Journey 33
July 1-9, 2009- Camping/Wildlife Adventure

A 19 year old girl who has been fighting Ewings Sarcoma went on a Camping/Wildlife adventure in Alaska. A special thanks to Ken at Wilkinson Expeditions for providing guide service for this trip and for going above and beyond!

Thanks also to Alexandra and Brad von Wichman at Babkin Charters for providing the boat portion of this trip!

Here is our young woman's account, (do you think she had fun?):

Day 1:
We spent most of the day flying. When we got to Alaska airport the guide met us by the luggage carousel.
From there we headed 40 miles South to Girdwood. We drove around town and then we just relaxed the rest of the evening.

Day 2:
Day 2 we headed to Paddle Lake where we would spend the night. Before getting there we stopped at the Moose Resort and Spa to drop off some of the supplies. On our way back out to the highway we saw a young female moose.
At Paddle Lake, we loaded the canoes and paddled out across the lake to the spot where we would be camping.
When we got there, we unloaded and the guide set up camp while my sister and I tried fishing... with no success.
After fishing we came back and ate and went to bed.

Day 3:
My sister and I woke up to ham, eggs, and homemade hash browns. Once we were done eating we packed up and headed back to where the car was and we went to fish. This time the guide and I each caught a fish while my sister had her fish throw the hook back at her. We let the fish go. Once back at the car we headed to the Moose Spa and Resort where we got on the Moose River and headed up river to our next camp site. Again, the guide set up the camp site and my sister and I fished. I managed to snag myself a salmon fry! We ate good and went to bed.

Day 4:
In the morning we packed up and spent the day floating down stream back to the Moose Spa and Resort where we would be spending the night. The owners of the resort invited us up to their house that night to celebrate July 4th. After which my sister and I headed back to the cabin to go to bed where we could sleep on real beds.

Day 5:
After waking up and getting all of our stuff together we headed to Sterling where my sister and I would be going on a horse back ride for the day. We got a real nice guide who felt that with our 13 years of experience riding horses, that we could do a little more than just the normal ride. So we went a lot farther up the mountains and then on the way back we went bush-whacking. Once we got back to the stable where our guide was waiting, we headed back to Girdwood for the night. That night Girdwood was having their annual Forest Fair.

Day 6:
Today we headed out to Prince William Sound where we would be spending two nights on the boat "Alexandria".
We left out of a town called Whittier which only has 123 people that live there year round. As we headed out we got to see Doll Porpoises. Once out in the Sound, our captain asked if we would like to try our hand at shrimp fishing.
Which of course we did. Also while we were stopped to do the shrimp pots, we tried fishing. I caught a Red Cod but we put him back. So we set our pots and headed to where we would anchor the boat for the night. On the way there we saw hundreds of sea otters all just floating about in the water. Once we anchored the boat we took the dingy up a little river where we were eaten alive by No-See-Ums (a type of evil little bug). When we got back my sister and I decided to try fishing. We both caught quite a few Flounders but it wasn't till about midnight that my sister caught a Halibut.

Day 7:
When we got up, the first thing we had to do was go and get ice for the fish that my sister had caught. To do this we went up to glaciers to get the ice. It was amazing how blue the ice looked. While in the ice flows we saw a seal that kept coming up to see what we were doing. After spending some time in the broken off ice we headed out to pull our shrimp pots. As we headed out of the area we were in we saw a bunch of otters in what are known as rafts. We were heading back to our pots when our captain noticed a tourist ship across the Sound that looked like it was following something...
...so we went over to check it out. It turned out to be a young Humpback whale. We followed him for about an hour when the captain said we needed to head back to the pots if we wanted to get to where we would anchor tonight. Once back at the pots I learned how to prepare shrimp. (By pulling their tails off.) Then we set the pots back and set anchor a little ways away. Then trouble started. The boat just died. The captain worked on it a bit but then told us that he would have to call someone to come and get us. He continued to work on the boat and after an hour got it to start so he called his friend and told him we got it started and we're heading back. We stopped and picked up the pots. One of them had a sun star on it. I put it back in the water. It took till almost 11pm to get back to Whittier. Once there the tunnel that connects Whittier to the Seward Highway was closed. So we stayed the night on the boat in the harbor.

Day 8:
Our guide took us out on the dingy to a colony of gulls across the bay from the harbor. That was really cool when a bald eagle flew near the colony and the gulls went crazy. We then stopped at a little piece of land and walked around a bit.
When we went back to the dingy the water had come up about two feet. We then headed back to the harbor to catch the next time through the tunnel. Once through the tunnel we headed to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.
We drove around and got to see grizzly bears, bison, porcupines, and caribou.
I had a chance to talk to my mom about how I was happy about everything, but I hadn't seen a bear in the wild.
Well, not ten minutes after I hung up the phone with my mom I looked out the front window and saw a bear walking toward the van. Of course I ran to the bedroom where my sister had gone to lay down and shouted there is a bear get up.
She got up and we both ran back to the window but the bear was gone. Then we both realized the back of the van was open and......the bear wasn't gone. The guide and his wife were Up stairs in the their part of the house. My sister and I were banging on the door and calling their phone when finally told him there was a bear in his car.
We stood in the window and listened as he ran around up stairs trying to find fire crackers to scare the bear away. Once he got outside he threw the fire crackers, they didn't go off, but by then the bear climbed out the back of the van and just walked away. The van wasn't hurt but the bear did eat my goldfish (crackers). After that we all sat outside and had dinner and then went to bed.

Day 9:
Today was our last day in Alaska. So that morning our guide took us to a glacier near the tunnel to Whittier. It was amazing when he told us that just a few years earlier where we were standing would have been on the glacier where now it had to be about a mile back up the valley. After coming down from the glacier we went into a museum that told about the glacier and the area around the museum. We then had lunch there and headed to Anchorage. Our first stop was the Chocolate factory that we got a lot of souvenirs at. Then we went down to the old ship yards and a river where we saw some BIG salmon. Our guide then took us to dinner before taking us to a place where we could see the whole city skyline.
There we also saw a large adult male moose. It was then time to go to the airport. Our guide dropped us off. We checked our bags in the went to wait for our flight.

Day 10:
We arrived in Seattle at 2:30 in the morning. We went and found a place to sleep for a few hours. My flight left at 6:30.
I got back to Colorado around 11. My mom and my dog picked me up and we went home.

Here are some of my pictures!

Click the thumbnails to view the full size image

     
             
     
             
     
             
     
             
     
             
     
             
       

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