Glenn Charles

Adventurer | Photographer | Connector

Today I am a Time Traveler with a Camera... Tomorrow, who knows

ReEntry... The Challenge

I have been off the water now for about a week. The first several days of my exit were spent in the suburbs of Seattle. Warm, friendly, woods, water, fall, winds, chill, water, all things that come to mind when I think of those few days. They were nice and slow, giving me an opportunity to begin some level of readjustment from life on the water, alone with nature for 147 days. See, even the suburbs of Seattle carried a sense of warmth that permeates that entire area. A certain level of slowness and peacefulness with nature. People willing to help a perfect stranger get done what was needed.

I left Seattle 3 days ago via air for the busy city of Chicago, wow, what an adjustment. People, cars, noise, more people, TSA, lines, waiting for things versus waiting for nothing, new friends, anxiety, anticipation, all sending the senses into overload. Re-uniting with family is beautiful but bound by small mine fields. Expectations flowing both ways; change occurring both ways; a constant dance all amidst an environment not conducive to peace. Breathing is interpreted as sighs; Silence for issues; The list goes on... It is all good but perhaps requires a 24K topo map of it's own

People are busy, rushing by. Cars go fast, coffee shops are loud. Dog parks replace the wild. Trees are in concrete boxes, flowers in pots. Cement replaces sand and trains replace the shrieks of the Ravens. Where are the birds and the otters and the seals and the whales and the gulls and the .....

Challenging to say the least, finding center is difficult. The wild allows you to sit, it encourages your silence. You are rewarded for being one with the moment in the bliss that surrounds you. I do believe that these things can exist in the city, but it requires work and effort. In the wild, it just arrives if you are open to it. The simplicity of the paddle, the serenity of the water, the stillness of the air and the ebb of tides. All serve to reinforce the openness and one-ness that exists amongst all of us.

There are those that say it still arrives in the city if you are just open to it. I believe this, but the challenge is great. You spend so much time in the wild and you come back to the chaos and you can see why people are so stressed, you can breath in the negative energy. Why smiles on the street are returned with down turned heads or an ever so slight recognition.

Beautiful time with my amazing daughter. I am so proud of her and her accomplishments. She is an amazing woman, I am so proud of her it brings tears to my eyes. I will spend a few more days here, searching for center, relishing time with her, then on to other family and new challenges. Lake Michigan tomorrow with friends, and then on to warm southerly waters for a bit.


The water calls, I hear my paddles vibrating. My boat soon to arrive, I look forward to time on the water.

Peace & Love,

G-

Inside Passage Registry

I wanted to make a special post for all of you that are coming here from the Inside Passage Registry.  Welcome and best of luck to you as you go down the life changing event that is The Inside Passage.  I am sure some of you are just looking for general information, while others are looking for specifics.  I have tried to provide as much information as possible on my trip and the lessons I learned along the way. However, each day I wake up and think of something else that I should share.  There is just such a wealth of information to share.

So, to my point of todays post.  I am trying to add new information on a weekly basis, but with the holidays and my upcoming adventure, it is a challenge.  Please, to all those readers, don't hesitate to post a question or send me a note about things that you are looking for.  If I can help you out, I will get right back to you, and who knows, it may be something that multiple folks are searching for and thus worth a post on the site.

Lastly, I want to tell you that it will change your life.  It is that big an event no matter how you go about the trip, individual pieces or the whole thing.  I will be doing the trip again in April of 2012 and would love to find a traveling partner or two, even if only for parts of the trip.  Not that I mind doing it alone again, but I think having some travelling partners would allow me to experience the trip in a completely different way.  If you are interested please just drop me a note.

Best of wishes to you all.  As you finish up your trip next year, please drop by and share your experiences with myself and the others that frequent this site.

GPS Waypoints

I am currently in the process of annotating my GPS waypoints with information about the camps I stayed at and any issues surrounding a given coordinate.  I hope to have these available for all in the next week.  I will place them as a Google Earth KML file available for downloading.  If you need them in a different format, please just drop me a note and I will see what I can do.

62 Pounds of Peanut Butter

Random Inside Passage Fact -

After careful checking and re-checking, my best estimate is that I consumed up to 62 pounds of Peanut Butter on my trip.  I will allow for about a 10% error factor, so it could be as little as 56 pounds, but I feel pretty good about that number!!  Adams, stir, chunky was my favorite!!

