Adak, Part 2

Crossing rivers and streams was a bit of a challenge at times

Crossing rivers and streams was a bit of a challenge at times

Magic hour in the mountains

Magic hour in the mountains

The first bit of snow hiking for Lucy and I...ever!

The first bit of snow hiking for Lucy and I…ever!

Cresting Gannet Pass and looking down into the sweep of the basin

Cresting Gannet Pass and looking down into the sweep of the basin

Mountains and skyscapes that make you happy to be alive

Mountains and skyscapes that make you happy to be alive

Rounding the spur of the hill revealed Camel Cove

Rounding the spur of the hill revealed Camel Cove

‘What sort of an adventure is this?’ said Lucy, grinning, as she slid down the remainder of a snowy  gulley to where Justine and I were waiting, having just done the same. Happy and relieved doesn’t even come close to how I felt at that moment, except, happy, relieved and tired. As I inched down the slope in the holds Justine had made as she broke trail before us, I did all I could to not think about what would happen if one of us fell and pulled the whole lot down on top of us. Justine reassured us we wouldn’t but still, you never can tell. What an adventure indeed – that exciting mix of having a bit of a plan and then figuring things out as you go along.

The three of us – Justine, Lucy and I, were making our way back to Finger Bay on the North end of the island as we neared the end of a two-day hike to ‘join the dots’, hiking across Adak to Camel Cove where Happy Socks and I arrived last September and back to Finger Bay, where Justine and I will depart on the next stage of my journey, on our mission to kayak the Aleutians.

What a way to start this next leg and brilliant to have Lucy along, too. Arriving in Happy Socks last year all I saw of the south end of the island was rocks amid the mist and groups of seabirds going about their business. Our traverse this last couple of days took us over snowy passes, through farting bogs and over icy streams either rushing down hillsides or idling through marshes. It was stark and bleak and beautiful and I would love to see it in the summer, bursting with meadow-flowers or in the depths of winter showing its seasonal coats.

The first view of Camel Cove was very special  and it was emotional to think of all the things that led to Happy Socks and I being there last year and the people who had been a part of the journey before and since. It felt magic to have Lucy and Justine with me to share it and to think of the roads ahead.

If the weather is good, we hope to leave on Sunday or thereabouts when my fiancée Lucy flies home. The forecast isn’t ideal at the moment but there is a good chance it will change – they always seem to out here.

We have been in Alaska for over a week now, flying out of Anchorage last Sunday where we had spent a few days prepping and sorting our resupply boxes to send down along the island chain. Thanks to our hosts Debbie and Scott Cameron for letting us take over their house in Anchorage while we did this. Arriving in Adak had a calming soothing effect on me – the last few weeks had been pretty mad to say the least and my mind raced constantly with To Do Lists. At least once you fly it means there’s less to worry about.

As you can imagine, it was a very happy feeling to debag the kayaks in Adak on our first day here and see that they had both made it out safely. Since then we have mixed some local sightseeing and catching up with the folks I met last year with more boat sorting and kit sorting as we move closer to departure. Wednesday and Thursday saw our trans-island trek and today has been rather more sedate. For my part, I am now hobbling a bit from achy knees and blistered feet and looking forward to the traditional banya (sauna) that has been laid on for us later. And then, it’s back to that final packing and sorting and saying cheerio to the folks of Adak who have welcomed us all back to their island as we prepare to leave them and journey along this wild and wonderful chain.

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10 Responses to Adak, Part 2

  1. Chris Nolan says:

    So glad the beauty of Alaska is doing her part for welcoming all three of you.
    Can’t wait to follow your adventures once more. Hopefully I can time it right to cheer
    You upon the shores in Homer. Also glad you all got a few days in Anchorage.
    Hoping for good weather and a safe start!

  2. Bruce Ellen says:

    Hi and welcome back, and heres luck for the next leg.
    Heep the pictures comming and can you leave some on Google earth
    to show others later that you have been there and done that.
    When will the tracker start so we can follow you.

    Cheers from sunny Queensland

  3. Heather says:

    Fantastic news.Looks exciting and lovely too. Love and hugs. Heather and Cameron xx

  4. Christine & Kathleen says:

    Hello all

    Good to read your last message and to know that you are about to start on your next stage, hopefully the problems that you had before will not be a problem this time. We shall look forward to following your daily blogs etc. Your writings to us all are so informative and wonderful its as though we are there with you.

    Its good to hear of the wonderful welcome that you have had since returning.

    All good wishes to you all and that special team of yours who along with us all will be behind you all of the way and be hoping the weather, winds and elements will be kind to you. If anyone can do this then its you.

    All good wishes and salty best as you would say

    K & C

  5. David Welsh says:

    So excited to see you,”back in the saddle” again.

    Want to wish you a great paddle to some more populated areas. Safe journey and lots of wildlife to accompany on your way.

    David Welsh.

  6. Brendon Cary says:

    Congratulations on making it to another starting line. Amazing effort. Good luck with the next stage of your adventure.

  7. Linda, Cambridge says:

    Here’s hoping the weather is fair and that you can get under way soon. I’m really looking forward to travelling virtually with you again!

  8. Sarah says:

    Thanks for all the lovely messages folks – hoping to set off Tuesday midday or so, Adak time (-10hrs BST)

  9. virgil funderburk says:

    glad to see the journey begins again, keep safe, happy paddle times

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