Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Port Hardy, Day 18, May 20

I'm in Port Hardy having paddled up Johnstone Strait the last few days. I've been putting in good miles, maxing out at 32, because the combination of wind and tidal currents have been in my favor throughout the morning hours. But be it 20 miles or 32, I'm fairly whooped by the end of the day.

I arrived here in Port Hardy a day earlier than expected because of the good mileages I had put in during the previous days, and because of strong headwinds that were predicted for today (which were accurate, somewhat amazingly). The problem with arriving early is that I arrived on Sunday of a long holiday weekend. It seems the Canadians celebrate the birthday of a bygone queen of England. I've been asking around to see why Victoria is so honored, and most don't really know. I did get an answer today that seemed to make sense--Victoria was queen when Canada became a country, or a federation, or something. I don't know if that's true or not (and I expect to hear some comments on this point), but it has a certain ring to it. And for those who are curious, that answer came from a 20-something year old.

So I've had some time (Boy, have I!) to think over a few things, and one thing I've been pondering is why the hell am I doing this paddle trip. And I think part of the answer lies in my need to tackle a challenge now and again that is large enough to take all my focus and concentration. I can think back to a string of challenges/opportunities/hurdles that more or less fit this mold:

Some might say secondary school.
Starting Klutz.
The South America/Africa trip.
Starting the Seat of the Pants Construction Co.
Doing a land subdivision
Learning to fly.

So maybe I have a biological need to try something new, to have an adventure, to learn something foreign to me.
Or maybe I'm just quacking in the dark...

Hopefully my food will arrive tomorrow, and I can pack up and leave on Wednesday. This next section of the trip really gets into the meat of it. There are very few people living out there and very little in the way of human "improvements" to the land. And some of the biggest known challenges of the trip happen right off the bat. I have to cross Queen Charlotte (there's another one!) Strait to the mainland, and then I have to work my way 30 miles around the exposed headlands of Cape Caution. And I'll bet I'm not the first one who wished it were named Cape Fairweather, or some such. Weather will determine how long it will take to get from here to the other side of Cape Caution. I'm also hoping to visit Nakwakto Rapids, just off course this side of Cape Caution, but that visit will depend on the timing of the currents when I get there.

And in case you're wondering, I've been thinking about these next few days of paddling for at least a week now. And I think I'm suitably psyched up at this point. Now I just hope I'll be able to sleep tomorrow night before the dawn start on Wednesday.

Wish me luck. And wish Carlie luck as taking care of her mom has become a full-time job. My mom is doing well after her surgery.

Thanks again for your comments--it's great to hear from everyone!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Good luck on getting around Cape Caution. I hope it was named for Lucy Caution, who would not go out with a boatman after a Middle Fork trip. But alas, I guess not.

May the wind be at your back and the tide strong and friendly for this passage.

Rick Byars