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Kiwi visiting PNW

JKA

Paddler
Joined
Jul 25, 2016
Messages
230
Location
Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
Hi Folks,

I'll be finishing a contract with NOLS in Alaska on 18 August and then I'll be floating free until Friday 08 September when I start a clinic in the PNW.

I have no firm plans on what I'm doing in those three weeks and I'm open to suggestions from the hive mind at WCP.

Visiting Kodiak Island from Anchorage was originally an option (thanks for the suggestions PhilipAK) but now that won't work out.

I have friends, Gary and Jane Jacek, in Victoria that I'm hoping to arrange something with, but that is all. I will have camping and paddling gear, excluding a kayak, and despite having just been in the field with NOLS for two months, I am house trained! :)

The clinic is based out of the NOLS base at Mount Vernon, 100km north of Seattle, so I assume that we will be training on the outer coast of the Olympic Peninsula and probably in the San Juans. If there are any trips planned in those areas I would love to join. Time spent on reconnaissance is never wasted!

If there's no paddling to be done, it would still be nice to catch up for a coffee with like-minded souls.

While I'm in the field with NOLS I'll be off-grid, but I do have a week off in the middle so I'll check for messages then.

Cheers

John
 
John, If this NOLS class is for "students" and not instructors-to-be, I wouldn't think they go to the outer coast of the Olympic Peninsula. They do have lives to worry about. On the other hand, they already have your registration fee. Oh wait, you finished a contract. So you are probably at Instructor level .... never mind :)

You might want to review the details of paddling to and fro between the USA and Canada - because you'll be close to both. I'm referring to customs check-in. It might be done with an "App" now.
 
Thanks Cougarmeat. Yes, I am instructing on the NOLS courses in Alaska, as I do here at home in New Zealand. The PNW clinic is for introducing current NOLS instructors to more challenging conditions. I'm pretty confident in exposed-coast paddling, with all that brings, but I'm new to this area.

I have checked and my visa allows me to temporarily exit the US, say to Canada, and then return. This means if someone says "you must drive all the way from Anchorage to Seattle, it's a stunning trip," then I can.

I don't expect anyone to say that!

It also means I could explore parts of the BC coastline. I have paddled in Surge Narrows and I instructed at the Pacific Paddling Symposium in 2018 so I have some limited knowledge of the area. I also took a session in Tillicum Rapids for SISKA while there. Great place, great people.
 
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Kyuquot may be possible in August, but last I heard the road into Zeballos, Little Espinosa Inlet (access to Nuchatlitz) and Fair Harbour (access to Kyuquot) was shut down due to a wildfire. We were in the area a week ago, just before the closure, and the forest was very dry. A good backup plan is Gods Pocket out of Port Hardy.
 
Kyuquot may be possible in August, but last I heard the road into Zeballos, Little Espinosa Inlet (access to Nuchatlitz) and Fair Harbour (access to Kyuquot) was shut down due to a wildfire. We were in the area a week ago, just before the closure, and the forest was very dry. A good backup plan is Gods Pocket out of Port Hardy.
Gary, your post got me worried i wouldn't be going out that way as planned for the beginning of July but I just called Fair Harbour and they said the Zeballos FSR is open. Said it was never closed, I'm not sure why Western Forest Products says it was as of June 16th? Thought I should pass this on for others planning trips.
 
The road was reported as being open to residents. Perhaps that is what the Fair Harbour folks meant.
Some clarification would be great as I was also planning a trip up that way next week.
 
Got this from the Zeballos village council:
"Thank you for reaching out for clarification! The Village is currently in the process of handling the mixed messaging that is out there in the world.
Rest assured; the Zeballos Forest Service Road is open to locals and visitors alike. The Anutz Lake fire is now held, and will not have any impact on the FSR.
Let me know if you have any questions, otherwise, have a fantastic kayaking trip!"
Do with this what you will. :)
 
Thanks Cougarmeat. Yes, I am instructing on the NOLS courses in Alaska, as I do here at home in New Zealand. The PNW clinic is for introducing current NOLS instructors to more challenging conditions. I'm pretty confident in exposed-coast paddling, with all that brings, but I'm new to this area.

I have checked and my visa allows me to temporarily exit the US, say to Canada, and then return. This means if someone says "you must drive all the way from Anchorage to Seattle, it's a stunning trip," then I can.

I don't expect anyone to say that!

It also means I could explore parts of the BC coastline. I have paddled in Surge Narrows and I instructed at the Pacific Paddling Symposium in 2018 so I have some limited knowledge of the area. I also took a session in Tillicum Rapids for SISKA while there. Great place, great people.
It might be easier to visit Europe next time, there are a lot of paddling, rafting, and canyoning Bled in Slovenia trips you can in countries like Croatia, Slovenia, and others... I'd recommend it.
 
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John, It's not a paddling event but if you can swing it, a visit to SaltSpring Island - Ganges Harbor area on Saturday to enjoy the Saturday market. It is a great treat - various fresh baked bread, pizza by the slice, and other edibles.

Initially, on the cheap, we used to stay at Ruckle Park and shower at the community swimming pool on Rainbow Road. But - depending upon the day and time, that shower can cost $2 CAD or $6 CAD and it's not really a shower. It's just a trickle of water from a wannabe shower you'd pass under on the way to the pool.

We found a camp that supports hammocks (I'm a hammock guy) at Mowhinna Creek Campground for a few dollars more than Ruckle. It included laundry facilities, a shower, and is just up the road from Ganges Harbor (Did I mention the Saturday Market).

Another "off the water" visit is the Butchart Gardens near Victoria BC. It's not cheap - the last visit (years ago) was $35 CAD/person, but it's such a visual treat. On the weekends or on one weekend day, they have a fireworks display at night.

Unfortunately, COVID closed Canada for several years and though I'm keen to visit, my local paddling partner isn't up to driving that far. I live smack dab in the middle of Oregon in High Desert country - not a lot of surf. :(
 
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