The Dream

If there is one thing we can all relate to, it is the notion of a dream. An aspiration that consumes us and leaves us with no choice but to follow through, making that dream a reality. Those of us that share a great love for the outdoors and the wild spaces still left on this planet understand the need to be out there. We understand that sometimes a dream is more than just a desire; sometimes it is a necessity of life.

On a quest to fulfill our need to be out there we have pursued successful careers in the outdoor industry, pouring in the same passion we have for those wild spaces in search of a purpose that will connect us. But we know that lifestyle isn’t enough, something still calls to us and when we can, we answer. This is an answer that has been 15 years in the waiting. This is an expedition that reminds us of how we got here, keeps us going through the dry times and fulfills that empty space within us all labeled ‘purpose’. This is what we live for.

On May 4th 2009 we will depart from Galiano Is (BC, Canada) in two single sea kayaks headed north for Glacier Bay (Alaska, US). We are two able, confident and experienced women, seeking to challenge our experience as guides through our own expedition of the entire coast we love and work on.

We aren’t heroes and we aren’t breaking new ground. We are simply two women following our dreams and in turn hoping to inspire a few other people to do the same.

This is how we live our lives the way we have always dreamed...

It's about more than an expedition, it's about more than a sport, it's even about more than a lifestyle. This is about dreams, this is about passion, this is about listening to that need to be out there. It's about learning how to 'fly'. 

We're calling it 'Crossing Borders' 


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pictures (Ketchikan to Juneau) - Christine

Misty weather
Hard work!
The trolley car portage!
Paddling up creek
Bill and Angela
Glorious Alaska
Boys and their toys - Bill, a fellow kayaker, Chris, kindly took us in and let us stay at his amazing place outside of Petersburg!

Petersburg

Le Conte Glacier - the southern most tide water glacier

Angela's first real ice berg
Steve
Joe
Joe and Steve...

4th of July
Ketchikan History

Creek Street in Ketchikan

Monday, August 17, 2009

Coming To An End - Christine

My paddles are packed away, my boat sits at the top of my friends driveway and I have neat 'little' piles of gear waiting to be transported by car... I paddled one thousand, two hundred and seventy nine Nautical miles from Galiano Island to my final resting point in Glacier Bay (2417 kilometers). I suppose things are now coming to an end.

I have three days of travel, three days on a ferry to journey back down the same coast I just spent three months paddling up. Three days to sleep, reflect and take it all in.

My stories, my thoughts, my emotions and of course my pictures are coming... I just need a little time... three days perhaps...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Journey On

I leave today for the last leg of my journey.... it seems strange, surreal, like a life that is not my own. My father is here... our things are strewn across the beach and we are making the final preparations. Juneau has been amazing, friends, community and love... kayaking, hiking and good food. I feel full, recharged and ready to take on what lies ahead...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A New Adventure - Angela

I am running. I am running as light and surefooted as a deer, like a child full of energy and vigor. I hear a whale blow in the distance, but something tells me the sound is not what I think it is. I hear the buzz of a float plane above my head, but something brings me back to reality.

I am running through an urban street. Far away from the whales, the waves and the shore birds. My soul has not caught up with the speed of our modern day transportation. While my mind hears a whale, a construction site is using an air compressor. When I hear a float plane in the skies above, its a semi down gearing on an overpass.

An unexpected turn of events has led me to accept a job offer that whisked me off the ocean sooner than expected. Up to the last moment of my journey, the people and places of the west coast opened their hearts to me. The last two days in Alaska were some of the most magnificent on the trip. Calm waters, exceptionally beautiful fog, clear skies and orcas. Solan, Aleria and Kevin made my last minute preparations and my stay in Juneau incredible. A huge thanks so them, I hope to see you again soon.

Christine. She has been the most amazing travel partner I could have hoped and wished for. Her stamina and optimism is what made days of rain bearable and my own tiredness vanish. Her humor made me laugh through my tears. Her open heart attracted so many amazing people to our journey along the way. Her pink kayak was the talk of the coast and had people expecting us along the way. I will miss the ties that bound us and will have memories that will keep me laughing, crying and reminiscing for years to come.

My role now changes. From posting blogs to reading them. I will follow Christine's journey like so many of you have followed ours. Thank you for all your support, prayers, and thoughts along the way. I am sure we needed every one of them as we paddled and journeyed up the coast.

I say farewell to the coast, to Christine, and venture off on a new adventure full of challenges and rewards!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A New Chapter-Christine

Sadly my beloved Angela leaves me here in Juneau... ever moving forward, growing and accomplishing new things, she must move on and begin a new chapter in her life... a story she can tell. As for me a new chapter also begins and as always... life works in mysterious ways! My Father, working magic to rearrange his life and schedule is coming to join me for the final leg of my journey into Glacier Bay... I am excited and so looking forward to the opportunity to a), paddle the final leg of my trip, and dream, and b), paddle with my Dad for 3 weeks!

But... life has yet another twist in store for me... while my father works magic to get up here, I have 5 days of wait time... During which I will be paddling with two of the worlds BEST sea kayak guides, dear friends of mine, in their stomping grounds, Glacier Bay National Park! Seems a little backwards I know to be heading into Glacier Bay before I actually paddle there, but one must jump at opportunities when they present themselves! Glacier Bay is a BIG place and we will be getting transported into the far reaches of one of the many arms. I am thrilled to be going along on their trip... it is always a treat to be shown an area by people who know and love it intimately.

