Skiing Prince William Sound and the Paulson Bay Cabin

2 04 2013

We arrived in Whittier for our spring ski trip to find that Whittier had officially become a slurpee. From the streets to the water in the boat harbor, everything was slushy with a little bit of snow on top. Thank heaven for Extratuffs! We left later than we had hoped due to gale force winds and high seas (best to let that settle down a bit), but still made it out of Whittier by early afternoon.

Perfect snow for a snowball fight. Eva nailing Dan with a snowball.eva & dan in the harborHard to believe this is saltwater ūüôā It was much more like a margarita-just add tequila! The view right in front of the cabin.The Bay¬†This is what we found upon¬†landing on the beach…we had a little bit of work ahead of us¬†before we could play. The cabin was snowed in on three sides, but luckily the front was an easy dig out. According to the log book, no one had been there all winter and we had a little bit of issues getting the propane stove working properly. Once we got it to fire up, it really cranked! We¬†were super happy on this soggy trip for a good stove.¬†Temps ranged 30-40F, with lots of rain (as should be expected in a rain forest), really wet snow, and one small window of sunshine!stairs

Dan clearing out the top of the stairs.Dan digging out stairs

What kind of backcountry ski trip would it be with out a keg or two of Alaska’s finest? Jon showing us the best way to carry a full keg,¬†something he learned well on our last PWS ski trip.Jon Keg

Ryan skinning through the snowy forest.ryan skinningAfter a snowy night and rainy/foggy morning we were happy to see some high clouds & hints of blue sky.

The beach.the beach¬†Part of a spine and skeleton that washed up during low tide.skeletonWe took advantage of the short window of no rain and the only spot of blue sky/no fog in the area¬†and skinned up to get some skiing in. We found all the steep stuff had slid, and the few areas that hadn’t were pretty¬†suspect.¬†Mostly rolling hills surround the cabin, with any downhill¬†skiing to be had quite a ways away. Great touring though-it’d be the perfect area for a metal edge xc backcountry ski.

We took a modest run (on the left shoulder). It was slow as hell with the super wet, dense snow. Ryan, on his snowboard, didn’t fare as well as the rest of us skiers ūüė¶mountainJon, taking advantage of the warm, dry spell (about 40F). Behind him filled in with fog (earlier we had views of Cochrane Bay.) Soon, all the boys were topless. jon¬†Ryan, Eva, and Dan breaking trail. Setting the skin track was a little bit of work in the super wet & dense snow.skinningJon & Parker with Cochrane Bay behind them.jon and parkerEva helping me grill up the chicken satay. To say the least, we ate pretty well on this trip. Bacon & sauerkraut stuffed reindeer hot links, grilled pineapple wrapped with bacon, and the chicken satay were highlights. I think we all might have actually gained weight on this trip….eva bbqChicken Satay. I was pretty proud of how this turned out, even though it was a little more work than I had planned for a camping trip ūüôā I’ll have to fine-tune the recipe to make it a bit easier in the backcountry. It was super worth it though ūüôāchicken Satay

 

 

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Multi-sportin’ it ~ Kayaking & Skiing Blackstone Bay

21 06 2012

We’ve been scheming for years to do a combo kayak/ski trip. This definitely seemed like the year to do it with the colossol amount of snow we still have. And the good news is my ski boots fit perfectly in a 20 liter dry bag in my back hatch!

The crew. Eva, Dan, and Sabrina dorking it up.

We headed out in the rain Friday for what I expected to be another soggy weekend in Prince William Sound. Luckily, I was wrong, and the gloom and doom clouds and rain turned into another amazing (and mostly sunny!) weekend in PWS. ūüôā

Cool ice in front of the Beloit Glacier.

 

Sabrina is all smiles with the change in the weather.

Eva and Dan.

Eva and Dan.

An Extratuff approach.

Sabrina skiing the summer snow, which suprisingly was pretty good.

This was our compromise to getting two pairs of skis on the tandem. We¬† put my skis up front and Sabrina’s skis¬†in the middle. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get her skis on back without¬†them interferring with the rudder. Luckily, it wasn’t too long of a¬†paddle from 17 mile beach to where we skiied.

We lucked out with calm waters in Blackstone. It wasn’t until we got close to Decision Point that we got a little bit of wind, but the waves and chop really picked up. It seemed like waves were coming from about five directions. We camped at Squirrel Cove and the next morning woke up to sunny skies and calm waters in Passage Canal.

Love my view.

