The gang arrived at the cabin just as planned, and other than Hipper's luggage that went to Washington, D.C. instead of Ketchikan, all went well. It was great seeing the old gang. Memories of kayaking together in Idaho one summer long ago kept popping up throughout their stay--fine memories, indeed.
We paddled to nearby inlets and even had a 20 mile day to Rudyerd Bay, the highlight of the park. Weather was cooperative--wet at first, but becoming partly cloudy, partly sunny the last couple days. We also got a good hike in up to Winstanley Lake though Barry couldn't make it due to a cranky knee (due for surgery in 2 weeks). What an amazing rainforest up here. Hopefully some of the photos will show the wet density of it all.
I thought it would be a shock to see familiar faces up here so far from anywhere and in the middle of my solo journey, but, strangely, it all seemed so normal. Of course, here are my friends, and I assume they've come from places as diverse as where I've just been. And now we'll enjoy a few days sharing stories of each other's adventures. I guess that's what I was thinking.
Anyway, it was a great time yakking, eating, drinking, paddling and enjoying a wild, beautiful setting. And a few days later, kayaks were loaded on a speedboat, and by nightfall, my friends would be back in their homes, and I would be a little deeper into the park at a camp at the mouth of Walker Cove.
I thought it might be harder to get back into the routine of paddling and camping after being spoiled by cabin life, but good weather for the next couple days helped me ease back into the journey.
Walker Bay was the highlight of my visit to the park. It isn't quite as dramatic as Rudyerd Bay, but it also doesn't have any traffic. Rudyerd Bay had the near constant drone of seaplanes flying low overhead and tour boats coming and going. It's only a 25 minute flight from Ketchikan, and with 900,000 cruise ship visitors every summer, there are plenty of people wanting to take a scenic flight. Someone said that Ketchikan has between 300 and 350 seaplane take-offs and landings every day in the summer time.
I met another kayaker in Walker Bay--Tristan, a young Aussie from the Perth area who is headed south to Olympia. We shared a camp and paddled through Walker Bay together before I continued north and he went south.