The first day of activities! We woke up to rain and the two activities on offer were either fishing in the afternoon or heading out early on the water to take a water taxi across the bay to Kachemak Bay State Park and go for a hike to a glacier. Fishing was really expensive and didn’t really appeal to me much anyway, so I went with the other half of our group on the hike. The water taxi didn’t end up being much cheaper at $80 RT (compared to $175 for fishing, I know that looks like a lot, but when it comes down to it, I essentially paid $80 for a 4 hour hike, meh).
Okay, okay, I’ll stop being bitter now. But when we set off, it was raining and we were wet and sort of miserable, not the best way to start off a vacation, but there was little we could do except make the best of it. So we did! We were let off on the shore in what looked like the start of the Hunger Games or some other murder mystery movie setting. The water taxi captain pointed us to the start of the trail and we were off. After a decent hike down the rock covered beach, we finally found the trail head and I stopped to sign the guest book and take a quick look through who had been here lately. There were bear sightings just the day before which already scared the shit out of me. I was probably one of the only ones in our group that had no urge to see a bear, especially when we were out in the wilderness with no safety net. Color me shitless!
Anyway, I chatted with some of the group as we walked along in what looked like rain forest, in an effort to keep the bears away. We saw our first bear scat (poo) and thankfully it looked somewhat petrified, which made me feel better. We stopped once to take a break and have a snack under the canopy of trees which helped keep the rain out. We hiked on somewhat flat terrain until we finally got to Grewingk Glacier. I love glaciers and it was beautiful! The wind coming off the glacier and lake was freezing though and it didn’t help that we were wet. We found a sheltered place to eat lunch and leave our packs to have a wonder around the lake. We didn’t see a soul all day on the trail or at the lake, so we felt safe leaving our stuff unattended. Unfortunately, due to the rain, I was freezing and went back to the shelter and chatted until we decided to leave as we didn’t know how long it would take us to continue on and make it to the end of the trail in time for the taxi to pick us up.
The Saddle trail was a bit harder, but thankfully the rain pretty much stopped at this point but the downside is the bear scat started looking more and more fresh, until part of the group up ahead started shrieking that they saw a bear cub. I freaked the fuck out and ran as fast as I could past the group, not caring at all if they got eaten (my motto for the trip when people were acting stupid around bears, “I don’t care if you get eaten, that means more room in the van”) because if they saw a cub, that means the mother isn’t far behind. The next thing I knew, we were at the trail head, way ahead of schedule. I had one bar of service and a nearly dead phone but I called the water taxi to let them know we were at the end and to pick us up when they had a chance.
We then crawled over a bunch of rocks to get to the beach where they told us they would pick us up in the morning. It was a good thing I called from the trail head because by the time we got to the beach, I checked my phone and I didn’t have any service. We waited for about 45 minutes and in that time, the tide started coming up really fast. I never really understood that saying before until then, but ohmigod, did the tide come up fast. Thankfully the taxi came before we were swallowed up and even though they were only allowed to take 5 people (there were 6 of us, so we took two going out), since the tide was coming up fast and it’s not like we were going to tell, the driver took us all back in one trip. My first experience with Alaska not caring about safety, another theme of this trip that I had never experienced in the US before.
Of course, on our trip back, the sun came out, which was nice for sitting on the deck and we saw otters! I love otters! The taxi slowed down when we got near and it was so awesome. We got back to town and the fishing group wasn’t back yet, so the 6 of us just relaxed. I invested in a $1 shower (and stupidly didn’t wash my hair, will I ever learn my lesson when it comes to not knowing what is ahead?) and charged my phone in the shop and just sat at a table and enjoyed the view and wrote in my journal.
For dinner that night we had fish. Not my idea of the best time, but I talked the guide into making rice and dumped a whole ton of soy sauce on everything, mixed it together and scarfed it down. Not my most favorite meal. I didn’t realize until later that the fish didn’t sit well with me (didn’t go #2 for a few days and it really fucking hurt, sorry for the image) and in chatting with another tour mate and not going into details, we realized that the fish didn’t sit well with her either so a few days later when we were going to eat the rest, the two of us invested in one of those fully cooked chickens and that was delicious! But that was later. After dinner, some of the group went to the Salty Dog, the local bar. I went too, but when I was never served and was really tired anyway, I just went back to camp and sat around the fire for a bit before heading to bed. The hike wasn’t hard, but doing most of it in the rain, wore me out!