For many years my families tradition was to get a moose (or perhaps two) every fall. It wasn’t so much a matter of sport as it was filling the freezer. When they went out to eat they got chicken…because it was exotic. About the time I started walking upright and remembering things they inexplicably stopped doing this. This was sad. Fortunately, things have again changed and we have begun again.
I am a dedicated carnivore. I enjoy shooting guns. I love adventuring in the woods. I am fascinated by butchering and firmly believe that it is of the utmost importance to understand where food comes from. I like to get my hands bloody. I don’t have the desire to pull the trigger. If I was the only one left I’d do it to fill the freezer but I would take no pleasure in it. For the moment I am content to leave the trigger to the elder generation and help with everything else.
The family is fortunate to have numerous talents and resources to make fun hunting possible. For example:
Hunting season usually goes something like this…
There is a lot of carrying involved so my generation is always welcome. Hunting for me is basically like camping except that I carry more stuff. We didn’t catch anything this year but it sure was fun.
A quintessential part of youth is the harebrained scheme. I can make a sushi roller out of bunch of chopsticks right? One gradually grows out of such things but I have come to realize that at some point one may also grow back into them!?!
The picture seems innocent enough right? I was dropping the APs (Aged Parents) off at the cabin and lent them my packraft to get to shore. But there’s two of them and only one raft so…
When they asked about using the raft I jokingly suggested that they should just use a fishing rod to retrieve the raft after the first one paddled to shore. I thought that this sounded like a six year old’s idea. See the fishing rod now?
Not so harebrained after all, eh? Apparently not though next time a little more line wouldn’t be…uh…out of line.
After such an unorthodox experiment they decided to use a manufacturer recommended technique when I came to pick them up.
The following is the state of the Grace Ridge Trail:
Grace Ridge is the best trail in the bay (*editor* I’d better nit pick and say that the trail isn’t actually IN the bay, it’s in the bay area…wouldn’t want to confuse anyone). Naturally I’d only done it once before because who wants too much of a good thing right?
In preparation for the trip I did an aerial survey for greater perspective. The aerial shots are interspersed throughout the post to give the reader the same perspective.
I live in Alaska so the day of the trip turned out to be rainy. In fact, I couldn’t even see the damn mountain from the end of the Spit. I am an Alaskan and didn’t want to lose my Alaska cred so I hopped on the boat and went anyway.
The “front” Grace Ridge trail head is Kayak Beach. My hiking companion and I were dropped of after a fun filled IFR (that’s Instrument Flight Rules for the non-flying crowd) trip with Bay Excursions.
We didn’t have to reach the peak to hike into the clouds, we pretty much hit ’em as soon as we got into the trees.
Grace Ridge offers exceptional 360 views to the determined hiker who makes it above the tree line.
After a quick snack, and thorough viewing of the fog, at the first scenic viewpoint above the tree line we continued on…somewhere. For some reason it reminded me of the Scottish Highlands even though I have never been there.
Every so often the clouds around us, which were moving pretty fast, would clear so that we could have some idea of where we were going.
Progress was gradually made and the near view was quite edifying even sans everything more than a mile away (you know, the amazing bay, volcanoes, islands, etc).
I hereby christen thee Leap Creek.
I mentioned flying and greater perspective. Here is some.
The beginning of the final ascent.
Much more interesting through a quick hole in the clouds.
Speaking of holes, whatever dug this one (a Marmot?) must have been pretty bad ass. Those are not small rocks.
We finally reached the point where it felt like we had gone somewhere. Good times.
Did I say final ascent before? Here’s another final ascent. I guess that they all are in their own way…
The “view” from the top. This is where the trail starts to run along the ridge and the highest point of the day. You can sort of see the Herring Islands from here.
Here’s a bit more perspective and an eagle eye view of the “ridgy” bit of Grace Ridge.
Here it is from the ground. How about them panoramic views eh? I’m talking to you Alife.
