed on getting off the sand entirely.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/kOLWYbG9YpNlGK-iihJtPbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><i mg src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-MwrDydOf-cg/T0bQLslgxlI/AAAAAAAAe7c/uLIRdguuTzs/s800/IMG_9495.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    When you're the FNG and as green as I am, you follow the leads of others and try to keep your yap shut.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/tT3Y6ZpEpFAYMJidkYHYkbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-H3AilVeoyh4/T0bQNiMIuaI/AAAAAAAAe7o/_YzFbP_Osl4/s800/IMG_9563.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Home.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/qTY9Ry028Ct2IX8BmvMj27NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-NwezOmJhdeM/T0bQD4sFZ6I/AAAAAAAAe68/Afxr19Y1Dy4/s800/IMG_0325.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    It seemed like minutes after arriving at camp the others were passed out and snoring. The novelty of the place was too much for me though, and I wandered around camp, down to the river, up into the trees for another ~hour before finally bedding down. Then I made another in a string of full-on rookie gaffes: in the act of rolling from my back to my side I opened my eyes, noting the brightness inside of the tent. Must be morning! Surprised the others weren't yet up, but unwilling to waste any precious daylight, I dressed and shod myself and wandered back out to the beach, camera in hand. It'd be another hour+ til it occurred to me to wonder what time it was: 3:45AM. By the time I got back to the tent, undressed and climbed back into my bag, the others were beginning to stir for day two in the land of ceaseless daylight.

  29. #29
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    Two.

    Breakfast was brief and to the point, partially due to our dry camp, but largely (so it seemed to me) because we were all still jazzed to see what lay around the next bend.

    Just a few hundred meters from camp the Situk River crossed our path, necessitating use of our little boats.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/vUNT5FhCJ633hLDKzKe5irNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-nvo5LbSqquU/T0g_j2SQUOI/AAAAAAAAfAY/NSHx6lMtFSQ/s800/IMG_9628.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    A pattern established itself quickly: Eric would inflate his boat most of the way, toss his bike haphazardly across the bow, then slide in and paddle across, full on disaster style, while the rest of us looked on slackjawed or fumbled with our pack straps.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/x7aWxJOAIlDY94G_nD-TObNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-uI0IhqndmXc/T0g_i22_jOI/AAAAAAAAfAQ/UvADnNDEE6U/s800/IMG_9623.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    By the time any of us even had our boats inflated, Eric would be across, packed up, and scouting the next section.

    Here Doom and Eric kill time waiting for me to quit screwing around with the camera.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/OWjJhFfL64KkixEAyEFdurNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-_2KLKuCtwys/T0g_k-qyV5I/AAAAAAAAfAg/ds21uI4eGMY/s800/IMG_9634.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Dictionary definition for today's riding would simply be: interesting. There was always something happening, never too exciting, just enough to command your attention and focus here, now.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Uu9eTRZXvqfFvzmaKDRharNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-wjXwdqRjtUk/T0g_nyY9OYI/AAAAAAAAfBA/Bg05ke2T88Q/s800/IMG_9745.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Through the morning we picked our way through driftwood laced dunes and across micro sized tidal sloughs. We saw terns and gulls, pipers and plover, discussed isopods and apopods, and were constantly surrounded by eagles.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ubfXttLJPOWoQj3CgKSCPrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-rXYJ5R4u8xs/T0g_pMDyFeI/AAAAAAAAfBI/v3dMthd-t0k/s800/IMG_9816.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/DH6bO6N0WUpOKnBYQVPPfbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-eb79qR-dXoI/T0g_Vp160_I/AAAAAAAAe-4/GCGmW4vDu8E/s800/IMG_0361.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/v5YIVy8nY5KBnfmEF6DXJrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-OxXSuzARjzw/T0g_lg1qQ0I/AAAAAAAAfAo/-j74p3QC1gc/s800/IMG_9651.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/DIAK1pQOYrV_SkMk2TU52rNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-_34y95bOphc/T0g_L4bpTKI/AAAAAAAAe9g/m2c27u3vi40/s800/IMG_0057.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    I did my best to follow the leads of the others. Like Dylan, here, in silent contemplation of where we were.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/tCmXjrcH1P8qJZE885MAwrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-pJ9LEOcCDUA/T0g_bVfaO7I/AAAAAAAAe_Q/hSxA47rVXM4/s800/IMG_0431.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Or Roman inspecting and speculating on the tracks of bears.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/WmGuJTRz1xnNJPmsgc2DZrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-27n_waJ2olQ/T0g_qa4tn2I/AAAAAAAAfBQ/28suqrBd7ww/s800/IMG_9823.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Lest things get too serious, Doom was always there to break things up with a lowbrow joke--the best kind.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/InzJpdBji5QksPFgQDWLhrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-znhpx0Rphfw/T0g_iHJv8nI/AAAAAAAAfAI/LKspoOlgJ2Y/s800/IMG_0650.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Noonish we arrived at the Dangerous River, crossing a long tidal flat before touching tidewater.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/dNp7JH7Trw9ckADxa8b38rNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ZzCa-ymUFKA/T0g_X4qzZGI/AAAAAAAAe_A/6-b0Fwa2tfc/s800/IMG_0389.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    I'd been warned (by whom I couldn't remember) about big currents near the mouth of the river, and was relieved to follow Dylan and Eric a bit upstream before inflating boats to cross.

    They were always there, watching.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/UoS1xqgAClLTPEbopGq84LNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-PIuMh4WrHsE/T0g_mUjmmVI/AAAAAAAAfAw/jK_BVwL07CQ/s800/IMG_9686.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    The paddle across was uneventful--serving merely to break up the pedaling.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Wl4s_qsK8YbQyorx-laIhbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-1kwMJgnkUVQ/T0g_nPUYBoI/AAAAAAAAfA4/Nzg_Fjrs4Pw/s800/IMG_9711.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Late afternoon we stopped, built a fire, had coffee and snacks and even micro naps.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/bseFA9fnhmA7ClZWi7rrmrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-vHFGJwpFXsI/T0g_ZQJPSUI/AAAAAAAAe_I/jaSvhuOtSMg/s800/IMG_0409.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Interesting riding continued into the evening.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/PD5c3v1KMgdxgzjKTvTR87NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-GDlqWxvDHvM/T0g_rD3iH6I/AAAAAAAAfBY/cAK4zLSYhJg/s800/IMG_9845.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/kz9mQ2T6C-UBc3YEoMA9qLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsit e"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-hh4cg4tyH3s/T0g_sHa7lyI/AAAAAAAAfBg/tf6oh5LN91g/s800/IMG_9873.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/S_77fZGEu02ys15-_GqmmLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><im g src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-ufPtTuApTqE/T0g_duj1AqI/AAAAAAAAe_g/ZsCd1vsXr1k/s800/IMG_0471.jpg" height="800" width="728" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/H_9oq-2WKz8zeqfSA5AR1LNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwe bsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-QEb-uq0wycA/T0g_t-Wkt7I/AAAAAAAAfBw/xH348Yeb64c/s800/IMG_9897.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/m5IXJzVWYAsJDYsgXhme8LNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Py0OeAcdmZQ/T0g_UV4q4XI/AAAAAAAAe-w/n1ySl2CCNgk/s800/IMG_0339.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Y5uoWD2BEO4ogLgGEiD6-rNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-ovBh_DNO_Ig/T0g_syNo2SI/AAAAAAAAfBo/DtK9FCXRbdc/s800/IMG_9880.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Always something new to see, admire, discuss.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/4NPxzZ6Z3xQlIO9-W1E0a7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><im g src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-LeIUPPzX6Oc/T0g_uzUARvI/AAAAAAAAfB4/2OyT3irUlJQ/s800/IMG_9921.JPG" height="488" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/D28iW7zW6q4BRCZktCP2srNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-32VCpRYWMtc/T0g_wn40HjI/AAAAAAAAfCI/mXSYD34l2dY/s800/IMG_9987.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/s3bI24kPR1GEJ0hHyFqz6bNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-0N2Ndtjbpn0/T0g_vmkDjyI/AAAAAAAAfCA/WkPN_HNtG6w/s800/IMG_9957.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/xFqLAivIOs3QzoBFk4pkK7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-1ivbppDVMW4/T0g_P5qIeMI/AAAAAAAAe-I/_DBty4GEpys/s800/IMG_0183.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ZR78OzvewzKIUsRt7A7gCbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-sUa41xFZF24/T0g_gV7ba0I/AAAAAAAAe_4/twVVmYC3NbM/s800/IMG_0587.jpg" height="800" width="535" /></a>

