Sail Away, Sail Away…

3 November 2014 Comments

I decided to take the Amtrak from Portland to Bellingham because trains.

Getting to the station was something of a test run for how I was going to manage my luggage on this next leg of the trip: I still had a suitcase in addition to my backpack, and I would be toting it around both Bellingham and Juneau. Rolling luggage is a wonderful thing, and I had no real problems. In Portland. On paved sidewalks. Flat paved sidewalks. Hold that thought.

Boarding the train was likewise uneventful, but then we sat. And sat. And sat. Apparently, there was a fire up ahead on the tracks or near the tracks or something. I didn’t pay too much attention once I realized we would not be moving anywhere anytime soon.

I opened my Kindle and settled in: my ferry didn’t leave until the next morning, and my hotel wouldn’t care when I checked in.

I barely noticed when we finally got rolling, or when we hit the next stop or two. But when we hit Seattle, I think, the car suddenly filled up. An older woman sat next to me. I moved my stuff out of the way, unplugged my phone so she could charge hers, and started to settle back into my book.

She asked me some questions about the Kindle, and I answered them. She seemed pretty chatty, and I am not fantastic about talking to strangers, but before too long the guy across the aisle jumped into the conversation. He had newer, cooler gadgets than I did, and I drifted back into my book as he caught her attention.

Not long after, however, she started to get anxious. The train was running pretty late because of the aforementioned fire near the tracks, and she was worried that the person picking her up—an friend she had not seen in a long time—would not appreciate the delay. She tried calling several times, but only got the friend’s answering machine; this only doubled her worry, because she was sure her friend had gone to the station. She tried to get a message to the station via the conductor, but she got more and more anxious as time went on. Her friend would be mad at her. She wasn’t sure who else she could call to pick her up without upsetting them, due to the late time.

Somewhere in there, the man across the aisle disappeared. He gave me a half-apologetic smile as he went. Thanks, dude.

I started talking to the lady, trying to calm her down. She was having problems with her phone, which was new to her, so I helped her place a couple calls. We talked some more.

It turned out she was on the tail end of a trip that had been a string of delays and reroutes, and I think some of her anxiety was that, by that point, she was simply exhausted and overwhelmed. We kept talking, more about her life than her current trip. She’d taught inmates. She had retired to a small midwest town, where cost of living was cheap and she was very happy. Small town politics were like small town politics everywhere. She’d been married to, from the sounds of it, a real-life mountain man/hermit.

Eventually she reached the friend who had been planning to pick her up, before the friend left for the station. That relieved her, and so did a phone call not long after, when she confirmed another ride home from the station. She was still clearly exhausted and overwhelmed, but she seemed calmer.

The guy across the aisle reappeared as the train finally pulled in to Bellingham, and between the two of us we helped her gather her things and disembark. He offered to help her with her bags, I made sure she was feeling ok, and I headed off. I hope she slept well that night, with her trip finally over. I’ll never claim to be good at chatting to total strangers—in fact, I was so much a loss at one point that I stealthily Facebooked friends asking for help—but I’m glad I was able to help her just a little.

I made my way to my hotel and conked out for the night.

The next morning, I packed everything up and then considered my situation. I had about half the day before I needed to worry about getting on the ferry. I had no interest in going anywhere in Bellingham, and no place to put my bags even if I did. I decided to walk the two or three miles to the ferry. I was going to have to manhandle my bags around Juneau, so I might as well get started now.

Here’s the difference between Portland and Bellingham: hills.

At one point, I attempted a shortcut through a subdivision, thinking I would knock a block or two off my route. I think I just added more hills.

A couple people stopped and offered to give me a ride, which makes Bellingham easily one of the friendliest places I traveled through on this trip.

Much to my surprise, near the port I discovered a little mini shopping area. I probably should have expected it, because Bellingham is a major port on the Alaska Marine Highway and I’m sure cruise ships go in and out. But I hadn’t really thought it through, and I was happy I would have something to do to kill time, instead of just reading. I planned to do a lot of reading on the ferry ride; I was just as happy to wander in and out of shops now.