Congratulations!

I just wanted to say congratulations to dad. I could not be more proud of you and I am sure everyone feels the same. To all the strangers that you have met, thank you for being so generous and making this such a special trip for my father. Dad - I cannot wait to see you in a few days and then send you on your way to Florida to see the remainder of the family. I look forward to hearing the stories and seeing the images you have captured. Enjoy your last few days out West! And again, thank you to all who have made this trip so incredibly special for my dad.

 

Ashley

First Chapter Coming to a Close

Wow, what an amazing journey this has been.  I have now paddled over 1700 miles over a span of 147 days, up the Inside Passage; around Glacier Bay; and weaving my way through the beautiful San Juan Islands.  Yesterday I finished my trip with a nice little paddle from Doe Bay to Washington Park.  The skies were blue with the winds starting to pick up.  The little 3 hour paddle gave me time to reflect not only on my personal accomplishments but on the amazing new group of friends and family I have acquired.

I think the people have been as instrumental in makiing this journey awesome as has the paddling and the scenery.  As I sat there looking at the beach, knowing that this would be the end of this chapter, I was once again filled with an overwhelming sense of JOY.  The beauty of the paddle stroke; the serenity of the morning; the cloudless skies; the people; the wildlife.  Just simply an amazing and wonderful experience.

My friend Teri, the first person I met on this journey picked me up and took me back to Seattle.  However, not before we had the opportunity to crack a bottle of champagne she brought up.  Wow, what a fitting way to end this chapter.

Yes, chapter, as the journey is not over.  I have big plans for continuing on, and I will begin revealing them over the next several weeks.  I hope that you, the reader, my friends, my family, will join me on this next phase as enthusiastically as you did this one.  Your friendship, your support, your LOVE, means more to me than I could ever write.

I have come to love these three simple words.  PEACE-lOVE-COMPASSION for I have grown to believe that they are all we need.  With these three words, there is no problem to big, no issue that can't be solved.  These three words have the power to change our individual lives as well as each and every person who's lives we touch.  If we each choose to fully embrace them, there is nothing we can't accomplish. 

So with that, thank you all.  I am rich with ABUNDANCE. 

Peace Love Compassion,

 

G-

New Gallery of images is on-line

Fun ending images:

All that gear, .... REALLY?

Be The Source

I got this quote yesterday from a book I was able to read  in a single sitting.  It was one of those books that caught my eye and drew me in right away.  The idea behind this saying is  found in many religious and spiritual teachings.  Give of that which you wish to recieve.  If you desire love; give love; if you desire compassion, give compassion; if you desire money, give money; the list goes on and on.

While I choose to simplify the message and meaning today, I throw it out there in hopes that anyone reading this will take this challenge.  Go forth today and give of these things to those that you meet.  You will be enriched in ways you can not begin to imagine. 

The waters are calm today and the sun is shining.  The seals were out early playing in the water with the sailboats and ocean as their back drop.  These islands are magical, drawing you in, not wanting you to leave.  The simplicity of life here is as amazing as it is rich.  I will sit for one more day here, relaxing, loving, living.  Tomorrow I paddle for points unknown, someplace not thought of today.  I look forward to that which will be found.

Here is a small extract from a journal entry on my way to AK:

August 6, 2009 Sturgess to Adams Inlet

I woke at 4:30, got up by 5:00.  I love this time of morning.  The calmness is overpowering, you have no choice but to relax.  The whales were out feeding with the otters. The grey of the wild fires is still in place, making the bay seem even more mysterious.  You can only make out that which is close to you.  All else appears detailess, just dark forms. 

The morning paddle is exquisite.  As I work my way to the shore, I get my first look at the glaciated landscape.  Simply amazing.  I can't wait to see the peaks.  I work my way to Muir Point for an early lunch.  I was just reading about this spot last night.  Oh, how I am sure it has changed from the time John Muir wrote about it.... I push on for Adams Inlet while the flood is still strong.  Stop for water, then loose my MSR coffee filter :-(  Oh well... The current is like a river and it wisks me down the inlet.  Simply breathtaking views.  I don't even have to paddle, just steer. 

