Saturday, July 12, 2014

Traveling the Alaska Marine Highway

Alaska Marine Highway on the MV Columbia
I wouldn't go so far to say that getting there is half the fun, but the prep and travel is an adventure of its own, especially if you're talking about a relatively remote location.  That's one of the reasons I'm so thankful for the NP-AIR (National Parks, artist in residence - see my GAAR sketchbook in the link) and the Forest Service's  VOTW (voices of the wilderness) programs.  Without their assist it wouldn't happen for me, so it's my responsibility to come prepared.

Traveling to SE Alaska is not nearly so arduous as it was in the not-so-distant past, but it does require several modes of transport.  Packing the XtraTufs can be a challenge, not to mention tent for the ferry, sleeping bag & pad and plenty of rain gear.  Let's just say, it pays to be a "have tent, will travel" sort of person.  Travel Tip #1;  the Kitsap Airporter is a wonderful service, it takes you to SeaTac where you can pick up the BelAir Shuttle which takes you directly to the AK ferry terminal in Belligham... auto transport, check!  Waiting for the ferry we were entertained by search dogs (please do not pee on my stuff) examining our bags for bomb makings or drugs (one fellow was busted, good dog).  A sunny day to apply your tent to the ferry's back deck is a good thing.  Travel Tip #2;  I recommend Gorilla Tape.  We developed the perfect secure staking method, no tent flying overboard thank you, believe me it was tested!  (Ask me if you'd like details)  There is really only one weather report for SE with minor modifications and that is rain: possible, likely or downpouring now.  That is after all why god made goretex and we are greatful.

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