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.

Subsistence Kayak Trip

We are leaving for our summer of subsistence sea kayaking in SE Alaska, until September (is the plan). Will start paddling in Haines, and paddle in the direction that seems to have the best catching and harvesting. Our fishing gear, shrimp pots, crab snares, etc. are ready to provide the catch as we collect edible berries, plants and mushrooms. A well stocked spice kit will help us prepare some delicious meals (we hope). A few pictures from last summers trip below. I will try to update this page if we stop in a small town.

Want to hear more about how it is going? We are planning to post several updates with Adventure Kayaker.

 Fredrik Norrsell
Dinner with rock fish, shrimp, wild weeds, and mushrooms.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Nancy Pfeiffer picking blueberries.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Stir-fry with wild mushrooms and greens cooking over a fire.
 Fredrik Norrsell
A nice collection of fresh harvest, watermelon berries, chanterelles, blueberries and chitons.

 

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.

Wild Food Trip

We had a very successful 25-day sea kayaking trip on Prince William Sound paddling from Cordova to Chenega, living off the land and harvesting our food along the way.

 Fredrik Norrsell
A nice collection of fresh harvest, watermelon berries, chanterelles, blueberries and chitons.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Nancy Pfeiffer paddling in front of the Chugach Mountains.

Will post more about the trip soon, meanwhile check out this article about our trip last year, which was published in Adventure Kayaker Magazine. http://www.rapidmedia.com/ak/adventurekayakmag_fall15