Sunday, July 4, 2010

Seward, Alaska: June 28

We awoke to bright sun shining through our tent. As many of you may know, we aren't experienced kayakers, but we decided to include one paddling adventure because we heard it was a good way to see the coastline and wildlife. We were in a double kayak, Jenny in front as head-paddler and Gabe in back as lead-steerer. The trip was an all-day affair through Resurrection Bay, 6 miles up and back. In preparation for the trip, we had to don "splash skirts," huge rubber overall/skirt combo - they really came in handy when the wind and waves picked up, preventing water from drenching us. Our route hugged the coastline up the bay where we spotted several bald eagles. At our turnaround point we beached the kayaks in a small pebbly cove. We got re-energized with a picnic on the beach IN THE SUN - a rarity in these parts! Our guide led us on a hike through rainforest out to another cove that was used as a gun station during WWII. On the way back our arms were definitely feeling sore - we discovered new muscles in our upper bodies! A few sea otters came very close to the kayaks and peeked their heads up to say hello. Although we were exhausted at the end of the day, there was still more to see and do! We headed over to a dog sled camp run by a former Ididarod champion. This is an 1,150 mile, 10-17 day race between Anchorage and Nome. In fourth grade students read several stories that take place in Alaska, and one in particular about the Ididarod, so it was especially cool for Jenny to see this dog sled camp in person. We toured the kennel and met the dogs, who are all competitive sled dogs (prepping for the winter races) and who couldn't wit to get hooked up to the sled. We sat on a wheeled sled and were pulled along a forest trail. Then a musher, someone who drives the sled, showed us a real sled and all of the gear that she takes along on a race. Lastly we met the newborn puppies that would soon begin their training. We came away with mixed feelings about the sport - the dogs were obviously well cared for and loved, but they were kept in cramped quarters and the idea of them spending their lives hooked to a sled was disturbing.