    Around 8 the clouds released the sun, illuminating our world with what I can only refer to as 'god light'. Seemed like about the same time the beach became even firmer and smoother. We swooped and carved, laughing and dodging the incoming waves with meager success.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/wJ3JiqRPU2zE2GAElg0skLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-7wVQURsOmlk/T0g_hYLLZCI/AAAAAAAAfAA/yprFvNWfksk/s800/IMG_0625.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/6rO_CnOik0uZkBg51X0xZrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-m50NRavUaA4/T0g_effN0SI/AAAAAAAAe_o/OKq7PUyKhmE/s800/IMG_0565.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/mALFGxXx2WwxfXsaHVjGfbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-_M_Pebql3i4/T0g_M3_v79I/AAAAAAAAe9o/tqIxJbwJzUg/s800/IMG_0078.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Just before ten someone suggested calling it a day, and we all instantly veered 90 degrees left to look for a suitable spot.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/vroupdaDruvZSl_QqjYbDrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-cmkt8w2vFq8/T0g_NSwpNLI/AAAAAAAAe9w/DRbR9wZfCG0/s800/IMG_0154.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/-lrrFqXfKO4UbkfBsS_8JbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=em bedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-rHxbHCw0MT8/T0g_OzQsmtI/AAAAAAAAe-A/56Yv_fvo3Ys/s800/IMG_0164.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/eaSugXBqiA7caegwWNqJ3bNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-CZCu6Sm5qxk/T0g_OFfgUPI/AAAAAAAAe94/7Ag1ShCtme0/s800/IMG_0163.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Maybe 15 minutes later the tents were up and water was heating over the driftwood fire. Mount St. Elias is the 18,000' pyramid beyond Eric's 'mid.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/40Swth40f0GhTHzjwRaTyrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-HRG1tfPeDYo/T0g_QsO8I0I/AAAAAAAAe-Q/8yXAedHZEFE/s800/IMG_0187.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Campfire talk took us past the eleven-thirty-ish sunset and on into the night.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/yi6kQV8JBwyk3SFXMMRwB7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Gwmv9DF9KFY/T0g_R4xInmI/AAAAAAAAe-g/P037OWp3n-4/s800/IMG_0198.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

  30. #30
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    Glad to see you re-visit the thread.

    Keep them coming please.
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  31. #31
    Anchorage, AK
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    The backpacks seem like they would have been the toughest part of the trip. Could you have used fat tired bob trailers instead?

  32. #32
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    Three.

    We woke to more gorgeous weather: Light overcast, light winds, warm temps. Pretty much heavenly--but then anything other than heavy wind or heavy rain felt that way to me.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/QY1Lfs1_bAO4Mt9XhCem2rNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-3s6boHn7wUw/T0iIT_cuNnI/AAAAAAAAfCc/ZcUG5U2K8Z4/s800/IMG_0205.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    Almost immediately after leaving camp we began popping our heads over the dune line to determine when we could head inland to catch the earliest edge of an angling Dry Bay.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/0DYRjCdvDkwZcpbb-jnSQrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-MdM2m2Hblgk/T0iIU5pnqFI/AAAAAAAAfCk/HSD3GHNI8gE/s800/IMG_0218.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    A mile or better past where we thought we'd be heading in, we crossed the dunes and pedaled increasingly soft sand toward the Alsek. Views beyond the water hinted at what was to come.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/6voMbcozwBxrwkY14LcfdrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-YT7ycAVIlnE/T0iIV2VbW_I/AAAAAAAAfCs/-fVCTHtqkPQ/s800/IMG_0255.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    The crossing of the Alsek was uneventful but for the curious harbor seals coming as close as they dared to inspect us.

    We landed on a beautiful stretch of beach on the south side, where Roman promptly called for a coffee break.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/mZQHY0Ew_aHQIHQYifCAFbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-oOkGbZ2ctQM/T0iIWqXnjGI/AAAAAAAAfCw/0vgEFq24HR8/s800/IMG_0297.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/1QVbGXB-F7Q2-4152Dgwu7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"> <img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-5vtkYPQiNY8/T0iIXYbrLmI/AAAAAAAAfC4/KURgqWwOzas/s800/IMG_0301.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/VbMVIxI7W0EgqPW2m3Dj2rNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-9ggo-IJpPJ8/T0iIYXjceAI/AAAAAAAAfDE/Xjugxx6SXVo/s800/IMG_0368.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Two hours later we were refreshed and recharged, and back out onto yet another gorgeous stretch of firm-riding beach. Potentially my favorite shot of the trip right here: Massive wall of mountains to our left, crashing, pounding surf to our right, fragile little us in the middle. Moments of intense, gratuitous humility like this one remain a prime motivator for me.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/kXB4G-4Xg4yzA2fQ7Jbyc7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwe bsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-GqlrQ7uG6hI/T0iIZKiv8BI/AAAAAAAAfDM/RlKEpJnZcq0/s800/IMG_0392.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    We hopscotched back and forth from firm beach to soft dunes, across river mouths and along sloughs, doing what needed to be done to get past the remnants of the Alsek.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ezKk_7DCkWLaBv49tgjQULNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-yoVjuPz79E8/T0iIZ3FJL8I/AAAAAAAAfDU/y4cy3JL5wXw/s800/IMG_0417.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/pL2jsMYbBYWIaBIKSXAOc7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-J7FYvU_V07c/T0iIa8vimQI/AAAAAAAAfDc/kmvXH8Mguno/s800/IMG_0427.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Tanking up on a 'hot' day.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/f7k-I8n1eaUuhjzbPeBJmbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embed website"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Y_N71hxxv9o/T0iInhrCKqI/AAAAAAAAfFE/TfG7xSC6r3E/s800/IMG_0690.jpg" height="800" width="624" /></a>