The views are amazing even with the haze. I turn back into the large  and am greeted with views of White Glacier.  I want to camp at it's feet, so I set course for the shore and find a pleasant little nook to camp.  The ground is so interesting, sort of crunchy, mossy, as if things were trying to take root.  I push up a little and set camp on a field of green and dandelion.  Higher, where the glacier once was is so hard to describe.  It looks as if a huge bulldozer and rock crusher has cleared a winding path down from the top of the mountain.  Now all that is left is a creek running down and tons of rock and debris, obviously left when the glacier retreated.  Very exciting!!

Note that the rocks were like little origami pieces, crushed and broken, but still in their original form.  Picking them up would cause the entire thing to come apart into all of the little pieces. 

Friends and New Family

Garrett & Naomi & Porter; Jenn & Bryan & Sadie; Monica; Mary Beth & Fred; David; Teresa; Leon & Shawna; Jill; Cory; Robert; Mark; Jennifer; Jo; Di; Laurie; Kerry & Peter; Barb; Lee;.........

The list goes on with people that I now call life long friends and new family.  This, all in a span of 10 days time.  I have spent years in populated areas and never been touched by people this way.  I suppose a large portion of this is 'Openess'; that is my being truly open to receiving.  However, I believe an even greater reason is that in surrounding yourself with people that believe in the same things you do and that aspire to see and do the same things that you do, is a powerful uniter of like minded souls.

All of these people I have met via human powered water travel. A simple orange kayak, floating on the seas powered by nothing more than my body, my heart, my soul.  A good number of them were travelers by car or other means, some by kayak themselves.  Each one here to experience the beauty of nature and the power of the sea.  I call them both friends and family because they all welcomed me in and touched my heart.  Bryan and Jenn shared their dinner table with me and made me feel part of their family.  All after simply paddling into a beach and saying hello.  Di & Laurie gave me a car ride into town after a simple greeting on a beach, and then proceeded to paddle with me for 3 days as we learned about each other.  We shared stories and life lessons; dreams and deep thoughts; ideas, hopes, aspirations, and our own unique stories.  Porter gave me big wet slobbery kisses. Naomi and Garrett shared their camp fire and friendship; offers of a couch in the beauty of Oregon.  Monica deeply touched my soul.  Lee and Barb provided great conversation and offers of help.  Robert made a meal for me and a hot fire to sit by.  Teresa helped me unload my boat, a total stranger coming off the water.  Cory told me stories of her travels , gave me great insight and touched my heart; Christiane shared a fire with oysters and a simple glass of wine.

I don't mean to leave anyone off, or minize the impact of one over the other.  I want to share what it is like to travel these waters, meeting new souls; making new friends; creating new family.  All love the water; the environment; the beauty of the wild.  Most long for a simpler life, one not hounded by stress, but instead filled with love of others and of the earth.  Taking from the earth only what is needed to live; giving back as much as they can.  The thought of creating a communtiy with like minded people who share the same visions for the future, is a recurring theme in all of our stories.

I don't know where this journey ends, maybe never.  I have been touched in ways that words can never fully describe, they can only provide small bits of insight to those willing and wanting to hear.  I saw a sign last night that said: 'Between the extremes, lies the path'.  I love the simplicity of that. Think it over, let me know what it means to you.  Use the discussion board to share your thoughts; tell your stories; help to keep this community going.  We are all now connected,  each bound by our crossings and experiences.  Let each of us continue the journey together.  We can do more together than alone.

Love & Peace

G-

San Juan Islands - A New Beginning

My journey has transitioned from the Inside Passage and the extreme solitude of that journey, to the beauty and populous of the San Juan Islands.  As I imagined in May, this is an absolutely gorgeous area of the country.  The islands are beautiful and the water is challenging.  The transition from summer to fall has seen mostly clear skies with beautiful sunsets.  A few days of rain and winds have made up the difference.

I have been circumnavigating the islands from East to West in a counter clockwise manner.  Starting in Bellingham, travelling to Lummi, Orcas, Stuart, San Juan Island, and now on to Lopez.  As with my entire journey, the people I am meeting and the accompanying friendships are nothing short of astonishing.  The people traveling here as well as living here are all simply amazing.   I know that some of these new acquantences will become life long friends.