If you can’t see far look near. The veracity and variety of the vegetation on top of the mountain is exceptional. It is just in miniature.
Lots of lovely little plants.
Yup, thems plants alright (*Editor* this is awesome because I came up with this sentence and the picture caption totally independently so it must be true and I’m gonna say it twice).
Side view from on high.
A moment of clarity let us look down the left side of the knife edge ridge into Sadie Cove. Don’t trip.
The astute woodsman could look at the picture here and deduce that precipitation had recently occurred. Other clues? It was raining and I was wet (but I was still trying to be an astute woods man because, you know, that sounds good). It later occurred to me that I was not in the woods at the time but in not recognizing that I proved myself to be total crap as a woodsman, ah well.
At this point we had an enjoyable discussion about cheap beer and the theory of the inverse parabolic curve of awesomeness there of. Conclusion, the bottom of the curve is a can of sadness, but I digress…
More fauna? It sure doesn’t look like flora so I guess it must be. About this point there was also an amusing miss communication (*editor* and misspelling apparently) about half and half mixed with beer. Once clarified a unanimous conclusion was reached that it was in fact a bad idea.
We interrupt this discussion to traverse some of the craggier rock faces. You can’t see it but it is a LONG way down if you slip.
The last bit of ridge coincided with a nice clear patch which made is picture possible. At last we could see where we were going.
One benefit of lowering elevation was lovely Salmon Berries and even a few Blueberries. These are the only berries I photographed but did not eat them. It can be traumatic to do both simultaneously.
Nature is really a marvel. Life is everywhere.
More manly flower pictures. I’m not sure what these are though. Bonus points for proper identification.
Despite being pretty wet and not being able to see 100 yards ahead on myself at some points one has to admit that rain makes stuff beautiful. Take that you preppy little Sun.
However fascinating the flowers may be over the course of a long day on the trail the mind wonders to prevent boredom (see Beer discussion). Apparently the trail crews felt the same way.
South Grace trail head, the “destination” despite that getting there is more than half the fun.
We got to the trailed head 15 minutes early to find a waiting boat. A dry pair of socks later we were headed back to the Spit. A good time was had by all.
The moral of the story is, Go Rain or Shine. Rain is beautiful and rewarding.
*Note*: This post is long and tiresome much like the hike. The pictures are not all perfect but they make up a long journey. Think about it.
I have a lot to post from the summer and fall but time is tight and work is joyless. What is one to do?
Of course the tide is never quite as one would want it so special equipment is required.
So I packrafted over to the cabin from the Saddle Trail head. Take that tides. Truly, the packraft is the gentlemen’s method of transportation. No coincidence that Awesome and Amphibious both begin with A.
Relaxation ensued and apparently nothing photo worthy happened. Actually, I watched black bears and got hit by a bat but Ye Olde iPhone just doesn’t cut it. Luckily, on the way home I got to see some bigger wildlife.
For example, while I was floating around waiting to be picked up I got checked out by a loon (it is a big bird so I naturally I did take a picture). Without a doubt the best wildlife encounter of the summer. It is a singular experience to watch a big, sharp bird make multiple passes under (the water that is) and around one when one is in a somewhat frail inflatable craft. It is kind of like watching bears on the beach.
I was so excited that I documented the moment by taking a picture of my pants (in my defense it is a unique picture right?).
Not to be outdone the whales made an appearance on the way back home to remind one what really big wildlife looks like (i’m not gonna lie, the girls in the skiff were almost as interesting as the whale).
I have a large backlog of stuff to post because I have been busy doing things that are post worthy. The following was a quick overnight trip to the lake at the base of the Woz Glacier. Twas the night after Solstice (I was going to say “It was” but the spell checker thought that “Twas” twas a better idea and I thought that was funny) but it felt like a Solstice celebration to me. The trip was 19 hours chocks to chocks so here’s 19 pictures of it…