    Rib.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/CoJQfnranxlefStjH-Y4m7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-s1AKBcTyN5E/T0iIkVlkf9I/AAAAAAAAfEs/dzCdzw1gF9k/s800/IMG_0674.jpg" height="800" width="535" /></a>

    Late in the afternoon we hit beautiful firm beach again, riding effortlessly for an hour or two under the immensity of the looming Fairweather Range.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/e_lLXeNEzP0hswyoh9u2G7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Xkb_v5UEW4E/T0iIb8woGrI/AAAAAAAAfDk/TbWKWe1kx8Y/s800/IMG_0438.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/pXrJmTibNc8wcZaZiw8GnLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-nbDO6SEArf0/T0iIcXTjisI/AAAAAAAAfDs/6xY9rRidv2w/s800/IMG_0446.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Nq9Yj6K8p28GBH2J43sszbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ZepU2sc_i9s/T0iIdHH6VVI/AAAAAAAAfD0/UHeAF2cV-u4/s800/IMG_0468.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    Cameras blazed from every direction but Dylan's--he owns one but figured the rest of us probably had it covered, so he left it at home. I envied that a bit.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/xx-hnARnXRDq78KnKly2TLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embe dwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-v4lH32IaBuQ/T0iIfGJv2II/AAAAAAAAfEE/wmjZJmgrXtA/s800/IMG_0496.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/RlGEOru8Mn7uD70crdJdTrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-v4reT_UR55Q/T0iIeAEUgmI/AAAAAAAAfD8/HYEhDcYwiec/s800/IMG_0474.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/DhXytKSe31yYkV8YR-YYQbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-lfQhdtZ8mOk/T0iIgufPalI/AAAAAAAAfEM/hu0MvrkWybA/s800/IMG_0507.jpg" height="800" width="535" /></a>

    Ultimately all good things must morph into something else, and the massive boulders on the beach indicated that change was afoot. Eric made a token effort at finding a path through, but returned shortly and we all set about preparing to hike up into the rainforest.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/h1qhBq_k7zNhOtKIisetKLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Lvr3L2GbxmU/T0iIhiK1siI/AAAAAAAAfEU/o7jAV-v5WkA/s800/IMG_0522.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/V15C0Ud7Eh59AxwaXnsqBLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-nPinVqB3NyE/T0iIotlWb2I/AAAAAAAAfFM/uDCA4gJfi2M/s800/IMG_0759.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    I've mentioned that I felt fully green in this place and in the presence of these men, yeah? This is precisely where the gulf widened. Eric had insisted that we all needed a pack big enough to stuff *everything* into, thereby lightening the bikes for more easy pushing, shoving, carrying, and even ghostriding. Only he never verbalized the last part, merely insisted that we needed big packs. My inexperience in this environment meant that I simply didn't "get it". I was about to learn.

    While the others stripped bags and boats from their bikes and shoved them into their ~55 liter packs, I removed the pedals from my bike and stashed them somewhere in the tight confines of my piddly 22L satchel. There wasn't much more that I could do. Once into the woods, the difference in traveling speed and relative level of exertion was immense. A heavy pack is still a heavy pack, but it's far, far more manageable than a laden bike. They were floating while I floundered.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/EwSAq9alxhaI1DncJ5T8prNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-xK4LF8_deSA/T0iIv1x2cSI/AAAAAAAAfF4/sLwqJdLgr2k/s800/IMG_0825.jpg" height="800" width="535" /></a>

    Where possible we followed well-defined bear trails, picking our way between rocks and placing our feet in the mossy indents left by theirs.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/zLqJcSMiAEo6LAHiMKV90LNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-2NFvugY-Qc0/T0iIw9nWmDI/AAAAAAAAfGA/pHGdQgxUKmU/s800/IMG_0849.jpg" height="800" width="535" /></a>

    The diffuse light and up-close scenery of the forest was a welcome change.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/FN2CjJ7oCEFbT3H6V-rpqbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-dm4puAq2DD0/T0iIt8yTPjI/AAAAAAAAfFs/terQOPepI-4/s800/IMG_0793.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Just enough devil's club to keep you attentive.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Ra6p-rLqLMPQ9CXHh8VQ0bNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedw ebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-g5LNTSDOWq8/T0iIuzC3dbI/AAAAAAAAfFw/eejlrfLdM2g/s800/IMG_0808.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    A very, very brief rideable stretch. With no pedals on the bikes we mostly pushed, carried, and shoved.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/sVenmFYrqslTwRKVD6nWmrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-_mjTNvvEwqY/T0iIrN8MeEI/AAAAAAAAfFc/M8sahft3z6M/s800/IMG_0775.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Despite the intense effort required to make progress, the air got cooler and cooler until I started to shiver through my sweaty clothes. Something was happening...
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Tv5svHjFeGNaZtgsG2eGe7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-VLrXGGFcGGM/T0iIp3rRuOI/AAAAAAAAfFU/rITqdQZDrsU/s800/IMG_0761.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Topping a small knob allowed us to set the bikes down and peer through the trees. Aha.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/mimv8CaSYxiMBoHgoj8inLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-ytU7EoEaOU4/T0iIiVjoNLI/AAAAAAAAfEc/huOhvGFzbBk/s800/IMG_0546.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    With nowhere left to walk we set about inflating the boats on whatever approximation of flat ground we could.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/xm7vqNCDjRPy81jUjTIjMLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Ot5lEUYRIIs/T0iIzxqjz9I/AAAAAAAAfGQ/NCuh8jlGxgw/s800/IMG_0857.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/f9OHDFAmHEvqk19f9RNsvLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-iXMaFZn6SGE/T0iIydJtRGI/AAAAAAAAfGI/zAKbLgw0RgE/s800/IMG_0855.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Upon putting in we wove through a maze of (what we hoped were) grounded out icebergs, searching for a path into the main lagoon beyond.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/9JflkK8ZsqpCCJA782-Eg7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-sS7UbprUqkM/T0iIlUwbE3I/AAAAAAAAfE0/8tifzFgT_jY/s800/IMG_0685.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/M1W-mNnemWgMJ_IBNn_GMbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embed website"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-yVpoCAkbrm8/T0iIjXLF-vI/AAAAAAAAfEk/Xs7OD4AJvWM/s800/IMG_0560.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/m1SeH60TAyULsW0Oi1UQRbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-XIryXrdUs0Q/T0iImLhjwbI/AAAAAAAAfE8/_AxgyH9VD60/s800/IMG_0688.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    We'd put in at around 9:30, and though no one was rushing we all felt a sense of urgency to find a campsite. It was getting colder and darker and the excitement of the afternoon had us all hungry and thirsty. Eventually we settled for a postage-stamp sized beach with not quite enough room for bikes, boats, and tents.