In and out of shops with my rolly luggage bag and my stuffed-full backpack on my back, mind you.

Lugging the bags around quickly paid off when I found the antique store. I found a little brass stand and tiny pitcher that I couldn’t pass up and then… a conquistador stirrup:

The photo’s not great, but you get the idea. It has some dents and patches, and the back half of the stirrup is broken off on the other side. It was also the only one; there was no sign of its mate. But it was a conquistador stirrup. Or else it was a reproduction made in super-heavy metal that someone had bothered to break and patch. Whatever. For the price I paid, it was worth it.

Not long after making that purchase, I headed down to the ferry and, eventually, on to the ferry.

The ferries on the Alaska Marine Highway are like cruise ships. With less amenities. And you’re not allowed to tip anyone, because they are all State employees.

Adventurous folk will set up their tents on some of the aft decks. Less adventurous folk will sleep in any lounge where they can find a comfortable spot. Since I had been camping for most of the Redwoods portion of the trip, and would be camping for virtually all of my time in Alaska, I had sprung for a cabin and a real bed.

However, I did learn that if you want to set up your cabin on the deck, you should bring duct tape. Lots and lots of duct tape.

As I watched, somewhat bemusedly, experienced and novice ferry campers tieing down and taping off their tents, the ferry set sail.

Two and a half days of quiet sailing. And whale watching. I was certain that in two days of solid sailing along the Inside Passage I would see some whales. Plural. They would be spouting for my enjoyment all the way. Surely. In fact, I had it on good authority (another passenger on the Amtrak from Portland) that I was likely to see whales not too long after leaving Bellingham.

Seagulls, yes. Whales, no. Porpoises, yes. Whales, no.

I did—eventually—see the tail of one whale, and caught the spout of another whale.

At one point, the captain came on over the loudspeaker to announce that we were passing a waterfall where there was almost always a bear.

No bear.

Seriously, my attempt to view wildlife on the cheap (compared to, say, buying one of those uber-expensive whale-watching excursions out of Juneau) failed miserably.

What I did have, however, was one spectacular sunset:

Followed by an eerie misty morning:

And other amazing views:

We pulled into a few ports along the way, but for the most part I stayed on board. I read. I had dinner in the cafeteria. I ventured into the main dining room once, where they had a “salmon special.” I was ecstatic. I had not had real Alaskan salmon in… forever. And I was heartened by the price, which suggested it was not Pink salmon (the salmon equivalent of a peanut butter sandwich) and was at least Silver and might even be Red. I was sure it wasn’t King, because if it were King, it would be plastered all over the menu in big letters.

However, just in case, I asked the waitress which kind of salmon it was. This seemed to confuse her, which did not bode well for me. If people on the ferry typically don’t ask what kind of salmon it is, that means they can probably get away with… yup, she confirmed it a few minutes later. It was Pink.

I declined the salmon and ordered something else.

I spent the rest of my time eating at the cafeteria, which had the virtue of being faster and cheaper.

In due time—which is to say, at o dark thirty in the morning—the ferry pulled in to Juneau. I stumbled from my cabin, backpack on and manhandling my suitcase.

I was able to catch a cab pretty quickly, and within a few minutes was at my campsite (actually, at an RV park) putting my tent up as quickly and quietly as I could. I packed a day bag and headed off to catch a bus to downtown Juneau.

My plan was, roughly, to take the tram up Mount Roberts (I had access to a free pass) and then hike down. Then I’d spend some time in downtown Juneau. I’d spend the day after that at Mendenhall Glacier.

And then—in just two days—I’d be back at the port, catching a ferry up to Skagway, ready to take down the Chilkoot Trail.

But first… first, I had to do a few inordinately stupid things.

Tagged: 2014 Inside Passage, 2014 Summer Adventure, United States - Alaska, United States - Alaska - Juneau, United States - Washington, United States - Washington - Bellingham

Wrapping up the Redwoods Trip

27 October 2014 Comments

So, the last month has been very busy at work, and I spent what free time I had having fun with Fin.

