Caines Head, Seward, Alaska.

This one also counts as hike 3/52.

This trail is incredible. It starts outside of Seward on a dirt road that passes an enormous waterfall. It wouldn’t be the last waterfall we saw on this trip. The trail is very well maintained. It had rained the day before, but there were boardwalks everywhere that there needed to be. With the ground smelling wet and everything looking greener than usual, we set off with high hopes and full packs.

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We crossed our first large creek/small river and we spent a little too much time looking for salmon that we hoped would be returning to spawn. This was not a fishing trip and it was difficult to leave a rod behind. Especially when I saw a guy in the parking lot stringing up a fly rod and heading to the beach.

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.44.49 AMWe walked in the forest for the first mile or so. Up and down a small hill. We emerged and the trail headed towards the beach. This is where we would find out if we had timed things correctly. At high tide, many places are impassable. On an incoming tide, you can be trapped in small coves or on large rocks. The tides can be quite large here so a very low tide is ideal. A very high tide can be dangerous.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.45.20 AMThis was option number one for a camp spot. Right next to the waterfall. It was only a couple of miles in. It would have been easy, but people would be passing by a lot and it wasn’t our original destination. We wanted something a little further from the trailhead. Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.45.50 AM

After a couple miles of walking on the beach in beautiful sunshine, the trail turned into the forest again. It started uphill and we began to sweat. We couldn’t stop because of the mosquitoes. And we are stubborn. We came to a fork in the trail and chose the more difficult path. We didn’t know about the elevation gain. Or the trail turning to muddy single track, but it mentioned something about the alpine something or other and that sounded pleasant. Imagine sweating, swearing, panting people with legs burning and terrible thoughts racing through their minds.

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I was wondering why I wasn’t laying on my couch scrolling through Instagram like any sane person should be doing with a few days off. The small streams in the high alpine fields were absolutely beautiful.

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We had to be mildly alert for bears as we saw scat on the trail. Eventually the trail headed downhill and we hiked on cool dry creek beds.

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When we thought that we couldn’t take any more strenuous hiking, we thought that we were hallucinating hearing waves. this might be the best view from the trip. Emerging out of the forest and finding the ocean again. We knew that we had made it to South Beach. It wasn’t in Florida, it was much better than that.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.47.20 AMThis was our view for three days. There were two people there when we arrived. It was a Sunday and they were headed out. This nurse career seemed like a good choice at that moment. We were all alone.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.48.03 AMAt night we started a fire before it got dark.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.48.29 AMIt didn’t really get dark because it is summer here. And the moon looked like this when it rose. It was hard to sleep with such beauty around us. Eventually, we hung out bag of food out of the way of the bears and made it to bed.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.48.51 AMIt was easy to lay in bed when we looked out of the tent and saw the same things, but in a different light. The sweltering heat in a tent seems to push you out. Even in Alaska.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.49.23 AMThe next day, a couple of friends joined us for a night. We watched Orcas cruise in the bay. Sea lions were curious enough to pop up their heads near shore. Bald eagles seem to be everywhere up here.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.49.45 AMAnother successful trip in the backcountry. Also, we didn’t see any fish, so I was glad that I didn’t feel like I was missing out on an amazing fishing trip.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.50.00 AMThanks for reading!

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Vacation-Day 5.

Our fifth day saw us cross back over Johnstone Strait. Once again, we had perfect conditions and not a care in the world about the currents or wind. We camped near Kaikash Creek and had a great afternoon feeling fresh water and watching the wildlife. That night, the moon rose dramatically and we brushed our teeth in awe.

We loved it.

We loved it.

This was probably the most built up campsite that we visited. It has a metal fire pit and just down the trail, a composting toilet! It was quite a bit of luxury.

Fires matched the sunset.

Fires matched the sunset.

Another moon rising over Johnstone Strait.

Another moon rising over Johnstone Strait.

We spent a lot of time identifying birds.

Beautiful wildlife.

Beautiful wildlife.

Luxury camping.

Luxury camping.

Canada Vacation – Day 4.

Blackney Passage is a very popular shipping lane. There was a lot of logging in the area. Combining shipping and logging is a feat that amazes me still.

Logs.

Logs.

A lot of logs.

A lot of logs.

We woke up on the day that was supposed to have the worst weather. The currents were very strong. We were forced to stay within a paddle length of the shore of the islands. We couldn’t get very far. We tried to paddle along Hanson Island to the Orca Research Centre, but we couldn’t make it. We were forced to sit in the kelp and watch our new friends play.

Sea lions watching Amanda.

Sea lions watching Amanda.

We paddled until we found a place that we thought would be a good campsite for the night. Unfortunately, companies can buy the rights to nice areas and kick people off the best spots. They set up giant tents, a small kitchen complete with barbecues, and composting toilets. It is fun to use the facilities and then leave before they get there. It reminds me of being a kid and going to the fancy resorts, using the waterslides, and not being a paying guest.

Poaching the private hammocks.

Poaching the private hammocks.

We found an abandoned cabin that had been made mostly from materials found on the island. It was a bit creepy. There was canned food on the shelves as if someone had gone crazy and just left. Or maybe they were murdered and the killer was silently waiting for unsuspecting tourists just in the shadows. Amanda thought all of these things and I had to tell her that she was being ridiculous. She doesn’t know that I was expecting to find a half rotten corpse in any of the shacks. Either way, we set up our tent and had awesome views as long as we didn’t let the creepy ideas into our head.

Another day in the life.

Another day in the life.

The wildlife was as impressive as always. This black tailed deer came to check us out. He checked in our boats for snacks before eating seaweed at low tide. We had a full moon for our trip and the tides would rise over 16 feet. We really had to think about where we tied up our boats at night. I woke up a few times and looked out of our tent to make sure our boats were still there. You really doubt your knots at 2am with no way of getting back to civilisation.

A deer friend of ours.

A deer friend of ours.

Killers.

Killers.