    11pm takeout.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/K8LkfqZw8gKG0krITM5hTLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-KnaM2_p45ac/T0iI0m0h35I/AAAAAAAAfGY/xcGqqIsySjQ/s800/IMG_0870.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    The chill in the air was a miniscule part of what kept me buzzing (and hardly sleeping) all night long. Calvings of the glacier across the lagoon often thundered on for minutes, followed by long uncomfortable silences as we held our breath and waited for tsunamis that never came.

    I'd not willingly trade one moment of sleep for the intense feeling of life that vibrated all through me that night.
    Last edited by mikesee; 02-27-2012 at 09:53 PM.

  33. #33
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    Four.

    Somewhere between first light @ 3AM and when Dylan started rekindling the fire I must have managed a few winks. I felt stiff and sore and beat down inside my bag, but glancing out the tent flaps removed any of those concerns.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/NsTgZj1zZocIxXJxjBvkl7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-nb_A3ygGHhQ/T0kh-pOFd2I/AAAAAAAAfHs/RPlOkRqM5ro/s800/IMG_0906.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    I was *here*, now, and anything beyond that was just going to have to wait.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/nUy_hn1_Ro7Ba_DJn-9kobNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-KVWXGnTxHLA/T0kh9oX_e5I/AAAAAAAAfHk/Cc9cuxJJ6s8/s800/IMG_0895.jpg" height="800" width="535" /></a>

    The view from camp.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/TPIbybisdVQ7h3TPpqsqCrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-h55W0-0DkMs/T0kh1H9-qtI/AAAAAAAAfGk/NG1y3oKoZcw/s800/IMG_0730.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/2ntSRqBwKRTdgtx0n4_mm7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-Z-fsDGzDQ0c/T0kh1wLpIqI/AAAAAAAAfGs/oMeDSkkvueo/s800/IMG_0732.JPG" height="456" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/QYmvyuEVCQCmpFaxhI_FkrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-F5lxtG8lgK8/T0kh4nmutaI/AAAAAAAAfHE/Dnz6WXCAFuQ/s800/IMG_0750.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Doom was already up and rambling about--I sensed a certain manic to his motions (more than normal I mean...) and figured he'd been amped all night too.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Hr8-46fEUNy-MzZ0mtLkHbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite" ><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-HJgug9CxuPs/T0kh2ryiGCI/AAAAAAAAfG0/ppb_NK_tfTo/s800/IMG_0733.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Roman was stirring but Eric was not, so when the thought occurred to just go for a pleasure paddle into the lagoon, I mentioned it to Doom and he blurted his response immediately--some version of '<span style="font-style:italic;">Oh eff yes--just try to stop me!</span>'.

    So we tempered our boats and shoved off.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/SpNYzQBbnD6QdW6qj3Bh_bNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-nQ_KkdQmkF0/T0kh_itbbXI/AAAAAAAAfH0/3Z3dgSsuL18/s800/IMG_0913.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/uGu3NWsEGvzrMEcmwXRfr7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-STfzCIKI91g/T0kh57lEBtI/AAAAAAAAfHM/VCxtwTG81hY/s800/IMG_0756.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/LS3d1XOYDLdWK5QSwDPHxrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-alPgq-cqMKo/T0kh6xw8vwI/AAAAAAAAfHU/A1TAhC8ugpI/s800/IMG_0805.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Paddling an unladen boat through this ethereal scene was nothing shy of delicious. Not a lick of wind, no noise other than the rasp of glacial silt against the paddle and then drops of water falling back to their rightful resting place. One of the most prized hours of the trip, for me.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/nObJsQgXeEqGeAsCqtZCB7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-D9CClVvSM3o/T0kh3jnbaCI/AAAAAAAAfG8/O9Aj8TusSCs/s800/IMG_0749.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/LTufKmlas6GVtmI7PPAblLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-BRvyve1cbk8/T0kh8ak9HSI/AAAAAAAAfHc/dqXbrvwOwTc/s800/IMG_0824.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Eventually we could see that the others were up and starting to tear camp down, so we made our way back, giddy inside and out.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/qr41UVr0rs1k3THgSg9U8LNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Y_BJMfBJImY/T0kiBAsBIgI/AAAAAAAAfIE/p2InojCv7SM/s800/IMG_1004.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    Coffee and vittles consumed and camp broken, we battened down bikes and shoved off for real. It was awesome to see the level of giddy the others immediately rose to once out among the bergs. We probed in and out of melt pools, eased under overhangs, even posed for pics, laughing and nodding our approval all the while.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/E8igLAUYEMIoGMw2ZTiYVLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ATyBieTffJQ/T0kiB95O0EI/AAAAAAAAfIM/c7sHlFlLm88/s800/IMG_1038.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/4E1-8VE-zBBR60q12uSuz7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebs ite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-gibreg1k7OQ/T0kiAKsAmQI/AAAAAAAAfH8/Y52XpHXzuZw/s800/IMG_0983.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/CnI3QJBOB-UNn18EbykperNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsit e"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-0hBqt_PPb0A/T0mVcMWpAQI/AAAAAAAAfKc/nKMsAg9m3eg/s800/IMG_1093.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/XxYMngXxLpxDcD-KPvkVwbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><i mg src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-eDM9qJTgcIk/T0mVbsS2w8I/AAAAAAAAfKU/la7Q61lw-t8/s800/IMG_1078.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Eventually the end of the lake came, but not before challenging us with a teeny bit of an ice maze to navigate.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/GonPN_v5f4qubMJO2nDk5bNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-FUUFTzEZmY8/T0kiI6rK4iI/AAAAAAAAfJA/8RuzknbtYts/s800/IMG_1257.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    We weren't even fully out of the boats before the bugs descended and proceeded to feast. And it was only going to get worse for awhile.

    The maps showed an outflow stream leaving the lake, headed for the coast. I think we'd even entertained the idea of being able to paddle some of it. But there'd be none of that--it wasn't really a stream anymore, more of a linear bog. And it was rarely deep enough for boats, always slimy underfoot, and usually the most direct route was choked with veg that needed to be bashed through or crawled under.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/xZcqeO8Vexw0OFjFG4sBD7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-eLMfusNAjpU/T0kiKBJfOzI/AAAAAAAAfJI/Suds9t9kLiE/s800/IMG_1261.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    This is about as good as it got--when we'd pop out into an opening big enough to flap our arms at the bugs for a moment.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/AKpzSrC9D1Kg4QBuuVu1CLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-bdlfTdgQMd0/T0kiLLTlylI/AAAAAAAAfJQ/8kSkEeLngn0/s800/IMG_1283.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    And then we'd dive back in. 'Thick' is the one word that best described it. I saw bears looming behind every stump and snag, which means I kept my cameras holstered--didn't want to risk falling behind the group.