Consequently, the neglect of this blog.

Ah, well.

So there we were, heading to sleep after a day of rock scrambling around Patrick’s Point State Park. I had strained my leg during the day—badly enough that I was worried I was going to have to drop out of the Chilkoot hike.

We broke camp the next morning and hit the road. The day’s plan was to take the Avenue of the Giants south, eventually reaching Fort Bragg. We’d spend the morning after at Glass Beach, and then start driving back to Portland.

My leg was doing better than I expected. I was able to walk without limping for most of the day, although every once in a while I would take a really bad step and it would not support me. I was still worried about the Chilkoot hike, but there was enough improvement that I hoped it would be ok by the time the hike started.

The Avenue of the Giants was fun, although not as much fun as Howland Hill Road. It was more commercial—more cars, more people, more shops selling stuff.

Still, it was pretty and no matter many people are around, you can’t argue with the fact that the trees are just mind-bogglingly huge:

And sometimes the huge trees were growing out of other, fallen huge trees:

We spent most of the day driving leisurely down south, arriving at our campground near Fort Bragg late in the evening.

The next morning, we spent a little time exploring the beach at our campground. It was a gray, foggy morning, but there were sea otters out in the water:

No, really—those blobs in the water are sea otters. Trust me.

I also spent some time hanging out with some squirrels, because squirrels:

Then we headed off to Glass Beach.

Glass Beach used to be a garbage dump, and some of the garbage was burned on the beach. It was eventually closed as a dump and cleaned up, but the broken glass remained—and was smoothed and rounded by the ocean. If you look up pictures of the beach, you’ll see beautiful shots of large pieces of glass mixed in with pebbles. It looks really cool.

Unfortunately, becoming a tourist attraction was really the end of the beach. Visitors have taken home virtually all the larger pieces of glass, leaving only very tiny fragments of plain-colored glass (mostly white and brown, with some green):

Ironically, as I was walking along the beach, I heard several people whining about the lack of larger glass particles—while scooping smaller particles into their pockets. Eventually, even these tiny remnants will be gone, cleaned up by people who think everyone else ought to be preserving the beach while their souvenir is perfectly acceptable.

I didn’t spend too much time on the area of the beach where the glass was. The rest of the beach was prettier (and less crowded). The ocean was an amazing mix of colors and I really enjoyed just watching the waves:

By early afternoon, we are on the road again, this time headed back north to Portland.

My friend had to catch a plane the next day, so we headed inland to take a more direct and faster route back than the beautiful but twisting and slow coastal road we had followed south.

It wasn’t long before we were out of the coastal climate and into an area where the toll taken by California’s severe drought was obvious:

It was still beautiful country, but in a very different way.

We stayed in a hotel that night, and the next day my friend caught her flight.

Someday, I’d like to go back and do more hiking and camping in the area—this time, just staying in one place in Northern California and really hiking the Redwoods. I could easily fall in love with the Oregon/Northern California coast, and if I moved there I might never move again.

But I had more travel ahead of me. I spent the next day or so in Portland with my brother and his wife. I used the time to go through all my luggage and ship some of it back. I also did some shopping to pick up some last-minute things for the Chilkoot hike. And when I say “some shopping,” I mean my credit card company called me to make sure my credit card hadn’t been stolen and REI sent me a gift card to thank me for spending money with them.

I call it doing my part for the ongoing economic recovery.

And then it was time for the next leg of my trip: I’d be taking the ferry from Bellingham, Washington up to Juneau, Alaska. I’d spend a couple days there and meet up with some of the other Chilkoot hikers, and we’d all catch a ferry up to Skagway, where we’d meet up with the rest of the group.

But first, I had to get to Bellingham. I said my goodbyes to my brother and his wife as they went off to work, and I headed into downtown Portland and the Amtrak station.