My journey continues to amaze me with the way things continue to happen to me.  One of my big goals in this phase of the paddle was to meet Leon and Shawna of Body Boat & Blade on the Orcas.  Well, much to  my dissapointment they were out of town when I was there last week.  Content to wait for another day, I paddled onward.... Well, as I rounded into my camp site last evening, who should be there but the two of them and their BCU students.  Wow, I was totally psyched!!  Turns out some of the people I had met on Orcas had told them of me, and so it was like a reunion of people that knew each other but had never met.  The Universe continues to treat me well.  Within minutes Leon had offered me a place to stay and rest on Orcas, which I gladly accepted.

At San Juan County park, the people were amazing but so were the whales.  I spent 3 nights there, and for two of them, the displays of Orcas was fantastic.  Such amazing creatures, so gentle and giant.  One night, with new friend Christiane, we hopped in her car and raced down to Lime Kiln Park to see the passing whales that we had just watched.  As the sun set and the light house shone, the whales came close enough to clearly see, mothers and babies and huge males!!  One of the high lights of the trip :-)

I will write and post some more images within the next several days.

 

G-

Final Leg

The trip out of Glacier Bay was difficult to say the least.  The winds of 20-30 Knots continued to blow, and even though the paddle out of the bay proper was pleasant, rounding the corner of Point Gustavus and Icy Straits was was a mess.   I managed to survive an incredibly difficult 5 mile paddle up the coast to the city dock of Gustavus.  The winds were bashing me and the seas were crashing over my head.  As I paddled, I could not help thinking of the irony that one of my last paddles in AK should prove to be one of the most difficult....  From there, I hopped on a small boat and was shuttled across Icy Straits to Point Gustavus.  I stayed in a great little forest service lean to with a wonderful fire place and enjoyed my last nights camping in AK.

The next day was calm and nice as I made my way down the coast to Hoonah.  I got in early and was able to catch the ferry that day to Juneau.  From there, one night sleeping on the floor and one long day hanging around before we borded the MV Columbia at 1:00 AM for a 3:00 AM departure.  As with the whole trip, I continued to meet great and wonderful people.  I was fortunate to find that Wild Bill had made it to Juneau so we were able to ride the ferry together and help each other with our boats and luggage. 

The trip down the Inside Passage by ferry was fantastic.  It was great to see it from a different perspective and the weather was some of the best of the last month.  On the ferry, you can either pay for a cabin or sleep out on the top deck under heat lamps.  They call it the Solarium and it is one big communal fest.  Everyone from seasonal people; tourists; Alaskans; and others leaving one of the most amazing places on the planet.  Some will return and some have done their time, all inevitably starting new journeys as they arrive in Washington.

As we headed down the straits, just miles from Bellingham, we were greeted with an amazing morning display of Orcas.  Easily a pod of 20 or more, they were feeding, jumping and then playing along side the boat.  You know, like dolphins do, except these were ORCAS!!  It was totally the way to end this portion of the trip. 

After arrival, I resupplied with the necessities, 5lb jar of Adams peanut butter and a huge stick of regular butter and off I went.  The first day was a little 7 mile paddle to Lummi Island, which was to serve as a day break and stepping stone to the San Juans.  Little did I  know that huge storm with 25 plus knot winds was to come through and cause me to hunker down for 3 nights.  Yesterday brought relief and I was able to get on the water.  A short 23 mile paddle to Point Doughty on the NW end of Orcas Island and I was suddenly on one of the prettiest spots of the trip.  The sunset last night was simply spectacular.

Today I am in East Sound on the Island just checking things out and meeting people.  It is a beautiful sunny fall day, with the colors of trees starting to change and that special 'cool' morning air.  This is a very quaint little town with lots of lovely shops and tons of Kayakers.  As I put in on the beach I met a couple of ladies that are headed to my camp site today, so I already have new friends to talk with tonight.  You have to love the way the universe works :-)

Homeward Bound

It is hard to believe that 118 days and more than 1500 miles have passed since I set off from Seattle to paddle the Inside Passage.  I spent  months researching and planning the trip, but when that day came to push off the beach I was filled with fear, excitement, joy, and trepidation.  I remember a month into the trip reflecting on the first 40 days and being so excited that I still had months to go before it was over.  Time stood still at times and yet the months have flown by.

