Monday, June 28, 2010

Kruzof 2010

I camped out on Kruzof last year and this is a link to the blog post from that time. (It's fun to compare.)

On this 2010 trip to Kruzof, I pushed the limits of my camera and how wet it could get. So some of these pictures are from my cell phone which happens to tolerate a lot more water than my camera. I was hiking from the north beach of Shelikof to the south beach, where the Shelikof cabin is. I knew it was best to go at low tide because there's a river you have to cross and it's not a big deal at low tide. However, the times of low tide were really early in the morning and really late into the evening. I wanted to say hi to my friends who were at the cabin and I didn't want to arrive at a time they could be doing their morning routine or even just getting out of bed or something. Also, I didn't want to visit my friends late at night and then be returning in the dark. So, I discussed making the hike at a non-low tide time with some people and they didn't think it would be too bad, perhaps just up to my waist or something.

Well, crossing the river wasn't even the hardest part. There was one part that I had to stay way up on these rocks because there was no beach below to walk on. Then I got to a spot where there was a beach not quite below me but almost, however, I couldn't get down to it. I walked on the rocks as far towards the beach as I could get. My plan was to toss my belongings onto the beach and then jump from the rocks into the ocean and swim to the beach and pick up my belongings. I tossed my Xtratufs first so I could see how far I could toss my stuff and see if I wanted to go through with this plan I hatched. The Xtratufs barely made it to the beach and they landed right where the water was reaching. So I thought I had better toss the backpack with my stuff in it as hard as I could. I gave it a good chuck and it landed with a thud on the beach. I thought I better get down to it as quickly as possible and recover my things so they wouldn't get wet and to also save them from washing out into the water. I turned back to go out on the rocks where jumping in would be safe because it was too shallow where I was at the moment. I had put my clothes in the backpack too because I didn't want to have wet clothes, but I was still wearing boxer shorts. So I was in a hurry and I was also praying and I jumped in.

I have taken a couple courses on safety in the water where it is discussed the unexpected behavior of the body when it is submerged in cold water. In both classes we watched a video of an Olympic swimmer being submerged in cold water and not being able to hold his breath for near as long as normal. The initial response of the body is to gasp for air. I think the Olympic swimmer could only hold his breath for about ten seconds due to the body's reaction to the cold water. I thought about this, but there was no time to dwell on it so I jumped in and swam. Thankfully, I had no trouble keeping my head above water so I didn't have to hold my breath. Also, thankfully my limbs were working well because I worried about my muscles shutting down or something from being cold but I got to the shore pretty quickly. I had a smile on my face the whole time because it was so much fun. It wouldn't have been such an eventful plunge if I had been with people, but since I was by myself, it made me that much more nervous and made it that much more exciting.

I recovered the backpack and camera and immediately wanted to take a picture of the rocks I had just leapt from. The water had reached the backpack and it was barely wet. My camera was a little tiny bit wet and I turned it on and it looked like it was fine but then it died!

The hike excitement was not over. I reached the last little part that is the river. By this time I had been in water up to my waist so I wasn't phased at all by walking through the water, I just wanted to find the best spot to cross. I kept choosing a route to take and it would get too deep and I would turn around and try another spot. Well you know when you stand on the beach where the water reaches and every time the waves come in they wash the sand out from beneath your feet? I made an attempt to go forth across the river and it was too deep and when I turned around it was deeper than before. So there was no benefit of turning back. 

At this time I was holding the backpack with my belongings above my head. This would not be good if I needed use of my arms. So I took my two electronic devices (my cell phone which still worked and my camera which I was hoping just needed to dry out) and I put them in my hat. Then I put the backpack on my back. My original plan was to wade across this river so there was no reason in taking off my boots because I didn't think I'd be swimming! And at this point the water was so high up I couldn't do any maneuvering to take them off. So, hat on, backpack on, Xtratufs on, I made the awkward leap forward to start swimming and oh my was it a poor attempt at swimming! Xtratufs are certainly not flippers! It had to have been the longest, shortest swim ever. I mean... I didn't swim very far at all but it seemed to take forever. It actually did take a very long time. There was a bit of current to the river and it was not helping. When I finally made it to the shore, I was so happy I started running to the cabin. At the cabin I had a lovely visit with my lovely friends and they helped me dry out and warm up while we had some special chai tea and played Bananagrams. On the way back, I took the trail that goes through the meadows and along the road that the four wheelers run on and thankfully I didn't see any bears!

My tent is the yellow one on the right in the picture below.
The next 2 photos were taken with my now deceased camera; I was able to get them off the memory card later.
The view from my tent.

Some part of the hike that I liked and actually photographed.

Some pictures from the meadows on the return journey.

Stupid finger got in the picture.