Some Common Questions (and Answers)

Why are you doing this?

Because it is time for an adventure!  For many years, I’ve wanted to go on an expedition.  Every time I passed a sign that said “Pacific Crest Trail” I felt a tug to pull me along.  Every time I passed a loaded bicycle on a remote road, I felt like I should be doing the same.  I don’t have the need to do this alone though, and the right travel partner was yet to come along.  Some time after Tracy L and I started paddling together, one of us (I don’t even remember which!) mentioned paddling to Alaska, and the other of us said YES!  I WANT TO DO THAT TOO!

Why Alaska?

I’ve never been there.  I’ve seen and heard about the beauty.  I’ve paddled many miles in Puget Sound and want to keep going.  I want to explore the Salish Sea under my own power.

You do know you’re going the wrong way, don’t you?

Wrong way for whom?  For us, this is the *right* way.  In terms of wind, we should have the stormy weather at our backs, and the good weather winds in our faces.  More importantly, for me an adventure begins at home and heads out.  Maybe this is buried in my subconcious from reading “The Hobbit” so many years ago as a child.  According to Frodo Baggins:

 “He [Bilbo] used often to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. ‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,’ he used to say. ‘You step onto the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.'”.

If my mom only realized what many long summer days at Golden Gardens would lead to…!

Are you taking a gun?

No.  However, Laura J gave me a slingshot, and I might be able to zing a pretty mean jelly bean by the time of the trip…

Where will you sleep?

Tents most of the time.  Camping in the wild where possible, but sometimes in camp sites due to property ownership and/or accessibility.  We might rent a room a night or two to get dry, have hot water (yes!!), and do laundry.  We will be stinky and crusty.

What about bears?

Bears are definitely on my mind.  Mostly we just have to be smart – bear boxes for our food, keep our food and kitchen area away from our sleeping area, don’t camp near rivers/streams where salmon run…  Bears can swim, so while islands seem safe we will still have to take the same precautions.  Bear spray?  I’m not sure I want to be close enough to a bear to effectively use it.  I am considering a good, loud air-horn.

Will you use sails?

I’m a paddler, not a sailor!  I’ve seen kayak sailors make really good speed, but that’s not my means of propulsion.

How are you training for a trip like this?

I think I’ve been training all my life for a trip like this!  Seriously – I’ve been on the water several days a week since my senior year of high school.  Admittedly, for thirty years that was going in a straight line backwards, but I have added paddling to my repetoir over the past 10-15 years. 

In addition to being physically prepared, we are both doing a lot of reading – accounts of other inside passage trips as well as books on kayak navigation, weather, foraging, and more.  Studying charts.  Testing and using gear before the trip to make sure it functions and we know how to use it.

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