Well, here I sit in Glacier Bay, contemplating my journey and planning my departure for tomorrow.  The weather has eased up, but as I have already written, fall is here and it is time to go.  It will take me some time to digest all that I have done and seen, and then even longer to find the correct medium for sharing with others.  For now I will be content to ride the ferry out of Alaska, going in 3 days the distance it took me 3 months to travel.  It will be fascinating to see the route from the perspective of one of 'those' boats, for as I travelled along the water in my little orange kayak I always wondered what it was like for the people on the Ferries.  Well, now I will get my chance to look down on the waters and the shores and see the world from a different perspective.

Tomorrow I will paddle out of Glacier Bay the same way I came in.  Down Icy Straits to the Gustavus City dock.  From there a small boat will take me across this forboding body of water and drop me off at Point Adolphus, one of the premier whale watching areas in the world.  I will spend the day there before setting off to Hoonah where my ferry journey will begin.  After getting back to Bellingham I will take a couple of weeks to paddle through the San Juans before re-entering the world, taking some time to absorb it all.  From there  I will head to Chicago for a brief visit with Ash, and then to Florida and more family.

It has been an amazing journey, and even now, while filled with joy and pride, I can feel the tears well up at the thought of it all ending.  As I wrote previously, this is only the beginning of a new and much larger journey, but still, the thought of this chapter ending is an emotional one.  I so love the quiet mornings; life with the tides; the birds that start at 4:00 AM; and the rhythm of a paddle stroke on calm flat seas.  Now that thought brings a smile to my face. 

The people I have met and continue to meet are simply amazing and have meant as much to me on this trip as  the paddling and the scenery.  Alaska and British Columbia are filled with people who have a great love  of the sea and of the lands in which they live.  There outward kindess to strangers is unlike anything I have ever experienced.  Even the tourists that have come to these great lands, upon hearing of my travels, are amazingly open, friendly and curious to hear more. The people of this journey have meant so much to me that I will miss them as much as I will miss the wilderness.

This has been a great journey, and while not completely done, it is something that absolutely could not have happened without the love and support of my family.  I have said it before, but I will forever be indebted to you for helping me do what has been the most important single event in my life, shy of the births of A&J.  You will never truly comprehend how important this was for me, but I hope you will always comprehend how incredibly grateful I am for what you have done.  I love you all and look forward to seeing everyone very soon.

Peace & Love,

G-

Irony

What a funny word that is?  As you know, it rained the better part of my trip up bay and I really did not see any of the peaks.  So last evening, as I was sitting at the lodge in front of a lovely warm fireplace, what should happen but the sky clears; grey turns to blue; and off in the distance, the Fair Weather Peaks stick their heads out and above the clouds.  I did not have my camera with me, but I have to say it was one of thee most beautiful sights of the trip. 

I stood on the deck of the lodge, taking it all in, thinking how amazing this place is.  I hope that everyone reading this gets the opportunity to come here to Glacier Bay and see one of the most majestic places on the Planet.  I know I have always talked of traveling to far off lands to see the sights and experiences.  I have a new found  appreciation for just how much exists right here on our shores and how you could spend a lifetime searching out and never finding or seeing it all. I know I intend to spend the rest of my years trying to find it; see it; capture it; and share it.

For now, I sit at the lodge, having a cup of coffee, watching the rain and drizzle once again.  Blue has turned to Grey, and there is no doubt that fall has arrived in Bartlett Cove, AK. Peace and love to ALL.

G-

Awesome Camp Spots

Here are images from some of my favorite camping spots in the bay:

McBride Glacier - Absolutely a beautiful spot to watch the 'River of Ice'

Johns Hopkins Glacier - This is the black beach that calving glacier filled with ice!!

These are the crashing waves bring the boulder size ice chunks crashing towards me and the tent

Images From East & West Arms

I have added a gallery of images from the East & West arm.  They are located in a gallery within the 'Random Images' link.  As always, remember these are just quick proofs and not what the final images will look like.  They will however give you a good idea of what I saw and what type of images will be coming out.