¬†On our way back to Whittier, Dan sneaking in a beer while Eva paddles. Pure winning! ūüôā





The Shrode Lake Cabin/Skiing in Prince William Sound

1 05 2012

We are probably the only people to drop a keg into a glide crack ūüôā No worries, it was definitely rescued! The fact that we were bringing three, five gallon kegs (of some of Midnight Sun’s finest), hardly made the fact the that I brought two sets of boxing gloves seem excessive.

Mike, Michelle, and Parker on the boat ride in.

We got dropped off on a beautiful, sunny perfect day in the Sound. I love PWS on a flat calm day! We lucked out and saw a young humpback whale on the way. We arrived at the put-in (we got dropped off before Three Fingers Cove because it was iced in) to an enormous amount of snow!

The snow towers over Michelle. ¬†Jon (at 6′ 5″) was just able to touch the top of the snowbank from the beach. We’ve had an amazing winter in AK!

Jon and Dan on the ski in. Probably wouldn’t recommend heavy, overloaded sleds. We had an interesting tour in, to say the least,¬†over the hilly terrain. It took us about 4 hours to get to the cabin, what should take an hour-ish. At least we made sure we were properly hydrated first ūüôā

This butterfly kept landing on my skis. Again with the overpacking, I brought xc skis and my AT set-up.

It was hot outside! I’m glad I threw in a tank top and shorts at the last minute. We decided to go for a ski after we dropped our stuff of at the cabin. Boone with Shrode Lake on the right and PWS on the left.

Boone and Michelle checking out options.

Michelle and Mike descending down towards Shrode Lake.

We were told that the people that had the cabin the weekend prior found only the top 18 inches of the hut peaking through the snow. Luckily for us, they dug a burrow down into it.

Czech Yourself and Mammoth Stout-mmmm!

The suprise entertainment I brought-boxing gloves!

¬†Mike skiing above Jack Lake. The conditions were less than stellar. It had rained for the¬†day and a half prior¬†-what a surprise in PWS :), and the snow was saturated. We pointed our skis and barely moved. It felt like skiing with our skins on. But the tour was gorgeous…..

Mike and Michelle touring back across Jack Lake.

Michelle, Mike, and Parker found the perfect way to relax in the evening sun.

Our last day, Dan and I decided to get one last ski after we dropped our gear off at the pick up beach. It turned out to be pretty decent spring corn/slush.

Jon doing his share to lighten the load ūüôā Another glass calm day in PWS.

Michelle and Mike waiting at the pick up beach in style!





Kayaking Icy Bay

15 07 2011

Nothing beats a day on¬†Prince William Sound in the sunshine and flat calm. Add lots of wildlife and good¬†friends = perfect kayak trip. We lucked out and it didn’t rain a drop the¬†four days we spent in PWS (although a few times the skies threatened to). In the end,¬†we got bits of sunshine everyday,¬†that turned into a beautiful, hot, sunny last day of perfect paddling.¬†We got dropped off on a beautiful, small peninsula full of icebergs between Nassau Fjord and Gaamaak Cove that, although buggy, made the¬†beautiful camp. Within view of camp we had a pair of eagles nesting on one side, crows on the other, and could hear the kittiwake rookery.

Forest chillin’ on an iceberg in front of camp.¬†We quickly set up camp, jumped into our boats, and¬†headed to the kittiwake rookery in Gaamak Cove. Forrest, with his eagle eye, spotted some kittiwake chicks.We then headed away from camp, up the Icy Bay coast to check things out. I¬†stumbled upon¬†4 baby river otter pups sitting on some rocks, which was an amazing find!Shannon and Deb had found a hidden waterfall earlier, so on the way back to camp Cathy and I decided to head in and check it out.

Our second day, we paddled into Nassau Fjord and Chenega Glacier. 

Shannon and Deb in front of a cool chunk of ice.Shannon and Deb watching Chenega Glacier.Gulls taking off an iceberg in front of Chenega Glacier.We saw quite a few seals on the iceflow on our way back to camp. This guy was pretty friendly.Oystercatcher.Our third day we had a young visitor near camp.We moved camp the third day to Dual Head, where our water taxi would pick us up late the next day. We needed water, and here we found two beautiful waterfalls and a crystal clear little inlet where we got water and purified it.Our campfire at Dual Head. We had an beautiful night there. We made smores over the fire, Shannon led us in some yoga stretches on the beach, then we got treated to two otters just barely off shore at high tide, diving down for food and chomping away for about two hours. They seemed just as interested in us as we were in them. You can barely see the dot of one of them above the bigger iceberg and to the left of the smaller iceberg. This was before they came in closer.Sunset with iceberg from Dual Head looking across to Verdant Island.Our last day paddling was pretty freakin’ sweet. Glass & hot.Forrest taking a snoozer ūüôāMy token shot of my boat & the scenery. The end of an amazing kayak trip.








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