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Old 10-17-2011, 10:59 PM   #98
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Z_HARSH's Avatar
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 492
Caines Head (part 1)

From there, I headed into Anchorage to stock up on necessities, propane, water, food and the like, and then met up with the little sister, Valerie. She was on her last year of pharmacy school and was able to pick where she wanted to do her 6-week rotations. For some reason she chose Anchorage, Alaska, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Salt Lake City, Utah (for the ski season) to work in. One of momís friends at church used to live in Anchorage and asked around, and just so happened to have a friend with a finished downstairs apartment in their house who offered to let Val stay there for free. His name was Chuck, and at the ripe, young age of 82, this guy was a true Alaskan. He and his wife moved up there in their 20s and he made his living by running a sign shop. Apparently, he did most of the neon signs in the city. He now tends to his wife who is suffering from dementia, but still takes the motorhome out once and a while, and always has a project in the garage. Hearing his stories about legendary fish, bear hunts, and 500-mile boating trips down the Yukon was truly wonderful though. His love for life was amazing.

Anyways, Val had a week before she started her job at the pharmacy in Alaska Regional Hospital, so we discussed our options. We basically had 2 options, north to Denali or south to the Kenai. Being from Colorado and 18 hours from the closest beach, we decided to head south. She is into hiking, and so I had a few things in mind. We decided to start by heading to Seward and go check out Caines Head:

On Caines Head there is an old abandoned fort from World War II way out on the point, set there to protect the valuable deep-sea port in Seward. To get to it, there is an 6.5 mile (10.5 km) hike up the tidal flats that can only be done during low tides. There are a few cabins that can be rented and most people usually do an overnight excursion, if they hike in and out. Otherwise, you can rent a boat or a boat taxi to take you one direction. I already had a handy little tide booklet that showed us the fluctuations, and low tide would be at 8:24 the next morning. That meant we had to head out around 6:30 we figured.

We loaded up the truck after a run to the store, and headed south along the beautiful Turnagain Arm, then turned off to Seward. Since we had to hit the trail early, we didnít want to be out on the pull-outs off the Exit Glacier because it was too far. There was a little dirt road off to the right, at the beginning of town, but it went out to some old bunkers, had an odd feeling to it, and for some reason didnít look like a good place to camp for the night. So, we bit the bullet and paid for a campsite. The next morning we woke early, ate some breakfast, drove to the patrolled no camping parking lot, grabbed our already packed backpacks, and hit the trail.

The path was easy at first, climbed a little bit of an incline, then back down, sometimes close to bay, sometimes in the thick forest. Then it came down and crossed a river outlet into the sea. There used to be a bridge, but the violent melt off took it out so you had to wade the river. We looked around; there was a pool of dying salmon just flopping around in their black and white scales, but nowhere inland to cross so the decision was easy. We headed out in the tidal flats to find a better place. Neither of us felt like a waste to chest deep water crossing to start the day, and the rivers spread out and shallow up as they meet the tidal flats. We walked and walked, out to the sea, and finally found a place to cross, wading barefoot across the calf-deep water, no biggie at all.

From there it was a long ways up the shore. If you miss-timed it, things would not be pretty. Most of the shoreline is too steep to climb out if the water came in, and swimming is not an ideal option either. Walking over the shoreline was a difficult task too. It is all off chamber, sloped one direction, and slick as snot. The jagged rocks were green with the slimy moss and hard to keep from slipping on. The Rat Dog didnít enjoy those sections, but some were simply spectacular in the early light.

Occasionally the trail would jet into the thick canopy for a moment and cross a little creek.

Then go back out to the shore, next to a little waterfall.

But, it was beautiful none the less, no matter where it decided to go.

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