Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day 17: Port Alice to Julian Cove

The weather forecast still looks good for Friday. After a bit of grocery shopping and a shower at the nearby campground, I headed out mid-morning for Julian Cove. Attentive readers will remember that I visited Julian Cove a few days ago and thought it was beautiful. I didn’t spend the night then, but I will now.

I cruised slowly to Julian Cove. Even at 5.5 knots, it didn’t take much more than an hour. This time I pulled in and found no other boats.

Soon after dropping the hook, the rain began. The wind was already blustery, and with the rain falling, I didn’t feel like doing much. Luckily, I had started an excellent book a few days ago, and I spent the afternoon and evening reading.
Beautiful Julian Cove
Now, bear with this brief digression…

The book is titled The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Grand Canyon. The boat that holds the record, the Emerald Mile, happens to be a dory. Not a C-Dory, of course, but a river dory.

The waterways of the Pacific Northwest are probably my favorite place in the world, but red rock country is a close second. I first visited Moab, Utah on a family trip one spring break in middle school. I remember enjoying the trip, but I really fell in love with the area in college. Colorado College, the school I attended, operates on a bizarre schedule. Students take one class at a time for three and a half weeks. After a final exam on the last Wednesday morning, students set off on various adventures until the next class begins the following Monday.

Each Spring, I piled into my car with a bunch of friends and drove to red rock country. The scenery is stunning, almost alien. Deep canyons, mind-boggling arches, and rocks perched in impossible places. We’d hike, scramble, and climb our way through the landscape.

Until last April, though, I’d never been to the Grand Canyon. When I visited, I was floored. A couple friends and I showed up with no reservations for staying at the bottom, but we were lucky enough score two nights at Phantom Ranch. The splendor of the Canyon is mind-boggling, the scale monumental. It’s impossible to fully appreciate from the top, but hiking to the bottom reveals breathtaking scenery, step after step. I, of course, didn’t get to raft the river, but it’s on my bucket list.

The Emerald Mile ratchets the rafting trip up a few notches on that list. The book does a superb job of telling the history of the Grand Canyon, the saga of the damming of the Colorado, and the frightening 1983 near flooding of Lake Powell. A real page turner…

Back to this trip…the weather looks great to head around Brooks Peninsula tomorrow. I’ll be up early to confirm conditions, and if all looks good, head south for the next chapter of this adventure.

6.8 nm today
484.5 nm total

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