Things move fast in the 'City' I barley have time to get this update in... so expect more in the future and don't be confused when SPOT shows up a little farther north a little too early!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Joe and Steve - Christine

I think I might move to Alaska...

The sun is always shining, the ocean is warm, the scenery is spectacular and the people are kind... So perhaps the first two may be unusual and not long lasting, but the later two are enough to make you want to stay...

Joe and Steve,

We were hanging over the dock, awkwardly balancing on our stomachs, digging through our hatches looking for lunch. A loud and abrupt 'thudd' makes me look up, an older gentlemen jumps out of a silver skiff, looks up at me, big grin, and says 'Oh! sorry for the racket, I am kinda known for that around here'. Grey haired with worn hands and tanned skin, chew in his mouth and working mans clothes... he has fished these seas. I smile and say 'no worries'. By this time his friend has also climbed out of the skiff and the two of them are staring down at us and our kayaks. 'Did you come here in those?' we smile and nod... by now we know the general routine but it is always a treasured experience. They fire off the questions about from where and how long and express awe and admiration in response to our answers.

'Hey you' he yells out to a boat coming into the small public dock at Meyers Chuck, a tiny community that has tried to make a go of isolated life in South East Alaska several times. The start up and fail of industry and ventures have left only the most persistent and stubborn still there. 'Park your boat on the other side of the dock!' He turns and smiles to me... 'I like to pretend I am the Harbor Master... self appointed of course!' I laugh. 'People don't stay in Meyers Chuck long, I'm too loud, a summer is all most of them can handle and that's because I am gone fishing for most of it!' His friend chuckles, but doesn't disagree. He is a bigger man, a little rounder in the middle, shaved head but also grey haired, worn hands and tanned skin. He is from these parts, has lived in the area 67 of his 68 years.

We learnt that the taller, louder gentleman was Steve and his partner was Joe. They go about their business for a while, transferring gear from the skiff to a larger old wooden fishing boat. They are getting ready to head out fishing again. They didn't have much luck out on the west coast so had come back to Meyers Chuck to pick up new gear and were heading out the next day to a new area that had just been opened up for Dog Salmon.

The pair are long time friends, have worked the seas together for years and watching their interactions gives you the sense that there is a bond and a friendship between them that runs deep. They are thoroughly amused with one another, humor is a constant thread throughout their conversations and actions.

'Hey girls, I don't mean to be forward, but if you want to use a stove or anything you are welcome to the one on my boat' Steve yells, he yells everything. We don't need a stove, lunch is cold... 'How about tea?' he hells. We happily accept the offer of tea.

We climb on board his fishing boat, take a tour of the working boat and then spend the next 5 hours absorbing the company of two true Alaskans. Steve is 71 with enough character for the whole town of Meyers Chuck and he knows it. Joe is 68, was born and raised in Wrangell (a short distance by power boat) and the two of them have been fishermen their whole lives. Joe sold his boat a few years back and joined Steve... Steve has had his boat for almost 40 years. Joe was quiet, but witty... stood a little bit more removed from us, but was keenly listening to the conversation, interjecting at timely moments to make us laugh. Steve was fully on and was living in the lime light of our attention, making jokes about himself, the fishing life and the struggles of Alaska... through the facade of dislike for it all it was clear he loved it and it coursed through his blood.

We learned about fishing and trapping, about life in Alaska, the winters, the summers... And I thought for a moment that maybe I could stay there forever. In the little town of Meyers Chuck, isolated and remote, sitting in the sun, drinking tea with two of the most intriguing, content and happy men I have ever met. The secret of life was instilled deep in their souls and for those 5 hours they let us live in the glow of that knowledge.

Finally, realizing the time, we began the process of departing... Like children, Joe and Steve hovered over us and our kayaks, totally in awe and asking questions about our equipment, how it all worked, what we were carrying and what it was like. 'glad to see you wearing those' Steve said when we put on our PFD's (we laughed to ourselves... he could probably count the number of times he has worn one on one hand). Loaded up we pushed off, waving goodbye and feeling full of life. As we paddled out of the bay we could hear Steve yelling again... more self appointed Harbor Master work.

We will never see them again, nor will we hear of or from them but I will never forget Joe and Steve.

This is Alaska

Community-Angela

I have found a bond that is deeper than blood, runs more true than family, and is more committed than friendship. The Sea. Those on the sea have a bond that is the deepest I have ever experienced. I have been humbled by the gifts that have been given to us, the information shared, and the awe that accompanies those who hear of our journey.

I feel as if I am a celebrity on tour up the coast. When people find out what we are doing, all their guards come down and the giving nature of the human spirit is revealed. We have been given fresh salmon, smoked salmon, canned salmon. We have been envited for tea aboard pleasure crafts, offered storage for our boats in town, given relics of safety for our ocean travels. We have been envited to spend nights in people's houses and shared cups of tea with amazing strangers. These strangers are now people we are deeply connected and indebted to.

The West Coast is beautiful beyond dreams and more stunning than our wildest imaginings. Yet the community of the sea has become the most cherished aspect of our journey. A part of our journey that will last longer than the memory cards in our cameras, impact us more than the breaching whales off our bows, and change us more deeply than the rest of our experiences combined.