Subsistence Kayaking VI

 Fredrik Norrsell
This squirrel was busy dropping cones on our tent all night, and caching them for the coming winter.
 Fredrik Norrsell
One of the squirrels many food caches.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Nancy with a nice Chanterelle harvest.
 Fredrik Norrsell
All the wildlife were fattening up for the winter, including this Brown Bear sow and her 2 cubs.
 Fredrik Norrsell
A big plate with pan-fried Silver Salmon, Chanterelles and Beach Asparagus. A great late summer treat.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Found amazing tide pools full of anemones, sponges, and limpets.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Sunset in Chatham Strait.
 Fredrik Norrsell
We got winded in and camped a few miles short of Angoon on our last night. Awoke during the night to this spectacular Aurora and the sound of a breaching Humpback Whale.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Leaving Angoon on the ferry.
 Fredrik Norrsell
A spectacular last sunset, as we were heading north towards Haines on the ferry.

Subsistence Kayaking V

Finally back for the last entries about last summer. Held off publish some images since some publications wanted to buy first time rights. More to come.

 Fredrik Norrsell
A stack of rock fish fillets.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Nancy cleaning rockfish. Rock fish was a stable in our diet, and our favorite meal.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Weather turned wonderful for the last 10 days of our trip with many stunning sunrises and sunsets.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Shorebirds were abundant at the end of the summer, as the fall migration had begun.
 Fredrik Norrsell
The small town of Baranof. Hotsprings and a great friendly community. What else can you wish for.
 Fredrik Norrsell
A sleeping Stellar Sealion.
 Fredrik Norrsell
We watched this bubble-net feeding Humpback whale for well over 1 hour.
 Fredrik Norrsell
The humpback whale coming up close for a breath.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Anemone in a tidepool.
 Fredrik Norrsell
As we crossed Chatham Straight the weather detoriated and heavy rain started.

Subsistence Kayaking – IV

After Goddard Hot Springs we turned back north past Sitka, through Sergius Narrows to Hoonah Sound. As we returned into a more sheltered environment we found a larger variety of beach greens and they were more abundant.

 Fredrik Norrsell
Wild crabapples were flavorful, but time consuming to collect and process.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Thimbleberries didn’t grow along the outer coast. As we returned to the inner channels (Hoonah Sound) we found the last delicious berries of the season.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Fishing for salmon continued to be poor but we caught a few pinks. Learned later from ADFG biologist that the fish had gone straight up the streams as rains and high stream flows arrived the same time as the salmon. Here we are eating salmon, beach asparagus, and hedgehog mushrooms.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Found great crabbing in Hoonah Sound. What a tasty threat.
 Fredrik Norrsell
A flock of Common Mergansers in morning fog. It was nice to find calmer sea conditions in Hoonah Sound after all our time on the outer coast.
 Fredrik Norrsell
We really liked the ocean in Hoonah Sound but it was sad to see how heavily logged the forest had been.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Recent clearcuts in Hoonah Sound.

Subsistence Kayaking – III

The unsettled weather continued during our trip down to Goddard Hot Springs, so we decided to portage into Redoubt Lake and from there hike the historic trail to the Hot Springs. We quickly found out how much richer the marine environment is, and we had to work hard to get enough food and use our saved supplies.

 Fredrik Norrsell
The old boardwalk – trail between Redoubt Lake and Goddard Hot Springs.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Along the trail to Goddard Hot Springs.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Boiling Limpets. Since limpets are grazers they are not susceptible to PSB poisons. We were able to collect limpets along our hike from Redoubt Lake to Goddard Hotspring.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Huckleberries were abundant near the Hot Springs.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Blueberry Cobbler for breakfast.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Goddard Hot Springs, what a wonderful threat to soak and rest our tired bodies.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Twisted stalk salad with smoked salmon and huckleberries.

End of Summer

The summer and our subsistence kayaking trip has ended. We left the bounty of SE Alaska behind and drove back home to Palmer from Haines. Along the Alcan we were greeted by amazing fall colors.

 Fredrik Norrsell
Fall colors along Alcan Highway.