    We could hear breakers crashing into the beach long before we arrived. I think we were all daydreaming about being back out in the open when the bear charged. I was furthest from it--could feel the wave of adrenaline pass through the others on her way to me. Doom was closest, and spent the next hour awake, alert, and yammering on about every detail indelibly etched onto his retinas.

    Perhaps a meal for our ursine friend not so long ago? Seemed likely to me at that moment.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/qgyVHoIYTNdUD5bewlfWr7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-V14jONRBGb4/T0kiMc4CO9I/AAAAAAAAfJY/krGEFaa4VWg/s800/IMG_1284.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    One last pond to wade and then we could feel the breeze on our cheeks as we sat in the warm sand threading pedals back into cranks.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/jcKiQ-uKF_Ed2ULl_7iTvLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwe bsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-H9vwLMaMfQY/T0kiDRk0PEI/AAAAAAAAfIY/amUsOV5Fgo8/s800/IMG_1135.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    It felt so, so very sweet to get back to pedaling effortlessly along.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Yq7ZOqs0YUSxKUFrnzR8PbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-lxgsiMwTb2A/T0kiNYbZkjI/AAAAAAAAfJg/oxog3LujILQ/s800/IMG_1298.jpg" height="800" width="535" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Y0e013vFQGMX4rxjjiFY27NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-UVxXdaYyTRU/T0kiOgGQtZI/AAAAAAAAfJo/ZCbcIEjsVqU/s800/IMG_1335.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/mouj2eBbvpuleaXykJLDwrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-iGKQxrUV6mo/T0kiEBTFdJI/AAAAAAAAfIg/QfZxh7WlZ5g/s800/IMG_1144.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Mileage-wise the day hadn't been anything to speak of, but the cumulative effects of the past few days had taken a toll. I was knackered, and as the day wound down I found myself falling further behind the group. Had I been willing to holster the cameras and *just* ride I <span style="font-style:italic;">might</span> have been able to catch up, but, I reasoned with myself, how likely is it that I'll ever get to see this place again? I figured they'd be easy enough to 'catch' when they stopped to camp. Meanwhile, too much to see to worry about hammering.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/v8n-8QtvREIP7jF1GKSyDbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embed website"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-e03npAEOaYY/T0kiIOX-hKI/AAAAAAAAfI4/mK4k5V9VIts/s800/IMG_1210.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Those aren't people prints.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/l7cHWUPE-SeQPrckChlZq7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsi te"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-ioSZ0bT_NG4/T0kiPmzefuI/AAAAAAAAfJw/iq_9Px8woR4/s800/IMG_1369.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/LwpBVRR8BBgVSZXuH2u6obNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Js5Pj8OAnLY/T0kiGQvOjrI/AAAAAAAAfIw/rA2crUqXI9E/s800/IMG_1191.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/kmTMnmj7rAgWgglBQCGJo7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-hniA0t0thwM/T0kiQYf_fTI/AAAAAAAAfJ4/zc93wsxUK9E/s800/IMG_1391.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    I caught the gang as they got busy excavating spots for the tents amidst these cobbles.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/iilf09F595kLKJZZsxIABLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-M41lgiac2lU/T0kiRTUoqSI/AAAAAAAAfKA/xnl2JzEODxM/s800/IMG_1432.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Another calm evening descended as we warmed water, rehydrated grub, then lay under intermittent stars, feeding a driftwood fire while recounting scenes from this and other memorable days of our lives.

    These days were so full, so rich...

    The thought that floated through my muddled brain as I fell off was this: It seemed like we'd already gotten our money's worth 100 times over, yet we hadn't even covered half of the route.

    Stick with me--so much more to come.

    MC

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    but glancing out the tent flaps removed any of those concerns.
    Just wow to the entire post. And a bear charging to finish it off!

    Question regarding post 2 or 3: Who was "watching" Are those little seal heads I see?
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  35. #35
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    Some amazing shots.

  36. #36
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    Congrats again on a safe and successful trip. Man... you guys scored on the weather. Even the ocean was like a pond. I remember the surf was flat for about three weeks. Thanks for sharing all the great photos.

    Cheers,
    Steve

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enel View Post
    Just wow to the entire post. And a bear charging to finish it off!

    Question regarding post 2 or 3: Who was "watching" Are those little seal heads I see?
    Yup, harbor seals. Curious critters. Didn't get to the sea lions, puffins, and porpoises til later.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarNorth View Post
    Congrats again on a safe and successful trip. Man... you guys scored on the weather. Even the ocean was like a pond. I remember the surf was flat for about three weeks. Thanks for sharing all the great photos.

    Cheers,
    Steve
    We definitely felt like we got away with something weather-wise.

    But "flat" surf? I guess it's a matter of perspective!

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    We definitely felt like we got away with something weather-wise.

    But "flat" surf? I guess it's a matter of perspective!
    Sorry... flat for surfing that is.

  40. #40
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    Five.

    Our campsite was chosen because it was the only ~flat ground nearby that was ~big enough to host two tents. We'd removed as many cobbles as possible, ceasing digging only when we reached bedrock. Then adjusting the layout of each tent and sleeping position accordingly. It was kind of a novel challenge.

    But the spot we ended up with was mere inches above the most recent high tide line, which meant that whenever a wave crashed in the night I sat bolt upright in my bag, fearing that our gear was being pulled out or that we were about to be very wet and very cold.

    I'm such a drama queen. The water never got close enough to worry about--all that was achieved with my worrying was a continued lack of good rest.

    Packing up after breakfast.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/tYu66MdZUtQol2rmdBGKXbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-CMV7ek64CHI/T0mrmkbzv8I/AAAAAAAAfMA/mtSqlNlGemI/s800/IMG_1445.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    I noted the fine condition of all of our chains and took the time to lube and drag mine. Always the optimist. It was a nice gesture but we rode so little this day it hardly mattered.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/RPQ6IF0bDRz5kY9dQx5lOrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-jjSNt0jTDgc/T0mrl9j_VzI/AAAAAAAAfL4/XUs8_XVh8Pw/s800/IMG_1440.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    For a good chunk of the day we pushed and carried our bikes over and through this:
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/EhOdLwYgGSbhOcaL8e0rjLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-5B7lKhrJUFo/T0mrccjKfVI/AAAAAAAAfKw/wxkFoZUDDcI/s800/IMG_1240.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    Again the others moved so much faster, more effortlessly through that I saw them mostly at breaks, or when the boulders had gotten so massive that they'd scout before proceeding.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/yJmGF50Qiu--dE_YwuoNLrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite" ><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-MKuLm5lStic/T0mrdUP7EtI/AAAAAAAAfK4/Li7BiwOuhSk/s800/IMG_1245.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/riT6Cvk7nN_4Fg8jPwkm5bNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-HomdvLx8kPQ/T0mrblomvCI/AAAAAAAAfKo/cqt9XBEQxR8/s800/IMG_1224.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    I had a hard time determining whether they were taking breaks because they really needed them, merely wanted them, or simply felt bad for leaving me so far behind. There was nothing to be done for it, so I just kept plodding as efficiently as I could and tried to get a bit ahead whenever they gave me the chance.

