There’s simply too much to cover to write any sort of narrative for this post. Instead, we’ll just go over everything in photos, with brief descriptions.
Returning to Seattle after our Alaskan Summer, we settled into our new apartment briefly before packing bags to head east. We spent a lovely weekend up in New Hampshire with family at the new lake house, and Grammy was able to make the trip from Buffalo- her first time getting to meet her great-grandson Elliott. We spent time taking in the beautiful weather and enjoying everyone’s company.
Last post of the our great adventure. A month late to writing it, as life seemed to pick up pace and complexity as we left the wilderness and camping.
On down the Haines Highway, fog enveloped us as we crested the highway pass at 3000 ft. It was a lonely, lovely highway. It seemed untouched, undisturbed, forgotten. The road pulled us back south into British Columbia from the Yukon, and we bid the northern territory goodbye, unsure if we’d ever step foot there again.
Not shockingly, we left Seward the morning of the 21st in the midst of a rain shower. Heading north along the Seward Highway, then splitting off west along the Sterling Highway, our surroundings changed from mountainous to rolling forested flats. Homer sits at the end of the Sterling Highway, and “The Spit” stretches a handful of miles out into Kachemak Bay, only few hundred yards wide and marks the end of the road- as far south on the Peninsula as a car can take you.
Rain again. We slept in at Porcupine Campground in Hope, hoping it would dry up outside before we started packing. It didn’t.
Jamie finalized a blog post as we huddled under our awning. We’d be heading further south in the Kenai, to Seward, so we grabbed coffee at Kayak Coffee Co in town to give our bodies a little extra fuel. I spotted a guy wearing a Bills hat under a pavilion beside the coffee shop’s parking lot.
Oatmeal, yogurt, coffee. It’s amazing that we haven’t tired of the routine yet.
We left Eagle River campground and made our way back into Anchorage for a few more items we’d decided were necessary. I picked up a new air compressor for the tires, as we’d given ours away to a poor soul on the Old Denali Highway with 2 hissing wheels and a handful of miles to get to a service center. Jamie popped into the grocery for a couple more things, and we wasted no time getting out of Anchorage, heading eastward along the Turnagain Arm.
A long, skinny waterway branching east from the Cook Inlet about 40 miles, Turnagain Arm is a a sight. Massive heaps of rock rise up from the mudflats of the Arm on both sides, and the extreme tidal changes give birth to bore tides- one of only a couple places on the planet where you can see the phenomenon. One long, subtle wave pushes massive amounts of water from Cook Inlet into the Arm. Some folks will surf the wave for miles, as it gently ushers them east beneath the towering mountains.
Archie was all stocked up the morning of the 14th. We were anxious as hell to get going. It seems that the longer you wait to set out on a trip like this, the more things pop into your head. “Maybe we need to get another basin for the camp kitchen. Do we have enough fire starters? Is my sock stockpile enough?” Sometimes you just got to get going.
It’s a big trip, no doubt. 7 weeks through Canadian and Alaskan wilderness, camping and living out of the car. But the anticipation can breed stress, and the best remedy is: to go. It’s not a regular vacation. It will be gritty, tough, stressful, spiritual, soul-filling, rewarding. A premium moment in our lives. We’re going to learn, grow, persevere, improvise. But staying present is the goal. We are here.
We’d been in Santa Barbara for a month and a half, and had yet to get out on the water. Jamie took the occasional float in the harbor on a paddleboard, but other than that, it had been a dry stay.
We linked up with Maggie and Brandon, booked a whale watch on a catamaran with Santa Barbara Sailing. It turned out being just a nice day out on the water, as the whales played shy. But it was nice to see the coastline from an offshore vantage point and we spotted some harbor seals sunbathing and perhaps a dolphin. The company gave us a voucher to come back and try our luck again in the future.
We left Harris Beach State Park and made our way into Brookings OR to do some laundry. Brookings is a beautiful area, but the town itself didn’t do much for us.
Jamie restocked on groceries at the market while I tended to our clothes at the laundromat.
About an hour later we were in familiar territory among Northern California’s Redwood forests. A quick walkabout along Cal Barrel Road in the National Park got us stretching our legs a bit, and gazing upward frequently. Nature’s kingdom. We had walked the same road a few years back on our way north to Seattle from Phoenix- with a dog, it was the only exploring we were permitted to do within the Park.
We got a late start on the 8th. Hoping to have left town by late morning, our plans got held up by one thing or another, and we set out around 2pm. I punched in a campground we were hoping to get to in Oregon, but immediately knew that was out of the question. A tractor trailer had rolled over on I-5 along our route, and detours made our trip a couple hours longer.
Boy. It’s been countless weeks since the last post. Life gets in the way, I suppose. Out of concern that we lose the routine of this public journal, I’m going to try to throw together a post.
A whole lot has happened since Thanksgiving time, both personally in our narrative and in the greater human community. Ever-increasing polarity and tensions continue to rock the scene of society. It’s important to take a break from the chaos and noise and get outside. Reconnect. See loved ones and talk about literally anything other than covid and “crazy” people you don’t agree with.
Without further delay, an update from the Mangouris