Tagged: 2014 Chilkoot Trail, 2014 Summer Adventure, United States - California, United States - California - Fort Bragg

A different sort of trail adventure

23 October 2014 Comments

Mardi Gras in October?! Why not?

This is Fin last weekend at a fundraising trail ride for one of the local therapeutic riding centers.

A group of us from the barn decided to go, and we dressed up in a Mardi Gras theme. The costumes were a hit—we even ran into someone on the trail who had heard about our group from other riders.

Fin was super. This was definitely the busiest location I’ve taken him to, with lots of groups of horses doing their thing, some small carts in the distance (which he was ok with) and some carriages and wagons closer up (which he was not so keen on, but he coped with fairly well).

Fortunately we had fewer water crossings this time, and he was a little bit better about them. We really need to school water crossings, though. I said it last time, but I never did anything about it.

We also did some trotting this time. I didn’t feel nearly confident enough to do it last time, and honestly it took me a while to relax this time but I was better by the end. Fin thought it was great fun the entire time.

With the weather cooling down, I’m hoping to get him out on trails more often. It’s good for both of us—I’m not going to become more comfortable on the trails unless I go out on them, and Fin LOVES them, so I definitely want to get him out and keep him from getting too sour on arena work.

But he’s going to have to get over his water thing, because I dream of riding on the beach some day. And, you know, there tends to be a little bit of water there.

Some day…


Sea Lions and Injuries and Bears, Oh My!

22 September 2014 Comments

To recap:

It’s o’ dark thirty.

My friend is yelling out my name from her tent. Has been yelling out my name repeatedly.

Somewhere in the distance, people are yelling.

Once I am awake enough to comprehend all of this, I manage to ask “What?”

Given how deeply I sleep, that practically qualifies as witty repartee.

“I think a bear came through the campground!” my friend says.

I try to process this. She sounds very upset. She’s using the past tense. There are people yelling in the distance, suggesting the bear is occupied elsewhere at the moment. There’s an appropriate response to this.

“Is it gone?” I ask.

In retrospect, that was probably not the appropriate response.

Apparently the bear stopped at the water faucet at the edge of our campsite (where everyone had been washing their dishes, natch), snuffed around for a bit, and then cut straight through the campsite. It stopped at the bear box, which happened to be right next to my friend’s tent. However, we’d kept all our food in the car, so the bear box was empty. It then moved on through the bushes, apparently eventually making it to a campground with more to offer. Or more hysterical campers. Whichever.

After my friend tells me all this, I try to process it. “So it’s gone?” I ask again. I’m trying to make sure I understand the situation.

The bear came, he smelled, he moved on. We’re all alive and have all limbs intact. The people in the distance are opening and shutting car doors and talking loudly, but they have stopped yelling and it sounds like they are taking the time to break camp. Whatever the bear did in their site, I assume no one is spouting blood or they wouldn’t be bothering to take down the tent.

In other words, there’s nothing for me to do here. I can go back to sleep. Right?

My friend is not quite as blase about a bear coming through our campground as I am, but she is calming down and eventually says she is ok. I go back to sleep. I find out the next morning that she does not—she spends most of the night texting her husband. I get the impression he’s not impressed with my response.

But the bear was gone? And I was tired.

Before I left on this trip, there were a lot of jokes about bear attacks on the trail. When people would voice their concerns, I would shrug and point out that you don’t have to be the fastest one in the group, you just have to trip someone else on your way out. But for all my daytime bluster, it appears that I am, ahem, dead meat at night. I mean, I didn’t hear that bear come through the campground AT ALL, and my friend said she called my name out repeatedly before I woke up. The bear could have eaten us both and moved on to dessert elsewhere, and I’d probably still be trying to wake up.

Anyway. We survived, one of us with more sleep than the other.

We spent the next day exploring Patrick’s Point State Park. We split up—I am a fairly solitary person and am not used to being around people on a 24/7 basis. I needed a day on my own to just regroup and chill and be me.

