Friday, October 22, 2010

Helena, MT

Days 63-65
The next morning I made a couple sandwiches for the road and tried some raspberries from Nancy's garden that were delicious.  Thank you guys for letting me stay for a night, I wish I could have stayed longer in Portland since there is a lot to see.  Anyway, I headed out to Helena, which is about a ten hour drive.  I passed up a lot of juicy water that must have held fish, but I just wanted to be back in Montana.  Along the drive, I broke 250,000 miles!!  I cannot give my vehicle enough praise, it is the most reliable, has perfect clearance, it is the perfect size, and has proven to be matched engineeringly.  Thats why although most vehicles and boats are shes, I have called my 4Runner Yoda (also because its green).  Wow!
And counting.. 
My uncle Randy 
I got to Helena after dark and caught up with Bug showing her more pictures and videos from the trip.  Honestly, I have had a lot of adventure, but what has made the trip special has been the people I have met.  Being able to chill with Bug and Randy after a long time on the road was more than necessary!  The next day, I met Randy on the Missouri after he had a very interesting hearing in Great Falls regarding the constitutionality of having an insurance cap of money that victims of medical mal-practice are allowed to be compensated!  I told Randy that I would row for the first half and then we switched later on.  The day was gorgeous although strange for the middle of October: 75 degrees, sunny and full of fall colors.  We chilled and fished until we had a beer and a snack at a bar in Craig.  When we got home, Bug cooked up a HUGE and delicious steak dinner which made me remember how great family is.  We caught the rest of the Phillies game and went to bed.

Yesterday, we woke up and took care of some chores in Helena.  I got to see Randy's office, had breakfast, and went to their place in Whitehall.  We chilled by the porch and talked fishing for a couple hours, which was unforgettable.  Then we fished a piece of water that "I cannot remember the name" or "where it was" type of place.  Stunned by the beauty, I realized that given the exposure to mountains and glaciers along my trip, that Montana was still very very legitimate, beautiful and in its own, another haven.

We came back to their home, ordered pizza, and had beers in the man cave upstairs and watched the Phillies pull off a must win-game.  

Back to Lower 48

Days 61-62
I woke up in Victoria early morning in search of the Ferry to the US.  I asked for some street side help and was accidentally sent to the ferry terminal that takes you back to Vancouver on the mainland.  I turned around, got lost some more (since my GPS was still dead) and found the ferry terminal to Port Angeles just in time to catch the 10:30 AM ferry.  I passed out until some rolling waves woke me and then read for while.  It had been over a month and a half since I was back in the lower 48 and in a way it was relaxing.  It was nice not to have to convert cents/litre gas rates or worry about the Canadian dollar having more power than the US causing me to spend more money than I thought, or the fact that in Victoria a six-pack of beer was $11.

I changed my oil, refueled the car, and myself at the best Chinese cuisine in Washington and drove to Olympic National Park.  I should preface my time in Washington by saying that you would need a lot more than a couple hours at each park to get to know it.  I dislike it when people say I have "done Yellowstone" or Europe because its impossible to see it all, instead what small glimpse I got of these parks in Washington and the rest of my trip for that matter, has been a nice teaspoon of beauty.
View from car
Montains in Olympic
Olympic Natl. park was great because huge cedars grow up to the hill tops.  Then as you ascend on the Hurricane Road you come to another mountainous plateau that are mostly sharp and snow blanketed.  One horseshoe bend reminded me of the road to get to Portillo in Chile.  I spent some time near the top before heading on to Mount Saint Helens and noticed how incredibly quiet the wilderness can be.

Dinner by the lake
That evening I made it to a lake in southern Washington and camped out for the night.  In the morning I ran for a bit and did some ab-workouts to bite the cold away.  Nearly two hours later I came to THE Mount St. Helens.  A family friend of ours grew up loving it and now I can see why Steven was so amazed.  In 1980, 1/4 of the mountain exploded horizontally and then erupted burying millions of trees within twenty miles, the debris snapping them by the trunks for another thirty miles, and singeing them for twenty miles beyond that.  Whats crazy is that the volcano is still active so there is a dome inside the crevase that was formed that grows daily from the vertical growth of magma.  I watched a video from the late 1980s where the dome's growth oscillated from a 1/4" per hour to dump truck loads in seconds.  Only with binoculars could one see that in places the dome was smoking!
Mount St. Helens
From St. Helens I drove to Portland to see Reid's parents.  I made it to their beautiful home in time to shower and watch his sister, Claire play soccer.  It was the first game I had watched live in a while and playing under the lights brought back some memories.  It was great to see Nancy and Dave since I had not seen a familiar face in a while and we caught up at their home over dinner.  Later that night, I chilled with Lee, who I studied abroad with in Chile, and we had a couple drinks and laughed a ton remembering living in LCL.
Sunset in Portland

