Going Paddleabout: Sea Kayaking Around Bella Bella, Part 3

July 21

the tent and tarp on Wolf BeachThe sound of rain on the roof had me scuttling out of the tent at 5:45 to rescue my drysuit and long johns from the no-longer drying area. Then it was back to bed ’til about 9. I took advantage of a brief lull in the rain to select a suitable centre pole for my tarp from the driftwood offerings on the beach, and used my kayak mast to hold one edge high as an entrance.

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Going Paddleabout: Sea Kayaking around Bella Bella, BC (Part 2)

July 17th

View of a creek over the bow of sea kayak

Peering out of my tent after the alarm went off at 5AM, I could see wavelets even in the lee-sheltered little bay. I decided not to make the exposed crossing to Stirling Island with the seas already so stirred up. I rolled over to enjoy a lie-in.
I rewoke at 8AM, on time to bid Gerald good-bye as he left, and make a yummy pancake breakfast. I spent the day sight-seeing and exploring the archipelago northeast of Triquet Island, rewatering from a small creek in a Hunter Island bay. With the weird and random winds running through the channels , I got to sail in short bursts on both the outbound and return trips. Continue reading

The Three Essential Food Groups For Long Camping Trips

One of the many pleasures of camping out of a kayak — a boat that’s basically a floating cooler — is that for the first several days you can feast on fresh foods. But multi-week trips require provisions with reduced bulk and increased shelf life. For these, I carry a mix of what I consider the three essential food groups for extended camping: store-dried, freeze-dried and home-dried. Continue reading

Dancing In The Demolition Zone: Thoughts On Rocks And Ages

a pile of ancient boulders among the treesRecently, I spent a weekend camping in an active demolition area. As I hung out at the base of the southern Garibaldi range, relentless forces were tearing down the peaks that rose thousands of feet above me. Freeze-and-thaw cycles drove ice wedges ever deeper into cracks into the rock, cleaving away car-size boulders. A vast pile of them had toppled to rest less than a hundred feet from where I’d set up my tent. Out on the colluvial fan where I collected drinking water, Raven Creek was relentlessly bulldozing tons of cobbles into Pitt Lake.

The only thing that saved me from being crushed by all this activity was the fleeting, mayfly span of my life. Saplings growing out of the boulder pile near my tent showed I’d missed being smashed by a mere fraction of a millennium. And I’d dodged being ground under a wave of rocks and washed out into the lake by just a split century.

filtering water among the creekside cobblesTo humans, few things seem more permanent and unchanging than mountains. Perhaps that’s why actually watching a big rockslide happen can be so disturbing: it’s like seeing a fracture in time itself.

But if mountains were sentient, if humans registered on their awareness at all, it might be as the briefest of flashes. We’d be the occasional flicker on the edge of their vision as they got on with the eons-long business of seismically or volcanically growing into adulthood. Among the community of mountains, we’d be the stuff of myth, half-seen ghosts whose very existence was much debated.

Camping Gear Hacks: How To Save Your Lantern Batteries

I love me both of my Ultimate Survival Technologies LED lanterns. (The 10 DAY 6 AA battery model is so bright that it’s replaced my 4 D battery lantern even for car camping.)

a tent at night, lit from inside by a lantern

What I don’t love so much are their super-sensitive press switches. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve opened my pack or drybag to find the lantern had squeezed against other cargo and turned itself on, wasting hours of battery life. I needed a fix. Continue reading

Last Kayak Camping Trip of 2015

My Personal Transport Team (AKA my long suffering wife) dropped me with my boat and gear at Deep Cove about 14:00 hours on December 30th. I’d been waiting for a window of clear weather; the temperatures are lower under cloudless skies, but it’s easier to stay safely warm in dry cold than in icy rain. That’s true both in the kayak and in camp. Continue reading

Making Camp On The North Coast

The sun was shining when you launched your kayak this morning. But shortly after noon, it clouded over and the rain set in. You aren’t surprised: you are paddling the British Columbia coast not far south of Alaska, just off the most verdant rainforest on Earth.

bringing the kayak ashoreThe fjord-like channel you’re travelling offers few landing spots, so it’s six in the evening before you ground the bow of your kayak as gently as possible on a cobble beach. Hours of rain have given you bathtub hands.

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