    No one likes to be the reason for slowing a group down, so I vowed to limit the amount of pics I took on this day--tried to make them really count. That was fine and it may have even helped some, but the reality was that they were moving so much faster regardless that it was almost a token gesture. Eric's legs are as long as I am tall, and he confessed to a compulsive need to move as fast as possible (<span style="font-style:italic;">"I just put my head down and GO..."</span>) when 'schwacking. Then off he went. Roman's bike was so light, and he so adept at choosing lines and hopscotching from boulder to boulder, that he was almost as fast as Eric. Doom and Dylan were just plain better athletes, I guess.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ZwVPYSXhm5zE1MkiZAHN-7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-g5ksIYm17EQ/T0mrhzRakzI/AAAAAAAAfLY/uNyHeHP7X_o/s800/IMG_1284.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    I vowed not to dwell on the speed I couldn't go, instead focusing my thoughts on how I could lighten my load to move faster on future, similar trips. A bigger pack was clearly needed. Less camera gear was obvious, but my heart wasn't fully in that--you can only get so much with a P&S. I knew that this would be my first and last bike and boat trip with a rear rack--it got in the way when paddling, got hung up in brush when 'schwacking, and gave me too big of a platform on which to place too big of a stuffsack. Without the rack I'd be forced to carry less, and in so doing would move faster for a host of reasons.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Z6_Ho5yiMTNsJ-_GuLWg8rNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite">< img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-VoFoxoV99jw/T0mrnn8oPMI/AAAAAAAAfMI/8qgvlwgd1Mg/s800/IMG_1463.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    It was starting to make some sense.

    Beach booty.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/TDQJGaFYTwq9602D_JhwJLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-TJIEY64n2EA/T0mrevoocUI/AAAAAAAAfLA/aUTXGxMHjNw/s800/IMG_1254.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/EmA9Ej85KiUw6TdQAbpafLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-uLdJ9bRSCmU/T0mroprKCzI/AAAAAAAAfMQ/Tks7ehP7sw4/s800/IMG_1469.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Slow as the travel was through the cobbles and boulders, near the south end of Cape Fairweather things actually got worse.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/_qRBoCSBXaSPcrsyT-TuYrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-i6GqN8MoaNc/T0mrrgcX3uI/AAAAAAAAfMg/XGGiNvbRFdo/s800/IMG_1501.jpg" height="800" width="535" /></a>

    When I arrived here I didn't immediately see the others, and could scarcely imagine how they'd crossed this tangled mess and gotten completely out of sight so fast. They were practically underfoot--laughing and joking as always from a protected spot between two massive boulders.

    Upon resuming we took a different tack--up into the woods.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/tW5XgdhFd0YQJFcYPHUbTrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-1rYwLBSB4z8/T0mrfr2WN_I/AAAAAAAAfLI/7VJOp8CzWHA/s800/IMG_1263.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    From a certain perspective, it was a lot better up there.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/uof7RAn9EYB2gep5Kw1CxLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-S5dDyVrHpjE/T0mrhB7VOAI/AAAAAAAAfLQ/YxdQhFeXMik/s800/IMG_1269.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    We'd heard the bear trails through here were ab-fab, and for a person afoot with no bike, they'd have been stellar. But although bears make good trails they don't do so on their hind legs, nor do they schlep bikes along with them. We did lots of crawling, muttering, scrambling, head scratching, and backtracking. In reality, the progress up here was merely a change of scenery--no different in terms of speed or effort.

    Can't remember verbalizing it, but as I snapped this pic I wondered how many generations of bears had trodden in those prints?
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/BthtNHbhXttuo7KBDdYIQLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-aJ5ngc7zaoY/T0mrqe37HBI/AAAAAAAAfMY/3LiHanVLtJE/s800/IMG_1485.jpg" height="800" width="535" /></a>

    At some point Roman or Eric poked their head out of the forest and declared that the beach would probably be better now. Glad if only for a change of scenery and a new outlook, we stumbled and dragged ourselves back down.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/nEzWlTIUo7X2NFS2sh8aPrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-MOQnObTWPto/T0mri8_PN_I/AAAAAAAAfLg/waykxjqsE58/s800/IMG_1301.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    An exemplary husband and dad.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Yby_nyDe5_FDwWd4iOp8iLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-ksGVhc_owEM/T0mrjrxoMZI/AAAAAAAAfLo/wpIoxAe1F0E/s800/IMG_1307.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    South of Cape Fairweather the boulders gave way to cobbles, then shortly to beautiful black sand.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/eXbqLepsSDl6q-DFwdPjl7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite">< img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-yTFak_lG_bc/T0mrk1uXRtI/AAAAAAAAfLw/T4OIdo0Vw2o/s800/IMG_1313.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    It was indescribably wonderful to thread pedals back on and then perch atop a bike seat, all weight removed from sore ankles, knees, feet. Doom and Roman fairly raced ahead in their exhilaration, while Eric, Dylan and I moved more sedately, perhaps simply savoring a peaceful end to the day.

    After eleven we arrived at the spot they'd chosen for camp. A fire had been kindled next to a pretty little creek. We cooked, ate, and crashed.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/OysZw5wUDW_9e-nBs7oP2bNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite">< img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-KINAbPh0a_U/T0mrsd3fSwI/AAAAAAAAfMo/rZbUgSEv1tc/s800/IMG_1506.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

  41. #41
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    mc: amazing series of posts. this deserves to be in some sort of coffee table book. outstanding photography as usual...this may sound a bit parrot ish, but thanks again for sharing this - a vicarious adventure indeed...

  42. #42
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    "Where possible we followed well-defined bear trails, picking our way between rocks and placing our feet in the mossy indents left by theirs."

    Just love the offhand way this is mentioned.

    It was also interesting about why there is the need for a big backpack for real adventure riding.

    Great trip report, and I'm with dRjOn, it needs to be a book. Even digital.

    Have you looked at crowdfunding? A British racer, Rob Lee has done this successfully.

    Or you could use iBooks Author and just about copy & paste your thread here into it for a ready made digital book.

    You've probably already considered all this, so if I'm trying to teach you how to suck eggs, sorry.

    Anyhow, your market of at least 2 books is waiting.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  43. #43
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    Wow. In addition to loving all the words and pics I especially liked the two shot sequence from the skull to the giant femur like trees in the next shot. The trip and environment are so giant and epic it was only natural that I saw giant bones rather than dead trees. Thanks a ton for your efforts.
    laotzucycles.blogspot.com

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    "Where possible we followed well-defined bear trails, picking our way between rocks and placing our feet in the mossy indents left by theirs."

    Just love the offhand way this is mentioned.

    It was also interesting about why there is the need for a big backpack for real adventure riding.

    Great trip report, and I'm with dRjOn, it needs to be a book. Even digital.

    Have you looked at crowdfunding? A British racer, Rob Lee has done this successfully.