Tofino, BC

Days 58-60
I left Vancouver in time to catch the Ferry from Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver to Nanaimo, Vancouver Island before noon.  Once I got off the ferry and refueled, I headed to a place I had never heard of until Chester and Randi told me I could not pass it up.  Tofino is a small town about three hours in the middle of the island on the west coast.  The drive to Tofino is beautiful, it is one of thirty or so Rand McNally "best of the road" type routes to the beach (Incidentally, I had driven along many of these roads without having planned it).  You drive for miles through the National Pacific Rim Reserve, which is a Cedar rainforest that dominates both sides of the ten mile spit of land that pokes out from Vancouver Island.  Unbeknownst to me, Tofino is Canada's surfing capital so I was determined to try to surf.  The east side of the spit holds a large bay that is a world class salmon and steelhead fishery.  Basically, Tofino is a surfing and fishing mecca and its culture is equally wild and unique. 

I camped the first night in a spot that was recommended to me in secret, but rest assured it was ideal.  The next morning I scurried to one of the surf shops and tried to sign up for a lesson.  If I wanted the cheapest group rental rate I was told I had to wait until tomorrow because I was the only person wanting one, but the manager pulled some strings for me and called a buddy who ended up giving me a private lesson at a group rental rate!  I met up with Jeffro and immediately bonded over our shared affection for 4Runners, his being more beach worthy.  
I missed an O'Neil surfing competition by a day.  Winner took home $125K and the waves were consistently over 8' !!
Anyway, we drove to what looked like was the side of a road in the middle of forested suburbia.  We put our wet suits on since the water temperature runs 58 degrees or colder.  Through a narrow pathway through the woods we came to Chesterman Beach, which is the perfect spot to learn: no reefs, no rocks, just sand.  The waves were on average two to four feet, some that rolled in were over six.  Jeffro was a great instructor because most of the lesson hinged on advice like, "feel the ocean" or "its you and the board," and I found a way to pop up a couple times.  I learned what an Ice Cream headache means, how to read the water in terms of where the waves crash, and to respect the rip currents.  I certainly have a long long way to go, but it was outrageously fun to wipe out, get up, try again, and simply being in the water.  In the distance, Jeffro saw two 1,000+ pound sea lions that scared him so we went back to shore and chilled for a bit.  The instruction did not last much longer but I was introduced to surfing and I will have to make time for it because it was SICK!  
Jeffro suggested I hit up a local taco shop called Tacofino, and I gobbled down fish and beef tacos.  I then took time to get to know the Island and found the fly shop.  I met a Frenchman named Flo, who talked up the Steelhead fishing a whole lot.  For $600 he said we would have the chance to find twenty pounders, but there was no way I could afford it.  Since the Cohos had come in a few weeks prior, I repressed my need to fish since licenses are not cheap for foreigners.  After digesting for a bit, I decided to surf again since I had rented my equipment for the day.  This time, the tide was up so the waves were more consistent and averaging five feet or larger.  I got up a couple times, but my wrist began to bother me a lot so I worked on my balance.  It was great to be out there because I felt that I had a general idea of how to surf.
I had forgotten where Jeffro had told me where the public showers were so I asked a girl who was walking her dog if she knew and she said, "Why don't you just come down to my house, I have an outdoor shower?"  So I did, and she had the perfect set up: an outdoor shower with curtains, hot water, and place to hang her wetsuit to dry.  We talked for a bit and she suggested some places to see on the island and on the drive down to Victoria!  Aren't Canucks nice?  
I found a parking lot where I could camp overnight and was very exhausted from working out new muscles. 

The next day I returned my board and wet suit and checked out a view point of Tofino.  The views were not incredible, but I found a trail that was unreal.  Down about 100 feet from the mouth of the trail was a sign that read, "This is not a government authorized trail. Use not recommended."  To me, that meant keep going.  Downhill for an hour through the dense rainforest, repelling over roots with ropes, through creeks, and mud pits, the trail opened at a sand dune that led into a rocky beach that was completely isolated.  I had found paradise by accident.  Now totally enamored by Tofino, I knew it was okay to leave.   

Along the hike

Carona commercial material.

