It seems the difference between myself and many of the people on this team, is that the majority of the people are heavily into fishing. While I do plan on fishing a bit, this summer the majority of the time I hope to spend in my boat will be exploring the area and doing longer trips. So if you are interested in hearing about the occasional salmon catch combined with the experiences of finding hidden coves to camp in, you have come to the right place.
After being here for only a few months I have made pretty good use of my Necky Elias. About a mile from my house is a place called Sheep Creek. Its a salmon spawning stream and when the tide is low, it exposes a few hundred yards of sandy beach. It is an ideal place to launch for an afternoon paddle, as it is one of the southern most points of the city of Juneau. If you paddle 2 miles south along the coast you won't see a house for the rest of your journey. On my first day out I paddled that way and came upon a few hundred birds gathered in an eddy. They were having a rest and do not think they appreciated my presence. Within 100 ft of them the first group took off low across the water in a crowded black mass of splashing, flapping, and calls. For about 2 minutes solid this went on. Every single one of them took flight until my path was completely clear to continue down the coast line.
This is where I found the abandoned wharf. The remains of a place where mining was prevalent. I paddled underneath to float still and stare at the weather stained pilings. A few cracks let light shine through to see that the entire thing was covered in moss and young trees. PLants will grow anywhere here and the trees were trying to set their roots for the next hundred years. I decided to take a break on the beach and look around where I found rusted scraps of metal and the foundations of several ruined buildings. It was a nice place to pause for a bit and explore around. When I hopped back in my kayak to continue on my way, I received a friendly hello from a sea lion. He popped his head up to give me a glance and breathed heavy to let me know he was there. For my first time paddling in Juneau it became very apparent that this place has a lot to offer.
There is water everywhere here it seems. It makes since as it has rained nearly every day between February when I arrived, and now. The Mendenhall Glacier has a huge lake attached to it. You can load up your kayak and launch at a place called Skaters Cabin. From there it is about a 2 mile paddle to the face of the glacier. On a rare sunny day without work, my girlfriend Chelsea and I decided to make the trip. The Lake is Green and brown with swirling clouds of sediment constantly surrounding you. When we put our paddles in you couldn't even see them under the water. From where we put in you can see snow covered mountains and trees, but no glacier. The only evidence is that there are huge chunks of ice that have fallen off and been pushed by the wind and scattered across the lake. After rounding a bend the huge face of the Mendenall glacier presents itself and you are about half way there. With the cold wind blowing off the glacier the trip was cold but not too difficult. For about 45 minutes of casual paddling you are rewarded with brilliant blue ice chunks and the chance to walk on top of hundreds of tons of ice. The area is full of crevices and caves with rivers flowing through. Chelsea and I walked under 50 ft of ice to see stones that were frozen in ice for centuries. We played in tunnels that spewed turquoise, deep blue, and every shade between. Kayaking can take you to so many wonderful places and expose you to your surroundings along the way. This place is a prime example of just that. There are a million things to see in every direction you look. The surroundings drastically changing the deeper and deeper you go.
I think Juneau will have a lot of great places to explore. I hope you enjoyed reading this and will look forward to my future stories. Thank you for your time and feel free to contact me with suggestions or questions!