    Or you could use iBooks Author and just about copy & paste your thread here into it for a ready made digital book.

    You've probably already considered all this, so if I'm trying to teach you how to suck eggs, sorry.

    Anyhow, your market of at least 2 books is waiting.
    I've always loved the English use of understatement...

    I sat down this fall and laid out a coffee table book with these pics--they look soooo much better (at least to me) writ large.

    But then when I started shopping it around I was fairly dumbstruck at what it was going to cost to print it. Figured not too many people were gonna pay $75+ a pop (before shipping) just to cover my costs. So I shelved it.

    I'd be happy to print up a batch if I thought they wouldn't merely collect dust on my shelves. Am I the only one that that seems like excessive $ to?

    Or am I just (as usual) out of the loop?

    @Jared--glad someone noticed the massive femurs. That's exactly what I saw when I framed that'n. Lions and tigers (and dinosaurs) and bears, oh my...

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    I've always loved the English use of understatement...
    ...if I thought they wouldn't merely collect dust on my shelves....
    Scottish please

    The idea of crowdfunding is that you don't publish until you have attracted enough money to do it.

    We put £ into Rob Lee's book before it was published - the idea being this enables self publishing and you don't risk a cent because it's all covered before you print. The sponsors then get an appropriate number of the books.

    I like the idea of a digital version though. Those photos at max resolution on a big screen would be something a coffee table book couldn't match.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  46. #46
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    truly amazing, well done guys, this should be made into a documentary and shown on tv!
    2014 milage so far - 2,485
    www.ukfatbikes.co.uk

  47. #47
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    Blurb has decent pricing and nice quality. Lots of options too.

    Amazing journey and story-telling.

  48. #48
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    Thanks for sharing Mike, those photos are fantastic!

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nockpoint 01 View Post
    Thanks for sharing Mike, those photos are fantastic!
    My pleasure.

    Have been hoping that my posts here will lure Eric out of hiding to finish his writeup...

  50. #50
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    Six.

    The difficult travel of the previous two days took a toll on all of us--or at least that's the way it seemed as we lollygagged around camp until late in the morning. We stoked up the fire, made coffee, told stories, made more coffee, and just generally seemed in no hurry to get back at it.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/dVmHp42wgVB_rdKVt8E4OLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-yFA_HuVDto0/T0synY3r4nI/AAAAAAAAfM0/0eMKN7rzOSc/s800/IMG_1346.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Some of this might have been trying to time our crossing of nearby Lituya Bay on an incoming tide, but it seemed like everyone just wanted to rest and decompress a bit. That, and the beach looked to be nothing but pushing right out of camp. Dylan finally got us motivated, without a word, simply by taking the initiative to get up and do the dishes.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/FV-p05rfMVJXvtKzSqVwTbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embe dwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-3PI_klMtGGI/T0syoVlt35I/AAAAAAAAfM8/BXFykspdWeQ/s800/IMG_1356.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    And push we did--for all of the 2+ hours it took to get to Lituya. But nothing this morning seemed remotely as tough as all of yesterday--today was just hard walking.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/JjFyhsGv8Il9s728IkI0jrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-Icie6fgi0vU/T0syw3ZbcRI/AAAAAAAAfN8/TAFGS2d1YZY/s800/IMG_1520.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    We thoroughly investigated every bit of beach booty we found that morning, partly out of genuine curiosity and partly just for the diversion from pushing.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/IJzExjSbaeS_vNN921PAA7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-ru-LS7fdtzU/T0syynnMbTI/AAAAAAAAfOI/9NAPTlvDnL8/s800/IMG_1526.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/pF_AWGAKhBvTjaGTsPHEOLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-zsyt97bdnQY/T0sy1-6hW7I/AAAAAAAAfOk/IugwAOTvuNI/s800/IMG_1549.jpg" height="800" width="667" /></a>

    The routine upon arriving at a water crossing was fairly predictable, but it was anything but scripted. Seemed like each and every time we blew up we'd all figure some better way to rig the boat, or lash the bike to it, or at the very least we'd give some new twist a shot even if it failed. Here at the put-in for Lituya, Roman demonstrated a novel '<span style="font-style:italic;">roll 'er on in</span>' approach. You'll have to ask him how it worked out.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/-46WR58gNiE8qxUSmRog9bNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=em bedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-6PFDtOvs8e0/T0sypQcvnaI/AAAAAAAAfNE/IC8KsZK7ZPY/s800/IMG_1366.jpg" height="800" width="535" /></a>

    Crossing Lituya Bay was uneventful in an anxious sort of way. We stayed far enough upstream that the visible crashing breakers at the mouth were never a concern, but ~2/3 of the way across we entered the rushing outflow of the river-within-the-bay where it met the far greater force of the incoming tide. When I saw the obvious line between calm and chaos Doom was just sliding up next to me. After rifling through my memory banks for any clue to what I was seeing and what we should do about it (and coming up empty) I asked him what he thought.

    "<span style="font-style:italic;">Dude...

    ...I have no idea what that is!</span>"

    ...was his response, which wasn't quite the guidance I'd been looking for. My lack of experience at river paddling had me a bit puckered crossing the eddy fence between incoming and outgoing, and having done it just the once made me no more comfortable, minutes later, when we needed to do it again. Ferrying powerfully came naturally--the adrenaline surge virtually demanded it. Such a unique sight to see so much opposing current channeled so tightly in this wide and otherwise calm bay.

    We eddied out and packed up, tanking up on water for what felt to be a scorcher of an afternoon approaching.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/sFH2vOzS5cc-xZob9vf8m7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite" ><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-FUfRj7OsiJk/T0syuhd0iCI/AAAAAAAAfNk/jwhWewwXwgk/s800/IMG_1482.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Rather than following the shoreline around to the mouth of the bay we cut the corner through the woods, angling in what felt like the most direct direction, but needing to do lots of 'schwacking to get back to the beach. Many good bear trails in that forest, but none of them seemed headed our way.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/UZxWvcsqHzGNCzljrl4DibNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-jBbY25k-60s/T0sy3KIi2uI/AAAAAAAAfOs/Te7eNYAHWQ0/s800/IMG_1556.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Even once back to the beach proper it was boulders and cobbles, keeping us to an hours-per-mile pace. We each retreated into those familiar places deep in our own heads. And pushed.