I then headed to Victoria to catch a ferry back to the US.  After driving nearly fifteen minutes, I saw a black bear and her cub a few feet from the street!  Later, my cigarette lighter broke so I lost power to my phone, ipod, computer, and GPS.  I tried two hostels downtown and again, I didn't realize it was Saturday, so they were booked and I ended up camping in a sailboat parking lot near the water.  I bought a few beers and strolled through downtown Victoria getting some great night time photos. 
By the water in Victoria

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Day 57
I had read that the food in Vancouver has a wonderful Pacific influence so I stopped at a sushi bar in North Vancouver and had Tuna and Salmon Sashimi and a side bowl of Udon noodles.  The sushi was extra fresh while the noodles were only ok.  I asked the manager if he would like to purchase my salmon and/or salmon roe that I had caught, but he did not dare think about it since it was a health hazard to purchase fish from individuals and not the suggested healthy option. 
A cottage among modern homes.
Botanical Gardens

That night I met up with a family friend’s son, Chester, who is living the dream and is making a life for himself in Vancouver (and on his own I should metion).  The dream is to ride BMX freestyle bikes in hand built and dug parks in the woods with jumps up to thirty feet. Along with convincing the city of Vancouver to fun his idea he is also a part owner of bike parts shop which growing as we speak.  He gets to test bike parks around the globe and chill with similarly radical bikers!  It is cool because I know his parents fairly well and it is great to get to know him in a town which is just as cool.  We had a mini slide show trading pictures, stories, and music over drinks.  It was great to meet his lady, Randi, who has some great things going for her as well, including a leather-recycling, purse design company.  I am stoked and thankful to crash on his couch, shower and chill with someone my age. 

If your interested in seeing what Chester does check it out (look for the long red lochs) at: and Randy’s cool company is:
Back 1/2 of a flower as legit as the front half. 
The hand dug and built ramps.
This morning we made an egg breakfast and Chester loaned me a bike to tour the city.  I headed to the Botanical Gardens that my uncle Randy suggested.  It is a sixty acre garden with all kinds of plants, flowers and trees from all over including a few trees I recognized that were from Chile.  The next priority was to find a Dim Sum restaurant since the Asian influence in Vancouver is immense.  I went to the wrong side of Broadway street which meant I was thirty minutes away from the spot I found online.  Seeing that it was 2:30 PM I only had thirty minutes to find a new Dim Sum place before they closed.  I poked my head into a French lunch bar and a Chinese waiter directed me to his favorite Dim Sum restaurant fifteen blocks away--what good luck.  He drew me an accurate map and I made it before last call.  The restaurant was no longer pushing carts but with a picture menu I knew exactly what I wanted.  The house special was a fried shrimp dumpling which was out of this world good.  From there I headed to Vanier Park to ride around with the bike that Chester let me borrow for a couple hours. 
Downtown from the mainland

I rode on a bike path that locals jog, ride, walk, and read in along the False River of downtown Vancouver.  It is right by the water across from downtown Vancouver--the perfect city environment.  I was stoked because the sun was out and it was almost warm enough to wear shorts.  I rode for a couple hours past the third bridge and back and was in awe.  Vancouver is a mix between San Fransisco, La Paz, and Boston, in my mind.  And even then its its own.    

I then met up with Chester, who his buds call him Cheddar due to his red hair, at the shop.  They were moving from one store to another so they were painting the room all day long.  I got to chill with a bunch of guys who run the shop and they seem to be living the dream too.  I got to know Randi a bit better and its great to see how they are making it for themselves in a motivated environment.  Now Im slugging at the appartment and have not decided whether or not I am going to the Vancouver Island tomorrow or not yet.  That is the beauty of being on a trip like this!
Chester & Randi

Back to Canada

Real logging roads
Days 54-56
First of all, I just realized how intensely long this trip has been.  I think what set that idea off was that every time I drive from one spot in downtown Vancouver to another in my car, which is still loaded with all my gear including the pontoon frame on the roof, I find it funny.  I have spent the last few nights since October 9th back in Canada.  I started out in Prince Rupert, where I got the most attention I have gotten compared to the four other border crossings earlier in the trip.  They checked the serial number on the gun I brought through and checked to see if the bear spray I declared (didn't need to do that) had a picture of a bear on the can, otherwise it could be used on people?! Whatever.. 