Peanut Butter - 5 lb Tub of Adams

I left Bartlett Cove with a hodge podge of food, one of which was a donated 5 gallon TUB of Adams Crunchy Peanut Butter.  Now, this is a big thing to carry in a kayak, let alone through bear country.  I also had two smaller 12oz jars of PB, which I decided to consume first, and rashion the 5lb tub.  I am so happy to say, that even I was not able to consume the entire tub, and have left over PB for my current stay in Bartlett Cove.  My family and travelling friends are sure to appreciate that, due to my massive consumption of PB!!

Gear Breakage Continues...

Well, I was doing good for a week or so without breaking anything, but alas I have now broken my Therma-Rest sleeping pad.  Well, let me be clear about this, I did not do anything, but it has sprung a giant hernia at one end and that means that my back is fine, but my legs are elevated at an extreme angle or I have to have them off of the bag at an even weirder angle.  Either way, sleeping is just not comfortable.  I also seem to have broken the camera that my great British friends loaned me.  That one is even stranger as I really did not use it much since the battery died.  After finding a way to re-charge it, it simply won't turn back on.  Good news on the broken Panasonic camera is that I met a couple in Johns Hopkins who had the same camera as I did and was having exactly the same problems as me.  Clearly Panasonic has an issue with this first generation of water-proof cameras.  I am confident that I will get that piece of gear replaced.  Lastly, upon breaking camp from Bartlett Cove before heading into the bay, I broke another tent pole, so thank goodness that North Face sent a complete replacement set.  Once again, props to North Face!!

I am afraid to jinx it, but Iron gear awards continue to  go to the Spot device and my ICOMM M88 radio.  Both of them are completely exposed to the elements day in and day out and continue to work perfectly.  My dry suit comes in a close second, with the exception of the neck gasket.  That can be written of to normal wear and tear, so it really should be part of the Iron group.

The boat, after holding out well for a week or so after leaving Bartlett Cove, is back to taking water in all 3 major compartments.  The day hatch is the only one that seems to be staying dry, while everything else is getting wet.  I am going to try and put some sealant on the screws that hold the pedals to the boat and see if that solves the cockpit leaking.  Three of the 4 screws are consistently under water while fully loaded and I am thinking this is where the water is coming from. 

Hopefully everything else will continue to hold on and not break.  Oh, yea, the seat of my lone pair of long underwear is now officially 'Vented'!!  Makes for a rash in the making :-)

 

G-

Slogging through the glacier ice water

Here are some fun pictures of me lining my boat through the inlet at McBride Glacier that my friend Fred took.   For those of you wondering, yes, the water is VERY cold, but the Dry Suit works amazingly well.  Luckily that day I put on two pairs of socks!

Glacier Bay Circumnavigation - 1500 miles

I am now back in Bartlett Cove after a 22 day circumnavigation of Glacier Bay.  I was able to go everywhere I wanted and it was just about the perfect amount of time.  I was able to go up the East Arm and officially 'end' my Inside Passage trip at Muir Glacier and then continue on out, around and up the West Arm. 

It was quite an adventure on a number of fronts.  First, this is one of the most amazing places I have ever been.  The Glaciers are unbelievable as is what they have done to the environment.  Moving out of the lower bay and up into the East and West arms is totally surreal.  Just beautiful, with tons of scenery and wildlife.  The Sea Otters seem to be the most prevalent, although the harbor seals; sea lions; birds; and bears all show themselves.

The past 3 weeks saw the transition from summer to fall here. It rained on me 18 of the 22 days.  I arrive back cold; wet; coder; and wetter;.... You get the picture.  However, it was so special for me on a number of fronts.   First, as I was camped on the 'River of Ice' at McBride Glacier, up paddles my friend and fellow Inside Passage traveler Christine and her  Father.  Her original travelling partner had to end her trip early so Christine's dad offered to join her.  I know it meant a ton to her to have him with her.  We  camped together at McBride for two days and then paddled up the east arm to Muir together to finish the IP.  It was a dreary, windy, cold and rainy day as we approached the Glacier. 

For me it was the most emotional moment of the trip.  My tears mixed with the pouring rain as I wept in Joy.  It was 1300 miles at that point and I was so overwhelmingly proud of myself and my accomplishment!  As I approached the Glacier in solitude, Christine paddled up beside my kayak and reached over and gave me a big hug.  We both smiled and high fived at achieving something most can't even comprehend.  I took my time savoring the moment  before we retreated to camp and a dry tarp on the beach.  We took the next day to hike over the hills and mountains to get a spectacular view of the Glacier from up high.  The skies opened up for a bit and it was absolutely spectacular. 

