Friday, October 10, 2008

The Land of Fiords and Rain

Prepare yourself - This is going to be a long one, but it will be worth your while.

So we got off the ferry in Prince Rupert after 24 hours of riding and found a nice spot to camp just outside of town. The next day we explored a bit and looked into stories we had heard about the "Butze Rapids" These were rapids caused by reversing tides in one of the near by inlets. Sure enough it was true and we just happened to be there during one of the years highest tidal differences - a wopping 22ft between high and low tide. We sussed things out a bit, drove to the end of the "industrial park" got in our boats and made our way out there...

...and this is what we found!!!!!!! NOTHING - well we just timed the tides wrong and went out as they were changing so the inlet was full and no water was moving, we docked on an island and waited for a while in the sun. Notice not even a polypro top on - it was N.I.C.E nice out!

Once the waters started draining we got some of the goods...glassy waves so clear you could see the bottom as you surfed.

It was small first and we moved around to different spots between different islands making different features - some were good, some weren't some you just had to stick a finger in and see how they went...

Then it got big, like if you found a bear cub and started playing with it and thought it was the cutest thing ever and then its enormous pissed off mother came by and decided to eat you for dinner.

If you enlarge this you can just make me out in the far top right of the picture, all the water between me and the camera was moving at about 25mph and was angry...not too much play, but tons of fun trying some hairy ferry's

This wave doesn't look big but thats cause you cant see the 8 foot deep trough that its curling into...i dropped into this a few times, the ride was amazing, the eddy line and whirlpools of death behind it were not amazing...

We called it a day after my few attempts to ride this beast and i left the Butze rapids very much enthralled, so much so that i cracked a beer and dig a jig in my underwear.

In the end we left the rapids feeling like we missed something, like the "goods" never really developed and we just chalked it up to it being our first time being there. A little further investigation revealed that we went at the wrong tide change, apparently you dont want it at ebb tide (the tide going out) you want it when its going in, and apparently no one goes out when its ebb tide cause its useless and the whirlpools are heinous... either way...if you go look at me dancing in my underwear again you can see we weren't overly phased.

Oh, and this is the dead skinned bear head that someone tossed out during high tide that was uncovered during low tide, and a shopping cart just for good measure...

So after the surfing mission we decided to keep the kayaks out and head along for a full day mission exploring one of the inlets along the coast. We whipped out our (un)trusty map and flipped the pages, closed our eyes, dropped a finger down and checked where it landed...there it is, right there, thats where we'll off we went.
We parked the van and immediately we knew it was gonna be a sweet one. This day ended up being one of the more incredible days of random events i've experienced.

I thought i was back in California from the view at the put in. Bald granite domes rising up thousands of feet, this time they came out of the ocean though. Amazing place.

Then all of a sudden we got buzzed by a helicopter and landed right next to us... Perfect view, just with a heli in the middle now...

Apparently they were doing some heli logging down another inlet and we're looking for their mechanic? Odd.

So our map showed that up the inlet behind the helicopter was a "pinch" and then a "lagoon" and then a tiny stretch of river, then a lake, then another longer section of river, then a bigger lake..we brought food for the day and the mission to explore was off.

We made it to the lagoon and the mountains just seemed to get steeper and steeper. We had arrived at the lagoon in time to catch the tide coming in which created a nice little rapid to introduce us to the place. 4 seals also followed along with us and played around for 30 minutes or so.

We got to the end of the lagoon and scouted up the river by foot. To our enjoyment it was only a 5 minute walk with boats up the river to get to the lake, so off we were to continue the day...

The inlet was carved out in the typical U shape as many glacial carved valleys are. It was beautiful. The first lake was pretty small and the entire way across it salmon were leaping out of the water catching some sort of insect, they put on a pretty good show for us.

