Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sitka, the Finale

I was extremely fortunate that Dan Evans offered to take me to His and Janet's cabin on Baranof Island to spend my last few days in Sitka. This was totally unexpected and a wonderful gift from Dan. What a royal treat this was. Marc, Andy, myself with Dan, Janet and their dog Neva all piled in their little boat for a four hour ride to a place I will not soon forget.

Andy was very kind to offer his driving skills to relieve Dan from almost 6 days straight of driving the boat. Good job Andy....smooth driving all the way ;-)

During the ride we some spectacular scenery and wildlife which included a water fall with an Eagle flying across the scene. Too bad I was too busy adjusting my aperture to capture it in real time. I know Andy got the shot but with the miracle of modern day photography....I can at least show you what we all saw ;-)

I think this was the only Sea Lion I saw on the trip. All the previous seal shots were of Harbor seals. I am all too familiar with the loud bark of these guys. Every year sea lions invade San Francisco piers and cause a big nuisance for the local fisherman and harbor masters alike.

The one thing I sort of blew it on this trip was not taking a snap shot of one of the coolest things I say Dan do. He had a dinner plan to make fresh fish once we made it to the cabin but the only problem was that we did not have any fish yet.

Dan pulled into a little cove en route to Baranof, rigged his fishing pole with a lure that had a treble hook, cast the lure out a few yards and WAMOOO!!!!!.....A fish was on. The fish came off the hook but it did not take too many more casts before Dan had a solid hook into a salmon. Instead of grabbing my camera, I grabbed a gaffing hook to bring the nice size salmon onto the boat and into a bucket. The fish probably weighed a good 15 pounds. After the fun and exciting drama, I earned the name gaffer Dan to help distinguish between the two Dans on the trip.

After the beautiful four hour trip, we finally pulled into a very surreal cove that must of been straight out of a movie. I huge rushing waterfall to one side while a few cabin homes lined the shore. Simply amazing. The only way in this place was either by boat or float plane.

 I met this young kid James fly fishing in the cove. Very nice kid...earns his money on a boat that does guides in and around Sitka. Too bad he does not work for the best..Dan Evans or as we know him through this adventure, Sitka Dan. No one will be able to top Dan...NO ONE!!!

The path leading to Dan's cabin continues until it reaches a serene lake that Janet loves to kayak on with her incredible air filled kayak. The picture bellow is not the kayak of course but a boat that seems to have a permanent home right where it is at.

This lake feeds a very fast moving river down to the huge waterfall that leads right into the cove.

If you were knowledgeable enough of the area and of course we had Dan, there is a small slipper trail that veers off the main trail and into some natural hot springs that have a few pools right near the above rushing river. This was just the coolest thing ever for me. I have heard of hot springs but I have never actually seen one.

The upper pools were very hot...around 109 deg according to a local and they progressively cool off to a cool 104 deg alongside the river's edge. Perfect temp for a fat bodied person like me. That did not mean I did not get into the hotter pools and just have some fun with it.

Below is Dan and myself just goofing around trying to get an off the wall shot.

Dan ran into the actual river for a little cooling off. The temp of this water is damn cold.

For me, I choose the very very comfortable hot pool right along the river's edge. A perfect fit for me. Bare in mind, I do not usually take my cloths off in the public as you can see by my skin tone but for this was worth the embarrassment.

After a few hours of sitting in these pools, I was totally and utterly relaxed. I had a very hard time climbing back up to the main path and back to the cabin.

At night, Baranof island's little cove is as gorgeous and mystical as it is in the day time. We had a full moon to light up the cove and show us all it glory.

If you look off to the left of this picture, you will see a little structure that houses three baths that are feed by the hot springs you saw earlier. Dan and another helped build these "public" baths for all to use. The hot water continually fills the tubs while the overflow drains feed into the cove. This offers constant hot water and ensures the tubs are filled with clean water even if one uses soap during their bathing experience.

I spent many hours in these tubs and loved every minute. It may have cut into my photography but when you are in these hot spring just do not care :-D

As a sign off and my last picture of Sitka, is my view out the hot tub rooms that I spent so much time reminiscing of how lucky I was to be experiencing what having a good life is all about.

Thank you all for following me on this magical trip. Sitka is a heavenly place that most never see. Most people come on cruise ships...hit the trinket shops and leave without experience any of what Sitka is all about.

I would like to give a big thanks to Dan Evans for showing us the intimate side of Sitka that took him 30 years of knowledge building to show us in just a few days. I now consider Dan one of the finest people I have met in my life and hopefully will be able to maintain a friendship that will mutually benefit us.

I would also like to thank Marc Muench and Andy Williams for again topping what I thought could not be topped. Every trip I have gone on with these guys, I learn more and more. I always come home a better photographer and a more humble photographer.

1 comment:

Schmoo said...

Dan I've been following your saga of course and the shots get better each time. What an incredible set of shots from those hot springs!