We planned to meet at the beach later that afternoon, and I headed for the furthest point from the beach, figuring I’d work my way from there to the beach over the course of the day.

But first I stopped by the gift shop and front gate to let them know a bear had come through the night before. They thought it was most likely a yearling that had been through a few weeks before, and he was probably circling around again. They’d keep an eye out for him and watch to make sure he wasn’t a nuisance, and the camp host was going to try to track down some of the other campers who had seen him go through to make sure he hadn’t gotten into anything.

Then I headed off to start my day of hiking fun.

At the far end of the park, there’s a steep drop-off to a fairly rocky beach:

I climbed down and began scrambling on the beach—some of it was rocky pebbles, but quite a lot of it was large boulders. It was fun. And I found a turtle:

At the far end of the cove, I hit a point where I couldn’t go any further. At low tide it might have been possible, but I would have had to wade through waist-deep water around a pretty steep turn. The waves were coming in hard enough that I was concerned about keeping my footing—and I had no idea what sort of currents were in the water. I’m a good swimmer, but part of being a good swimmer is knowing when a situation is questionable.

I scrambled back along the cove, climbed back up the bluff, and started walking along the trails to see what else the park had to offer.

About this time I ran into my friend, who warned me that the trail got pretty rough a little ways ahead, and she hadn’t been able to climb up a particular part. When I got there, I saw why—it was an 8 foot or so climb straight up, with very little in the way of hand or footholds. She had been in sandals. I was wearing my hiking boots and had better traction, so I made it up. Not long after, I was rewarded by seeing a bunch of sea lions basking on some rocks—much, much closer than the ones we’d seen yesterday.

After watching them for a few minutes, I moved on, hoping I’d run into my friend again and could tell her to approach this section of the trail from the other direction so she could see them as well.

Not much further down, I hit another open bluff with a much smaller group of sea lions hanging out just off the beach. This bluff was steep but climbable, so I scrambled down and spent some time watching them from the beach.

Then I continued on my way, taking a small detour to climb up to the highest point in the park and another walk/climb out to a large hill/rock that gets used for weddings sometimes.

My leg was starting to bother me, and so I decided it was time to head for the beach—the sandy beach, that is—and just hang out.

By the time I reached the beach, I was having some trouble walking. I was having enough trouble that I was concerned I might have severely strained something during all my scrambling up/down/along rocky beaches, and I might have just killed my ability to to on the Chilkoot hike.

Like many of the beaches we’d been to along the Oregon and California coasts, this beach had large signs warning people not to swim due to strong undertows. The water was also very cold.

I was walking along the edge of the water, just enjoying myself, when I realized the water was cold enough that I could sit in it and let it ice my leg. Or get as close to icing as I could, anyway.

And so I spent the afternoon moving from the water’s edge back on the beach, where the sand was hot hot hot and oh so comfortable to sit on. Ice, heat. Ice, heat. Stare at the waves.

Try not to think about just how much my leg hurt.

Eventually I hobbled back to the campground, cursing myself every step of the way for not bringing a walking stick with me. I hurt, and it was only getting worse.

But as I passed the gift shop, I remembered that we had talked about having a fire that evening. Our campground was not far from the gift shop, and I decided I could make it with a load of wood.

When I finally limped into the campsite, I found my friend starting to get dinner ready and another bundle of wood by the fire pit—she’d had the same thought I had. When she realized I was walking wounded, she sent me off to my chair while she cooked and got the fire going.

She tried valiantly with the fire, but she had some trouble getting the larger pieces of wood to start. She finally gave up and went back to cooking, and I went to take over the fire. In two minutes, I had it roaring. But in all fairness to my friend, she had actually finally gotten some of the larger wood to start and gave up just a minute sooner than she should have. All I had to do was poke it a bit and pile on a few medium pieces to encourage the larger wood to stay lit.

We spent the evening just hanging out by the fire, burning through both bundles of wood, kicking back and enjoying the end of a leisurely but very enjoyable day. Even my leg was starting to recover, helped by some prescription-strength doses of Ibuprofen.