We got to the end of the lake and ditched the boats. we knew this hike would take a while longer and carrying boats through this shit wasn't going to happen. We found a small little trail though and spent 45 minutes going up, over and around dead logs, through patches of devils club and past many cascading waterfalls as the river from the lake above us drained to the one below.

We finally broke out of the bush and this is what greeted us.

An amazing lake with an amazing view. We had started about 3 hours earlier and just sat on some moss covered logs and enjoyed the view for a while.

So as we sat and looked out towards the mountains i noticed something...there was a waterfall coming into the other side of the lake and something near it was reflecting..odd i thought. What could it be? If you look at the peak of the mountain in this picture, go straight down to the waterline and then move a tiny tiny bit to the left, thats what i was looking at.

So i pulled out the camera, zoomed in as far as it went and KABLAMO...we had ourselves a cabin.

Now i was a bit bummed at finding this cabin. It looked amazing, it was one of those places you just had to go explore, see what kinda stories it told. It was nestled so deep up this inlet it had to be amazing, BUT, there was no way to get to it. The right side of the lake was flanked out by cliffs and it woulda been hours of bush-whacking on the left side and all we had were kayaking cloths and flip-flops on. Out of the question.

I sat for a while, a bit saddened by the thought of not seeing the cabin up close, but the more i thought the more i wondered: Now, if i had a cabin on the otherside of the lake, how the hell would i get to it? id have to use a boat, but i wouldn't bring a boat up here everytime i came in, id stash it in the woods...You see where this is hunt for a boat in the woods. And thats what we did. We took 10 steps from where we sat and we found signs... old torn up dock among the driftwood we sat on..

And then we found it...stashed in the woods and in pristine condition...shaun hauled this little beauty to the water picked me and jacqui up from the dock.

Fuck ya...thats all we could say, we were on our way, the adventure continued...we got to check the cabin out, Fuck ya here we come!

So we made it to the out on their nice big dock and had ourselves an explore.
This place was amazing. As it turned out it was on an island of its own, they float-planed in most of the time. a waterfall/slide came in right behind it that would be slide down into the lake and the view was spectacular.
This thing was 25ft tall and all you would need is a therma-rest to slide on and you've be in for the ride of your life! I'm going back!
So it gets better...We got into the cabin and looked aorund and checked it out and they had fishing gear everywhere, so we thought, hey, while in Rome...might as well give it a nudge.

And you know what...5th cast out for Mr. McCracken and KABLAMO - DINNER was served!
Fuck ya..thats all we could say!

Then we caught another, and then i caught was like these fish were begging for the hook. We only kept 1 but man o man, it was good.

As we made our way back home we couldn't help but laugh at the chain of events that had to happen to be heading to the van with a fish in our hand for dinner...It was just unbelievably amazing.

We ate rainbow trout curry that night (which was delicious), watched the sky get dark to this amazing view

Drank goon all night and decided that we wanted to dedicate all of this to one of our buddies back in NZ who we wished was with us on the road. So this one's for you crusty! We're sticking a finger in it!

The next day we drove on heading east towards the rockies. We were to explore on our way there and decided to take a side road up to "Shame ski hill" to check it out. Turned out to be amaznig. We got above the nasty clouds and the mountains rolled back in endless fashion.

We decided to toss in a quick hike to the top of the mountain and were quickly thwarted by the efforts of this black bear. I decided that the black bear was happy and fat from eat the endless berries that the shrub covered ski slopes provided and most likely wanted nothing of us. The kiwi's weren't convinced and watched in doubt as i scared the bear off with some whopping and hollaring..might have to click to see the bear on the right side, halfway up the picture.

We got to the top and took some pictures, enjoyed the amazing views and just reveled in the moment.
THEN...ALL OF A SUDDEN. the bear came charging back on this giant barge and nearly took us out...Really, it didn't happen like that at all. We just hiked off the mountain.

BUT i couldn't help but notice the name of this ski run as we walked away...I mean really, honestly, who does that? do they think they're kidding anyone? And a blue square, of all things, i'd give it at least a black diamond, if not a double black.