    From inside of the tree line the crashing of the waves was somewhat muted, allowing us to hear other sounds: Wind in the leaves, birds flitting or singing, and of course the constant drone of mosquitoes. But there was another noise--one that reached out to each of us several times, with us dismissing it until, finally, Eric asked Dylan if he heard anything. Dylan smiled an impish grin that didn't really answer the question. I thought I was hearing an outboard motor somewhere offshore. Eric dropped his bike and pushed his way out of the trees, then poked back in, eyes bright and smiling, and motioned for us to come look.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Eyt8sJ2jUrCYNGtzaxNS2rNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-Eou9FtXFBms/T0sysI2i42I/AAAAAAAAfNU/PZeAwpKM59w/s800/IMG_1413.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    If you've ever heard the din (moaningroaningfartingsnarling) that sea lions make you can forgive my 'outboard motor' assumption. We crept as close as we dared, took a few pics, observed them NOT observing us, then crept yet closer.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/0AEJnIrICE699wx9UqVGLLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Hoq3iGW1SIg/T0syq4Y8_cI/AAAAAAAAfNM/gw3hXYXKOb8/s800/IMG_1395.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Even at this distance they paid us no mind, likely because this haulout had proven a safe haven for generations. We couldn't get to them and they knew it.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/kT_DXuJFx73kb5JoYvPO9rNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-sBsLAkNwcAs/T0xixB5NTJI/AAAAAAAAfPk/yVv8EGRAspA/s800/IMG_1399.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    It was neat to observe the ways they'd adapted to get up out of the water--usually waiting for an incoming wave to lift them most of the way before lunging. And even more fascinating to see the hierarchy once up on the rock. Brutally effective is the best way to sum up.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Yb41Vy8BmyLIRiZwsjpF8rNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-a6ljSINfm_w/T0sytCR7p2I/AAAAAAAAfNc/Gdx7k93YJRQ/s800/IMG_1429.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    Then it was back to the slog. Within an hour the boulders gave way to cobbles, and then the cobbles got thinner. And thinner. And then they just tapered off to nothing.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/8llXJMzRtifSktR7yd4KqLNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-2ejABiSgqvg/T0sy5E7nneI/AAAAAAAAfPA/_jcjiJ_-FZI/s800/IMG_1560.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    We stopped there for snacks, rest, and the welcome chore of reinstalling pedals.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/LbZx43nxWpxvLNR2qggHKrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-n38zDprjf5E/T0syvCb_AaI/AAAAAAAAfNs/t7axVrwiaiA/s800/IMG_1493.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Xv9827enmBeQB9VafVIM-LNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-CF3mCqAew8k/T0sy4B-Xx9I/AAAAAAAAfO4/C_RAtwik994/s800/IMG_1558.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    And then it was back to riding. The beach was soft for some reason that I couldn't deduce, but it was still blessed riding.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/e2QEGuOSfIEyzi47n5ctn7NqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-6tMbly3mhPk/T0sy50n-PNI/AAAAAAAAfPI/ggOIhJ6a3hI/s800/IMG_1584.JPG" height="456" width="800" /></a>

    And it actually got much better--delightful even, with an interesting mix of techy rock and exposed bedrock dipping in and out of the intertidal. Truly <span style="font-style:italic;">wild</span> riding.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/_ZcokV_F-lU95ezx3WQmWrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsi te"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-G8GWWeRfbRY/T0sy6sJAfVI/AAAAAAAAfPQ/y9W0RmL5VdM/s800/IMG_1623.jpg" height="800" width="535" /></a>

    The sun went away and the mist rolled in, changing the temperature as fast as the mood. The wind came up and stayed there. Suddenly it didn't feel like such a lark to be out here. I believe the term to describe the change that I felt is <span style="font-style:italic;">foreboding</span>.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/hwvCpJHSTVhFcGsna5U67LNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-SKS77E1oLD8/T0syv-7mHyI/AAAAAAAAfN0/z0iLFqTQrVc/s800/IMG_1501.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    That feeling was reinforced at two difficult water crossings. This coast is steep and cut by rivers draining glaciers. The water roils from beneath ice, cuts through forest, gains energy, crashes forcefully into the sea. The sea crashes back. It is a timeless battle, the casualties of which are usually limited to erosion. Until silly humans with their toys and delusions of grandeur come loping along to get between the two.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/SIGJMIz03-i-xrvzX2PDYrNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite" ><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-s2arh6clWBg/T0syxuOlBBI/AAAAAAAAfOE/TqBnmasu5xU/s800/IMG_1522.JPG" height="455" width="800" /></a>

    The crashing, dumping breakers prevented us from just paddling out to avoid the rivers. The (lack of) depth and steep grade meant that we couldn't paddle across, either. The rounded slimy rocks and powerful current pushed us to undesirable places--sweeping my feet, causing Eric to stumble and drop his bike, forcing Doom back to reassess his line. Even Roman stumbled. We all had a tough time getting across. An exhausting, hyperventilating, stumbling, staggering, wide-eyed and cold-sweat kind of time.

    I'm zoomed in on Roman in the pic above, thus you can't see the real width of the crossing. Nor can you hear the chaos of the waves crashing into the river, feel the power of the current preventing so much as one solid footfall. Perhaps most importantly, you cannot imagine the deep, numbing cold of the glacial runoff our legs are in.

    I'm here to tell you that it was all real, it was real big, and it scared me.

    <span style="font-style:italic;">Scared</span>.

    Later, after dinner, we talked a bit about the day's adventures, but everyone seemed knackered and at best the conversation was thin.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/NvmQvSrq9VbN6cy-TU27TbNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=embedwebsite"><im g src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-JJXeAUk1wNE/T0syzWCbGQI/AAAAAAAAfOQ/I3NkGtVDfvQ/s800/IMG_1532.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    I was knackered too--probably more than the rest. But I wasn't sleepy, not yet. It took a lot of ruminating while staring into the embers to understand why.
    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/HaRHVyQwrJZUtNuehbs3frNqVa4cxzZiKb61FvxUSvk?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Gw3x7Y1o7do/T0sy0AzpkAI/AAAAAAAAfOY/cTMutv1lsco/s800/IMG_1540.JPG" height="537" width="800" /></a>

    There's this quote that I've been carrying around since college. It rears its disheveled head from time to time and I'm honestly never sure exactly what to do with it. The words are attributed to Nietzsche but have probably been re-worked ad infinitum. This night, I don't know if they leapt forward unbidden out of the musty depths or if I deliberately called them up.

    The quote goes something like this: "<span style="font-style:italic;">We moderns, we half barbarians, we are in the midst of our bliss only when we are most in danger. The only stimulus that tickles us is the infinite, the immeasurable...</span>"

    Past altercations with these words have seen me torture them into some sort of quasi-logical justification for solo travel in remote places, for calculated risk-taking regardless of time or place, even as a Malloryesque quip to explain (without really saying a thing) why I'm drawn to attempt such seemingly difficult, dangerous, and frivolous endeavors.

    I worked the words over in my head.

    Added a stick to the fire...

    Settled back down...

    ...and thought some more.

    I may have just gotten tired, rummy enough that I didn't want to think on it any longer, and chose an easy way out. But that quote didn't really seem appropriate to this situation either. I wasn't in the midst of any bliss while struggling across those rivers. I was scared, really frightened, because I knew I wasn't in complete control.

    That sounded right, if incomplete.

    And then I laughed: out loud, tears rolling, belly jiggling--really laughed. At myself, of course. Because only at that moment could I clearly see what a farce the illusion of control really is.

    Before I could get sucked down <span style="font-style:italic;">that</span> rabbit hole I kicked the fire apart and went to bed.

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