By the time I went to bed, I was hopeful that I had simply overused my leg all day and not drastically injured it.

We were even more careful about cleaning up the campsite than we had been the night before, given the bear visit the night before. But he did not come back. I slept soundly and my friend—if she didn’t sleep soundly, at least she got more sleep than the previous night.

We broke came the next morning, planning a leisurely drive through more redwoods and then down to Fort Bragg and its glass beach.

Tagged: 2014 Redwoods Road Trip, 2014 Summer Adventure, United States - California, United States - California - Patricks Point

On to California: Crescent Beach and the Redwoods (Take 1)

18 September 2014 Comments

We were up and on the road fairly early (in my opinion) or a little late (in my friend’s opinion) the next morning.

We continued our leisurely pace down the road, stopping at various pullouts. We were closer to the California border than I realized, because much sooner than I expected we pulled up to an inspection station. The agent came out and asked if we had any fruits or vegetables in the car.

I admit, I was confused. The last time anyone asked me that was when I was flying to or from Europe. I tried to remember what we had bought when we went grocery shopping. “Grapes?” I guessed. “Some apples?”

After making sure we had bought them in a grocery store, we were allowed to enter California.

For the record, it was harder for me to get past California’s border than it was to get in or out of Canada later on the trip. Just saying.

We hit Crescent Beach around lunch time and stopped in a visitor’s center to find out what was in the area and decide how we wanted to spend our day. While there, I saw the most kitschy “Grow Your Own Sequoia” seed kit ever, and promptly bought one for my brother and his wife. Because they like to grow things, right? So they could grow a honkin’ big tree! This sort of thing is why people are just as happy that I am actually not a big gift giver.

We decided to drive to the furthest point of Enderts Beach Road and then take our time driving back along it, stopping wherever. Then we’d go drive Howland Hill Road through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. And when I say we decided, I mean I suggested it and my friend, distracted, didn’t hear me. I took her silence for assent, and merrily began driving towards the farthest point. Since we had been stopping at every scenic pullout, she was less than pleased to suddenly discover that we weren’t, while I was zipping along, happily contemplating all these nifty places we would be stopping on the way back.

Communication, people. It helps. Don’t assume silence = agreement.

We saw our first real wildlife along the beach—sea lions basking out on some rocks:

At the end of our drive along the beach we stopped for lunch, and a seagull tried to make friends with me.

However, I knew he was just trying to charm me to get to my sandwich, and I’m not that kind of girl. As we drove away, I saw him sidling up to another group that had stopped to eat. See? I knew he didn’t love me.

We headed towards Howland Hill Road. From the discussion we’d had with the rangers at the visitor’s center, I was under the impression that this was a very popular scenic route. From the near-complete lack of signage pointing the way, I’m not sure if the locals know this… or if they have tracking cameras up to see how many tourists get lost on their way to it.

We didn’t get lost. We just took a wrong turn. Twice. The same wrong turn twice, mind you. I’m special like that when it comes to getting lost.

Eventually we found it. “It” turned out to be an unpaved dirt road, about a lane and a half wide. It’s not a one-way road, however, but traffic flow is managed with lots of pull outs.

There are actually two types of giant sequoias—the Coast Redwoods, which grow very tall but are not very thick (relatively speaking), and the Giant Sequoias, which are the ones that grow very thick but are less tall (relatively). Howland Hill Road goes through an area generally populated with the Coast Redwoods.

This was, hands down, the most awe-inspiring forest I’ve visited. It’s not just the scale of the trees—it just felt like a place where I could breathe and just be. I couldn’t photograph it well (ahem… well even for my general amateur skill level), but it definitely left an impression on me.

We later stopped at a small loop to see—if I am remembering correctly—Tall Tree. I assume that’s the tallest tree in the area. While I was walking the loop, I found Big Foot trying to squeeze between a couple trees:

(If you think that’s bad, just be happy I am not showing you the pictures of the rock I thought looked like a fat guy floating in the sea, or the burl that looked like a dead boar hanging from a tree. I was seeing things EVERYWHERE.)

