Hey everyone!I feel bad that I haven’t updated my Blog since November but the trip is over and I have no interest in turning this into anything other than a Blog about the Adventure. As the one-year anniversary of completion of the trip approaches, I’ve been pondering some things and looking back at events that happened and people I met along the way. I decided I need to acknowledge the “top five” list of people I met along the way that impacted me in a special way. This list does not include friends and family. These are people that were strangers with nothing to gain in helping me but helped me regardless. Their actions speak volumes to their TRUE CHARACTER!
Leon Somme and Shawna Franklin, Orcas Island WashingtonLeon and Shawna are fellow adventurer types whose faces lit up with excitement and understanding when they first heard of my plans. They graciously provided assistance by offering their place in Washington as a home base for me to start my Adventure from, instructed me on the basics of paddling in tidal conditions, and welcomed me into their family for a couple days. They helped give me confidence at this time filled with doubts and uncertainties of what lay ahead.
Amigo Will, Wrangell Southeast AlaskaAmigo Will, an internet friend whom I had never met before and hardly corresponded with, yet somehow he seemed to know me like someone only knows a person from experiencing tough times together. He was an Alaskan who believed I could. Will and his wife Barbara welcomed me to their home town with offers of assistance. Having a friendly face welcome me in a strange place gave me hope that others would be waiting to greet me along the way.
Grafton, Fort Yukon Interior AlaskaGrafton, a native resident of Fort Yukon, after a brief meeting on the riverbank, brought a hot supper to my camp, later offered fish from his net, and watched after me in a somewhat dangerous place for a lone stranger. While all in the village were telling me what I was about to attempt on the Chandalar was sure death, Grafton quietly said to me “those others only know of travel with 100 hp motors, you might be able to do it”. That was his way of saying that he believed that I could do it. Yet, at the same time, he was genuinely worried for my safety. He seen me off as I left the village, even offering to give his shotgun to me if I didn’t have one because I was going into bad bear country. The kindness shown to me for reasons unknown would not be forgotten.
John Rivers, Sr., Quinhagak Bering Sea Coast AlaskaThe Village of Quinhagak lays near the end of the dreaded tidal mud flats that beat me down day after day combined with cold rains, wind-swept exposed coastline, and the treacherous crossing of the Kuskokwim River delta all left me feeling like life was me against all. That all changed when I knocked on John’s door to ask if I could leave my boat on the river bank near his house while I went into town to call home. John took charge and said it was not safe to leave my stuff there and had his son help me stash my gear in his shed. Then he saw the awful rusty condition my shotgun was in and said he would clean it and get it working again. Later that day when I returned to get my stuff and go back out into the nasty rainy weather, John invited me to stay the night in his house with his family. I almost declined the offer, but faced with the option of going back out to sea in the brutal weather, accepted. Glad I did as it was awesome to finally be warm, dry, and sheltered again. John offered much advice from religion to surviving bear attacks to getting off the Bering Sea- and I listened. For a short time, I had somebody on my side!
Stay tuned as I will have a couple more Blog entries in the near future.BeaV