Thursday, September 8, 2016

Footsteps of Giants: Lost coast north day seven.

3 layers of white noise facilitated good sleep in this spot: a cascading waterfall, small waves shushing into the sand, and the ever-present pattering of precip on the walls of our tents.

No surprise then that Roman and I were oblivious to the curious bear that approached as we sawed logs.

Up and moving, we were giddy at the thought of finally crossing the vastness of Icy Bay to reach the Malaspina glacier on the other side.  Massive bonus that not only was the rain temporarily holding off, but the temps actually felt warm for the first time in days.

Brett, Doom, and Jaybs sussing out a calm spot to surf launch.

Jaybs, relieved to be past the breakers, ecstatic to be *in* Icy Bay.

The first hour of the crossing had a certain novelty to it.  How often do we get to paddle inflatable pool toys miles from land, or with bikes on board?  Not often enough!

The middle hour brought big swells to bump our anxiety back to appropriate levels.  At one point Doom dropped back to snap some pics and in so doing we often lost sight of him when the big rollers passed between us.

The last hour we focused on the thin white line of breakers smashing into the shore ahead, always searching for an anomaly within that line -- some spot where we might land safely.

Several such spots presented themselves -- our landing couldn't have been easier.

3+ hours in the boats had us stiff and chilled at landfall, then as we deflated boats and repacked our kits the rain returned in earnest.   That briefest weather window was critical to the crossing -- unlikely we'd have committed had it been raining or blowing or both.

We followed gravel and cobble bars upstream along many braids of the Cetani River, searching out the most rideable surface with feet and tires, always with the goal of getting ourselves up to and onto the Malaspina.

Pinched between thick veg and the roiling river, below we look for a place to inflate and cross.

Safely across, we kept boats inflated as the upcoming cobbles and bluffs appeared to suggest repeated crossings on tap.

We fanned out in search of a rideable route, backtracking when needed, bushwhacking when forced.  Eventually we popped through one last brush line and, with an instant drop in temperature, there was the moraine and just beyond it white ice.

We'd arrived.  Well, almost.  Coincident with our arrival at the toe of the glacier came an uptick in the cold rain falling on us.  Late in the evening as it was, no one was willing to commit to the ice just yet.

We somehow kindled fire but the heavy rain kept us from enjoying it: Our shins nearly melted so close did we stand, but the longer we huddled the colder and wetter we got.  Nothing to it but to retire to tents and bags, catch some rest, hope against hope for a change in the weather pattern that seemed less likely by the minute.

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