It was still early afternoon, so we decided to go visit Fern Valley, where they did some filming for Jurassic Park. As we headed towards the canyon, we drove through an area that had so much dust from the road kicked up on the trees and in the air that it was ghostly. Beautiful, but ghostly.

I pulled over a few times to let more impatient drivers pass me. This is only relevant because, after a while, we hit a point in the road where there was a very wide puddle of unknown depth. I contemplated it for a moment, decided that at least one of the cars that passed me was, in fact, a car, and I was driving the Pimp-mobile, which its manufacturer calls an SUV. I’d debate the “SUV” designation, but given the lack of air bubbles coming up from the puddle and/or half-drowned people floating in the water, either of which would have suggested it was dangerously deep, I figured we could cross it safely.

And the next one, too.

I know you’re not supposed to just drive into puddles of unknown depth, but, like I said: the general lack of half-drowned people or stranded cars suggested we’d be ok.

When we got to Fern Valley, we discovered it is a steep, not very wide canyon whose walls are entirely covered by ferns (imagine that):

It was about this point where my fancy new camera’s batteries died and I had to switch to my camera phone. I should probably not admit this, but I have a version of the iPhone that is so old it doesn’t have Siri on it. Let’s just say my photos will be great for jogging my memories and are not so great for sharing.

As we walked along Fern Canyon, we were using small plank “bridges” to cross a tiny streamlet. When we hit one particularly difficult area, where the only steps available were half-submerged and clearly rotting wood, I eyed the situation for a moment and then decided that, you know, the manufacturers of my shiny new hiking boots claimed they were waterproof, and this seemed like a good time to find out. Wet feet beat slipping off one of the questionable pieces of wood and potentially falling face-first in the water. It helps to know one’s limitations when it comes to balancing on muddy, rotting wood. And to have waterproof boots.

The rest of my walk through the canyon was considerably more enjoyable, because I was able to stop worrying about where I was putting my feet and spent more time looking at the scenery.

This is also the place where we discovered that, while I may get lost on paved roads of all sorts, my friend lacks any wood sense whatsoever. Or else she has a natural affinity for deer trails, as she kept wanting to go check them out rather than staying on the main path. I only mention this because it’s so rare to find someone with less navigational sense than I have.

If you’re wondering how the two of us ever managed to get anywhere on the trip, don’t worry—we wondered the same thing. Frequently.

After we left Fern Valley, we headed for Patrick’s Point State Park, where we would be camping for the next two nights.

We got camp set up quickly. We set up two tents—I had brought my tent along to use in Juneau and on the Chilkoot Trail. It is nominally a two-person tent, and my mom and I did share it on the trail, but it’s a cozy two-person tent. So we borrowed my brother’s tent for my friend, giving us both a little extra space to sleep.

But not for long. Sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up to my friend calling out my name and the sound of distant yells.

I should mention that in college, my roommate would have to practically haul me out of the dorm during mandatory fire drills, because I would try turning off my alarm, throwing my alarm across the room, and unplugging the phone before my brain would catch up with me and I would realize it was the fire alarm.

I am not a light sleeper who jumps out of bed fully functional.

So it took me a minute to process that my friend was calling my name and people were screaming, and this probably meant there was a problem.

My brain finally stumbled on a probably appropriate response. “Whu—?” I tried. And then again: “What?”

Tagged: 2014 Chilkoot Trail, 2014 Summer Adventure, United States - California, United States - California - Crescent Beach, United States - California - Patricks Point

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Jane Clancy on All the pretty ponies (11 April 2015).

Rachel Harman on How to make a ribbon quilt (3 March 2015).

Sarah on How to make a ribbon quilt (18 January 2015).


Maintenance Note

Previous blog comments are currently not displaying due to some data migration issues.

New blog comments can be added and will show up as expected.

Old blog comments will be fixed when I have time.