After 4.5 months and 2306 miles, I am done!! The daily interactions with wildlife, grand views of coastline and mountains, and my unexpected finding – the beauty of the ocean in so many shades have imprinted themselves on my memory and I look forward to sharing stories with you all over the coming months. I’ve posted Leg 5 pictures of Kenai Fjords on Picasa here:
|Leg 5: Seward to Homer|
and plenty of video content on Youtube here, including my last few weeks on the Kenai Peninsula, a passing with Orca, some zany otter, black bear, and paddling amongst humpbacks, big swells, icebergs, spires and glaciers. The Homer News wrote this article about my kayak, Her Majesty Turtle, finishing the trip in Homer. She is famous now!
When I first envisioned this expedition, weighed the sacrifices needed and considered the fundraising and kayaking challenges, I was charged with excitement for a goal that combined so many of my themes. I had various anxieties and fears for the unknowns and consequences. And now I can say that my fears were overcome one by one, that it didn’t kill me but indeed made me stronger, and that the remote places I visited and experiences had were worthy rewards. As you look through the photos, I think you’ll be able to imagine for yourselves how few people ever walk on these beaches, and yet, how rich they are with human history. I look forward to the next time that I can even paddle for just an afternoon. Or better yet, twilight, which is my favorite time to be on the water with frequent wildlife sightings and the calm hues of changing light on the water. Some things in life need time, lots and lots of unproductively slow time. Kind of like enjoying time with my 2 yr old niece, Emma, who I’ve spent some wonderful time with recently. To paddle an average of 21 miles per day over 4.5 months, roughly six days per week (111 paddling days out of 133), and maintain a comfortable and safe camp within a rainforest and harsh sea environment, time is the best resource to bring. And certainly, it has been wonderful to have seen wildlife in many serendipitous circumstances, like five porcupine sightings at dinner, three wolf sightings that I still dream about, two pods of orca, seven black bear sightings, zero brown bear sightings (odd, yes, but not disappointed), and of course, frequent humpback, otter, seal, jumping salmon sightings, and a myriad of bird species.
I’ll be sharing stories of the trip at REI stores in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and eventually The Gear Revival in Atlanta and hopefully you will be able to come or to spread the word amongst your friends. Please see the schedule below or on each REI store events page.
- Thursday August 26, 2010 – REI Seattle, WA. 7-8.30pm
- Monday, August 30 – REI Saratoga, CA. 7-8.30pm
- Tuesday, August 31 – MedShare in San Leandro at Noon, and REI Berkeley 7-8.30pm
- Wednesday, September 1 – REI Corte Madera, CA. 7-8.30pm
- Tuesday, September 7 – REI Manhattan Beach, CA. 7-8.30pm
- Wednesday, September 8 – REI Northridge, CA. 7-8.30pm
- Thursday, September 9 – REI Santa Monica, CA. 7-8.30pm
We have almost met the $20,000+ goal, so my hope is that these talks will help go beyond that goal and raise awareness about MedShare’s wonderful program. My appreciation of natural resources and their value matter much more to me now and MedShare’s reduction of 1 million cubic feet of waste to landfills certainly aid our environment. For those of you who would like to donate or know someone who may, please use this link to donate to MedShare.
Yogihead albums are still available for download, so please email me if you made a donation and would like a copy. A great thank you to Jeff Shiffman for his music, encouragement, and talents to help fundraise for MedShare.
The Winner of the Fat Roll Challenge and the $100 gift certificate to Staples is Ian Aitken! After months of paddling and a rationed high-fiber diet, I weighed 203 lbs. Here is a video of the final weight measurement on July 26th. Oddly enough, we raised $493 with the Fat Roll Challenge, but nobody made a guess but Ian who estimated 193 lbs, so he will now have some good bucks for graduate school. Some donors said they were inspired to donate because of the challenge which is great so I’ll call it a success. Thank you all for your donations.
In the coming weeks, I’ll continue posting videos and some blogs that I’ve neglected to write till now. So please stay tuned to the facebook page, blog, twitter, or YouTube. Since finishing the trip, I’ve been in Atlanta with family. And once I finish the speaking series on the west coast, I’ll be driving back to Atlanta for the foreseeable future. So I hope to be able to catch up with friends on the west coast around the dates of the talks and then anyone in the Atlanta area following that.
Thank you all for following and I hope that you are having a good summer, too!