I paddled back down the east arm with Christine and her dad before bidding them farewell.  I must admit to having a bit of sadness to see such good friends depart, but alas, I had  the west arm to conquer.  I set out in rainy and windy conditions, only to have the weather begin to deteriorate very quickly.  Paddling in some of the roughest seas of the trip, I made my way to an Island (hoping to avoid bears) and set up camp in a small protected cove.  The storm worsened and I was forced to stay there for two days.  As the winds finally let up, I pushed on and up into Rendu.

Rendu Inlet was amazing with its tall ridge line and waterfalls that seemed to come down from the sky. It was really an incredible sight, and due to the weather I had the place all to myself.  I made it to the Glacier and then camped on a morraine hill at the base of a smaller glacier.  Just me and the water, it was solitude at its best.  From there, it was down and out and then up towards the Grand Pacific glacier and the Margerie glacier.  I made camp that night at a lovely little inlet and actually managed to have  a small fire and dry some things out before heading on up to the glaciers.

The  next day, after viewing Margerie, which was spectacular, I turned to go back and make camp.  As I pulled up to the beach and was just getting ready to unload, I spotted a lone kayaker off in the distance.  As I peered through my scope and into the rain and mist it was obvious that it was my good pal Wild Bill, my other solo 2009 Inside Passage kayaker friend.  Wow, what a small world.  Bill had gone all the way up to Skagway/Haines after we parted ways in Juneau and then having decided he was not  done, he came back down and over to Glacier Bay and here he was!!  The  Universe was smiling down on me :-)

Bill and I decided to camp and travel together for the next couple of days, so in the AM we set off for Johns Hopkins Glacier and the famed Black Beach.  We were both excited about this as most people had said this was the most spectacular of the Glaciers.  As we paddled up the JH Inlet, we met a German family here on vacation who gave us some hot tea and good company on our break. On  and up through the beautiful inlet, we were not disappoint at our arrival on the black beach.  Just a stones throw from the glacier itself, this beautiful black beach stands in stark contrast to the water and ice surrounding it.  The weather was dismal, but we were stoked to be here.  The Glacier was calving like mad and we enjoyed our  first day.

The second day brought more rain and fog, but also a lovely couple from NY with their kids and a guide.  We had some great conversation; managed to get some food from Shelly the guide and then our German friends showed up.  The black beach sits below the hill side, which was quite wet, but that is where Bill had his tent set up.  I on the other hand wanted to camp on the lovely soft  beach.  As we lay in our tents trying to get warm, a tremendous calving takes place.  Clearly on a much bigger scale that anything we had hear before.  As I lay there looking out of my tent, I see what I am calling an Ice Tsunami!!  It was a massive set of waves picking up huge  boulder size chunks of ice and pushing them up onto the sand.  With each wave  the ice was getting thrown closer and closer to my tent.  I raced out, grabbed my camera and began snapping pictures.  The whole middle face of the Glacier was missing and the waves were unbelievably huge.  Luckily things settled down and my tent was saved, but the ice was now within about 15 feet of my tent.  Very scary indeed and lucky that there were no boats or kayaker out there.  Had there been, something bad definitely would have happened.

So, after our excitement, we were able to settle down and then the next day we paddled out.  The Reid and Lampugh glaciers were gorgeous and we were continually treated to spectacular wildlife.  At one point I startled a Sea Lion and it almost upset my boat it was so scared and large!!  The rain continued as did the wind and we made it safely back to the park today.

Now I must get things dried out and figure out what to do next.  The weather has turned decidedly worse, and my plans of paddling to Sitka are definitely iffy at this point.  The next 3 days are calling for 20-30 knot winds with some gale force predictions in there.  The ferry from Bartlett Cove to Juneau has stopped running, so I am not sure what I will do.  For now, I will get dry and warm and then some rest and figure things out tomorrow.

As I sit here in Bartlett Cove, I have added things up and have surpassed the 1500 mile mark in just under 4 months of paddling.  What an amazing adventure it has been.  I have met some of the most amazing people and have made new friendships which I am sure will last a lifetime.

 

G-