On Sunday, we all had the day off! I had made it through 13 workdays in a row! Now I'm in the middle of a bunch more, but it was great to have that one day in the middle.
Renee has some contacts in the hike-and-float tour company, so she arranged for a heavily discounted tour for whoever wanted to go. Meridith, Bill, Gregory, and I were all in, so we hoofed it over to the Railroad Dock to meet the tour guide (Jeremy) and hop in the van. Jeremy drove us to Chilkoot Trail head in Dyea, and we started off with about a three mile walk through the forest.
It just has gotten more beautiful here every day, as the deciduous trees grow leaves, the ferns pop up brilliant green, and small flowers bloom everywhere.
I don't have any words for this.
A BEAR CLAWED THIS TREE.
Apparently Coastal Brown Bears
(which are the same species as Grizzlies
but are bigger yet less aggressive
because they eat so much salmon
with so little effort)
do this to mark their territory.
If another bear comes along and can claw higher up the tree,
then it continues into the territory anyway,
because it is like
I AM BIGGER THAN YOU MOTHERFUCKER.
It was particularly cool, because Jeremy knows a lot about the different kinds of plants and what they can be used for. I loved learning that stuff, even though I've already forgotten a lot of it!
I forget what kind of tree this is,
but it has to grow on top of rocks,
because the soil here is too acidic
for basically anything except spruce, hemlock, and dogwood,
but the rock neutralizes acidity!
I forget what kind of fungus this is,
but you can knock on it
and it is as hard as wood!
I forget what kind of fern this is,
but it is Jeremy's favorite plant, and very beautiful.
Its spores line the underside,
like they're in little pill packets or something.
After our hike, we made it to the riverbank where the raft was waiting for us. We changed into waders and hopped in!
Jeremy rowed us down the river. It was so beautiful, peaceful, calm... all the adjectives! ;) I felt like I was meditating without really meditating.
The company was lovely – sometimes we chatted and sometimes we just chilled. (Literally, actually – it was a little cold out!)
Jeremy and Greg!
And Bill, sort of hidden behind Jeremy.
An eagle's nest!
We pulled over at one point onto a rocky bank, where Jeremy taught us rock bowling: Pick a large rock, crouch over and hold it behind you, and then throw it between your legs and see whose goes farthest! I came in last every time. But that's ok!
Sooner than I was really ready for, we pulled up to the final bank and hopped out of the raft. They had hot chocolate and still-slightly-warm chocolate chip cookies ready for us, which was perfect.
We helped carry the raft aground and then Jeremy drove us back to Skagway. Even the drive was beautiful :)
Next up: Stephanie's birthday on Wednesday! TTYL!