We finished up at Shames ski hill and headed off to Terrace for another day hike up Thorne mountain. Since i am getting completely sick of typing and i'm actually sitting in the rockies and not anywhere near Terrace now, i am going to dump the rest of the pictures and call it a night. One last thing though - we were kayaking topless a week ago, last night i slept in winter socks, leggings, a union suit, fleece pants, 3 layers of polypro, a fleece jacket, a down jacket, a winter hat, insulated leather gloves, inside of my sleeping bag, which was inside shauns sleeping bag, inside my bivy which was inside my tent. It was got winter quick round here. But we did have a big adventure around the Candian Rockies highest peak just the other day and i'll report on that soon enough if i havn't frozen yet.
Enjoy the last few picks and think warm thoughts for me.

Thornhill Nipple shot...jacqui was not impressed.

The mountains directly outside of Terrace B.C. and a quick thanks goes out to Corey Boux for taking us in for the was sweet to get out of the nasty rainy weather.

Same but looking the other direction

24 hours through fiordland

From Cape Scott (Port hardy) we took a ferry north for 2 days (actually just 24 hours) up through the fiords of B.C.'s west coast. It was nasty weather but it made for some cool views. The ship was fun and it had a shower which was a necessity after a muddy trip on Cape Scott. On the way up we saw whales, killer whales, seals, lots of waterfalls and 2 movies.

We were excited to be on board where we were allowed to sleep anywhere and cook on the back deck. And shock the world?

Jacqui thought dinner was finger licking good: shaun, he wasn't too sure

We all enjoyed the views though and here's the rest of the pictures. We were dropped off in Prince Rupert where we would explore for a while and then head southeast to the Rockies.

Off to the Island and other updates

The trip to Vancouver Island

We took a ferry across to Vancouver island and spent a few nights in Victoria with Shaun's extended family, From there it was 500k's north along the island on a miserable rainy cold day to Cape Scott, the site of our next adventure. So here's some pictures up to that pt.

Leaving the Mainland

A very nice sunset from the boat

The view of Mount Baker in Washington from Victoria B.C. here we are. The trailhead of Cape Scott, 20 K's of flat walking brought us out to the ocean and a few days of cool exploring - it was wet and muddy. The mud was often deep, calf deep (as in a baby cow)

Lots of rain means lots of green, Thankfully we had a tarp

A break in the clouds on the first day in, this is where we camped, glad we brought the ax for chopping up drift wood.

There was a lot of it!

Indiana Shaun!

So there were a lot of "cool" "elusive" things to be found on this adventure, We'll start easy and work our way up.

Cape Scott: Where Trees grow on trees

Cape Scott: Home of Ancient Logging Rituals. You may find this quite boring but i find it very cool. The little notches in this stump are the first cuts loggers used to make on big trees - they'd insert a plank or board into the wedge and then stand on it to cut the tree down - i've seen plenty of pictures of this but never seen it in person - Dutch colonists came here about 150yrs ago and unsuccessfully inhabited the region - this is evidence from their attempts.

Cape Scott: Home of the elusive leopard Slug - This thing is fast and deadly, i just got this shot off before it turned on me

This is it turning on me. You only have seconds left when you have this view in front of you. I was lucky to escape alive. Shaun stepped in front and took one for the team. He was eaten. It was gross.

Cape Scott: Home of Nessy's Cousin, Betsy - the elusive sailboat eating sea monster. We spotted Betsy off the coast attacking the sailboat - look at the size of the thing, they didn't have a chance. We just watched unable to do anything, again, it was pretty gross.

Nice Beaches

Lots of StarFish - Dont eat them or you'll be picking bits out of your teeth with floss for 3 or 4 days. they do turn your poo pretty colors though

We Collected Mussels off the rocks at low tide and had them for dinner - deeeeelicious


Ya so thats that for that one..On to more