More posts about the trip are coming soon to this blog, in Adventure Kayaker and Outside Online. At the moment we are busy digging out our overgrown garden, harvesting for the freezer, and getting our cabin ready for winter. Meanwhile see what has been Published in Adventure Kayaker:

Shrimping-from-a-kayak

First-salmon-of-the-season

Seafood Supper

One-Fish-Can-Change-Everything

Subsistence-kayaking-special

Adventure Kayaker – Fall 2016

Subsistence Kayaking – II

The he trip is going well after 45 days and over 300 nautical miles we have reached Sitka. Here we are re-supplying on spices, oil and sugar. After several weeks of fantastic weather we now have a pretty good storm moving through. Hopefully we can continue towards Goddard Hot Springs tomorrow.

Good weather allowed us to paddle the open coast on the west side of Yakobi island.
Brekers along the outer coast of Chichagof Island.
Deer are abundant along the coast and can be amazingly approachable when approached slowly.
Nancy proudly showing off her catch. The first salmon Of the season for us.
Nearly 40 pounds of fresh salmon that will feed us for many days.
Smoking salmon is working well as a way to preserve fish, and it is delicious. The evening before we caught 7 large Keta salmon.
This dinner was a highlight. Pan fried rock fish, with rock fish ceviche, shrimp and fresh picked berries.

Ruffed Grouse

A male ruffed grouse kept me entertained in early May, as he called for females by beating his wings together. He had several favorite logs to stand on in my backyard. I like the pictures but they have busy backgrounds. For next year I will have to do some selective trimming in my yard to clean up the background as I now know where his favorite spot are.

 Fredrik Norrsell

 Fredrik Norrsell

Sierra de San Francisco

Just finished two amazing mule packing trips into the UNESCO World Heritage site, Rock Paintings of Sierra de San Francisco. The terrain is immensely rugged but the local mules were great, and sturdy on their feet. That said, I mostly walked with my camera while Nancy rode.

 Fredrik Norrsell

The impressive rock paintings are located on overhangs in the canyons.

 Fredrik Norrsell

A few of the more famous sites have board walks once you scramble up the loose rocky trails to the actual site, but we preferred the natural sites that hadn’t been altered. More photos are located at http://store.norrsell.com/Travel/Mexico/Mule-Trip-Baja-2015

 Fredrik Norrsell

A few sites are accessible  during day-trips, but  most sites requires a multi-day mule trip. I would highly recommend our friend Trudi with Saddling South for help for putting together a trip in the area.

 

Wild Food

What makes this so special?

With a variety of light-weight, compact, delicious, camping foods available, why would a person choose to paddle around eating weeds?

 Fredrik Norrsell
Stir-fry with wild mushrooms and greens cooking over a fire.

At times I ask myself the same. Wilderness time is so precious in our busy lives. Wouldn’t I rather go for a hike than sit under a tarp cleaning mounds of beach greens?

These kinds of trips aren’t lightweight. We don’t have to pack all that food, but the space is more than occupied by fishing gear, shrimp pots, collecting bag etc. It isn’t less expensive, compared to the cost of kayaks, and paddling jackets, food is cheap and the things we do bring, spices, and oil, and condiments, add up quickly.

While I relish the sweet illusion that by gathering your own food, this kind of life could go on indefinitely, we are still linked to the money economy more than I would like to admit. Summer will end all to soon. The colors will change. The bounty will disappear.

 Fredrik Norrsell
Pink Salmon entering a spawning stream.

I do feel healthier out here. Is it outdoor exercise, or a diet, low in carbohydrates and sugars, closer to what our ancestors ate, that makes me feel more alive?

 Fredrik Norrsell
Dinner with rock fish, shrimp, wild weeds, and mushrooms.

Mostly I enjoy that looking for food makes me notice things in greater detail. Is that a mushroom with true gills or little flat topped diverging ridges? Gulls are sitting on the water in a perfect line, maybe marking an upwelling current and good fishing.

 Fredrik Norrsell
Salmon leaping high onto the air.

Catching a gorgeous silver salmon or finding a blueberry patch dripping with grape size berries, I am in awe the earths abundance. Being surrounded by baby animals, catching a glimpse of a sea otter pup peaking out from it’s mothers arms, or a duo of humpback whales passing in unison, I feel a sense of optimism for the earth. Their is an abundance here. We are intimately linked to the world around us is in a most basic way. And as Fredrik says, “There is something deep inside of us that longs to gather food.”

 Fredrik Norrsell
Nancy Pfeiffer picking blueberries.

Text by Nancy Pfeiffer – more stories and recipes to come.