Reunited with the Pacific, we find ourselves on our final day of this epic adventure.
Coming out of the back country yesterday afternoon, we closed out the trip with a sunset climb at Seal Cove. Dangling over the Pacific Ocean, this 5.9 traverse is an exciting gamble that may end in an ocean plunge.
Now how in the world do you transition from that… ?!
Who would have thought that we would run into our blog doubles climbing in Squamish? Fast forward 24 hours and we’re up on the glaciers of the Joffre group north of Whistler, BC. Thanks to the expertise of Michael and Taylor we finished our trip with a killer alpine adventure in some wild terrain! Not much else to say… the photos speak for themselves.
K stoked to be on the summit:
After trekking into high camp and taking a quick break we took off to climb Slalic. K’s first time climbing ice and she handled it like a pro despite crampon dysfunction….
This was the last photo before racing across the glacier to try to make it back to high camp without headlamps. 5 minutes faster and we could have done it!
Stoked to get back on the rock and push our limits a bit further in Squamish, our new backyard! What a phenomenal climbing area and place to finish up this epic road trip. Highlight, for sure, was meeting our new Seattle area adventure friends 🙂
This is the magical place where we met Matt and Kelsie; Taylor and Michael. Admittedly, we had a clear game plan in hand to start finding new friends, but couldn’t have dreamed it’d work out so serendipitously! I (Karina) was dangling from a rope above while listening to Jason below sharing his email with, what turned out to be, our new buddies…. only to find out that these fantastic people are the same good friends of friends that we were meant to meet a month earlier in the Canadian Rockies. Small, wild world. A night out drinking beers together stumbled into the next adventure together, with MANY MORE to come…. ! (see next post)
As we ferried out of the last frontier, we got to reflecting on some of the things we learned during our Alaskan stay, most of them from our 3 nights in Homer with Larry and Pam—Janet’s junior high school pal! We learned more from them than we could ever hope to retain. The following days we kept finding ourselves saying, “Pam said…” and “I think Larry told us that…”
A few fun facts:
1. There are 22 breweries in Alaska (we visited 5 of them), several of them started by the same gentleman. Apparently if you don’t have a brewery, your town isn’t legitimately on the map these days.
2. The various species of salmon each have two main runs every season between roughly May and late September. There’s silver, pink, king, chum… and several more. (Pam says the chum have the best eggs for caviar.)
3. Alaska is the size of two Texases and a California. There’s a t-shirt that shows an outline of Texas inside of the Alaskan border and reads: “Texas. Now isn’t that cute!”
4. Kodiak bears are actually not a separate species from brown/ grizzly bears. In fact, polar bears are also in the same species. Occasionally they successfully breed, what are known as Polar-Grizzles or Grizzly-Polar bears, taking on the mother bear’s habits and mannerisms.
5. Since becoming the 50th state, Alaska has consistently relied on federal funding to stay afloat. This, despite its tremendous oil money that affords residents no state taxes; in fact, each year Alaskan residents receive somewhere around $800 per person just for being residents. Alaksa has also cast its electoral votes for the Republican candidate in every presidential election, with the exception of LBJ’s 1964 landslide victory that swept the nation in the wake of beloved JFK’s assassination. The sentiment, as Jason summed up with his analogy of a teenager heading off for college, is: now give me my independence, just keep sending the checks.
The Kenai Peninsula is beautiful and Homer is an awesome little town. But oh man does it rain! We have been looking forward to getting out on a multi day Kayak trip for months and we were determined to go rain or shine. After a productive and instructive day of van maintenance with Pam and Larry (thanks for all your help!), we strolled around the Homer headlands for some beautiful views of where we’d be heading. I should note that this was also our first look at our rusty old van engine!
Unfortunately we don’t actually have many pictures of said kayak adventure — it basically rained non-stop until we called the boat to pick us up early at the mount of the bay…. this of course brought a break in the weather and some sunshine.