Posted on November 18, 2012 - by Nadia
Originally published in the Skagway News –
It wasn’t in the original plan, but it felt pretty good to step off the ferry at Skagway next to Stroller White. Together, we made our way through the crowded street to the Skagway News. More than a century ago, when Skagway was in its founding growth spurt and news overflowed its docks and saloons, The Stroller was a newsman at that paper, though he hadn’t yet adopted the name he would make famous in his column, Strolling Around the Yukon.
Skagway, and specifically, the newspaper, had been my destination for the past two months as I kayaked the Inside Passage in a three-part pursuit of my Klondike roots. It was a quirk of timing that my mother and father, who is named Stroller after his grandfather, arrived in Juneau in time to join me on the ferry to the finish line.
The Stroller’s name has some cache. The shoulders of Mount Stroller White square off above the face of the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. He spent years chronicling the personalities along the way to the Klondike, served in public office and pontificated about local politics for decades.
Posted on July 13, 2012 - by Nadia
Tuesday July 10, 2012
Few places are as social as a safe harbor in a storm. I cut short my planned exploration of the gorgeous, glacier-sided Endicott Arm and beat a hasty retreat through eyelash-bending fog. The forecast indicated that wherever I spent Monday night would be home for at least Tuesday as well, maybe longer. I was anxious that that place should be within striking distance of Juneau.
I’ve extended my daily paddling range, doing more 30-plus mile days in Alaska than was possible further south. Here, tidal currents have less impact because the water is deep and wide, so my schedule is not driven as much by the turning of the tides. Campsites are more abundant so I can push on, confident I will find a place to stop. And the landscape is huge, I can take it in as I paddle hard, so long as the fog allows. But those long days depend on relatively calm waters and winds, and that, I knew, was about to end. (more…)
Posted on July 11, 2012 - by Nadia
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Entrance Island, Hobart Bay
The water ahead of me began to bubble and spin and I threw it in reverse. This was getting crazy. I was hemmed in between a kelp-draped rock pile and a couple of energetically feeding humpbacks. My right paddle blade was literally on the rocks and my bow, well, it was retreating as fast as I could make it. The whale surfaced on its side, leading with its long, white and grey striped pectoral fin held high, then it let the fin flop onto the water, rolled to expose its blow hole, took a gulp of water and slid under the surface. It was about 10 yards away. I could see into its blow hole. That’s more intimate than I need in my life with whales.
“Come on, you two, take it to deeper water, will ya?” I asked. They had been in deeper water when I started around the point and I figured they would pass on by. I had gotten a late start. I had lain in the tent, wishing it would stop pouring rain. When I got up I saw the tide had left and all I had to show for it was a long drag over sharp, slippery rocks. I had camped on a mossy shelf near a spring and the rain and spring rose up into a sop of tea-colored water around and under the tent. It was an awkward and soggy morning and now I had whales to contend with.
It had been shaping up as a whale weekend.
by Nadia on July 2, 2012
July 3, 2012 Wrangell, Alaska Layover day Independence Day is a four-day fling that builds in intensity here in Wrangell as soon as June is history. I arrived two days ago to the log rolling contest; sadly, I watched the canoe races start while I was at the chiropractor; now I hear live music from [...]
Thursday June 7 Shoal Bay, North of Desolation Sound If part of the definition of adventure is the intensity of experience, then navigating Yuculta and Dent Rapids, and gliding into the fairyland of Denham Bay afterward, was all one big adventure. If I was a bit laconic entering the rapids at the end of the [...]
Saturday, May 19, 2012 Port Townsend Port Townsend was a port city of sin and splendor when Josephine “Josie” Keys White and her husband Elmer John White lived here in 1897 and 1898. Situated at the mouth of Puget Sound, it was a place for sailors to get drunk and captains to get new crews. [...]
July 15, 2010 Sumner wrap up Been here three days trying to verify Josie’s existence here, to get a sense of the place and its surround, the get a feel for EJ Whit. Vicki Connor at the Ryan House and the Heritage Quest Research Library on Main Street have been very helpful. SUMNER — Almost [...]