I have been driving south the last three days from Prince Rupert down through Terrace, Smithers, Whistler and into Vancouver.  Since I left Houston I have not payed attention to what day of the week it has been on most of the trip.  I have even managed to call my girlfriend's work number on a weekend...  Anyway, it was obviously the weekend and all the stores in Smithers were closed since it was late Sunday afternoon and the stores would not reopen until Tuesday because the next day was the Canadian Thanksgiving.  This means that although I was in Holy Steelheading country, I had no way of learning where to go since the fly shops were closed.  I managed to speak to one, singular fly shop owner that closed at 6pm and they said that everything was blown out anyway…  Needless to say, I just ditched my Northern BC Steelheading plans and drove on south to Vancouver. 

I camped at rest stops both nights and noticed that its much colder the more inland I had driven.  The drive through Whistler was cool because they hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics.  Plus I was unaware of how large the town, not just the ski mountain, of Whistler really is.  From there I caught the sunset over Horseshoe Bay along the Sunshine Coast to Vancouver.  Its wild to think of how much the terrain has changed throughout my trip, now I get to grow accustomed to oceanfront sunsets. 

On the drive past Whistler

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Downtown Ketchikan

Days 47-53

I have spent the last five days with Bill and Nick in Ketchikan and recharged by relaxing.  Bill and I explored the Island searching for streams to stalk salmon in.  As we drove towards the southernmost point of the Island you drive by the “old town” of Ketchikan.  Along the rivers that flow into the sea are homes on stilts that are brightly colored.  In the channels were fishing boats: gill netters, trollers, ferries, shrimping boats, divers in small skiffs seeking sea cucumbers.  The northern end of the Island is more interesting because you leave the noisy crowd of downtown (pop 8,000), and within minutes are in the rain forest.  The tides in Ketchikan are about twenty feet and their effects on the water flowing near the road system is tremendous.  In a couple places, where Nick and I tried to fish at high tide, hoping that the high tide would bring in the fish, the water was impossible to wade.  At low tide, a 100+ foot river mouth was then a mere 10 foot opening.  At the most northern point of the Island is a recreational area called Settler’s Cove where a large tannin river flows into the bay.  We later learned that in August, the Cove is heavily littered with salmon (although it was neat because when I fished it the previous night, there was a small and curious seal remained a short cast away from me).

Nick and I fished all day two days ago.  We started out at Ward’s Cove, which is where we could not wade.  A police officer drove up and found us fishing below the bridge because someone had incorrectly called in that we were fishing from the bridge, which is illegal.  He checked our licenses, which never happens in the lower 48 and my fourteen day license had expired thirty minutes ago.  The policeman did not find it as humorous as I did and he let us go, but it proves that fishing enforcement is vital in Alaska.  To put it in perspective; my fourteen day license was given a time that it expired rather than a day.
Settler's Cove
Then we fished the mouths of three creeks that flowed in and out of Ward’s Lake with relative success.  Nick caught his first colored Silver on the swing with the same Pink Bunny fly that Kent had sworn by.  Just before I was able to snap his picture, the fish squirmed out of his hands and back into the water.  We also caught a few Dollies, but were a bit disappointed in not finding many Cohos.  I forgot to mention that we got rained on the entire day, both of our GoreTex jackets were soaked and my watch, which should be waterproof, took in water.  The shower that night was incredible. 

Yesterday, the three of us rented an eighteen foot boat to explore the bay and fish.  We were hoping to find Cohos, but again, we had missed them due to the lateness in the year.  What is funny and some may consider preposterous is that we ended up using bait to fish the bottom of the bay with our fly rods.  Obviously, nothing else was working, but it was fun to get a strike with fly line down 100’ or more.  We had an awesome day of fishing for Rockfish and Flounder.  The highlight of the day was either when we spotted Killer Whales after Nick had heard them in the distance or when a posse of dolphins swam within 150’ of us. 

Every evening we had dinner at a restaurant called Oceanview, which is a nice fusion of Italian, Mexican, and Seafood.  It was next door to EC Phillips which is where Nick had worked for the summer.  The meals were probably my favorite part of the trip since I was very well fed. 
Nick and Bill
This morning, we went our separate ways: Bill to Maryland, Nick to Montana, and I boarded a ferry to Prince Rupert, Canada.  Claire made it evident to me that I was leaving Alaska for the remainder of my trip, which kind of came as a blow.  The ferry to Rupert was by far the roughest voyage so far on boat, but even then there were only two-to-four foot seas.  My time in Ketchikan was great because I got to see Bill and Nick and Ketchikan is an awesome place.  It was America’s first city, the salmon capital of the world, and the rainiest city in the US, but I’ll remember it as the greatest bout of recuperation on my trip.  I was spoiled by the family: great food and lots of rest, thank you.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ferry from Juneau - Ketchikan

Days 44-46
Before leaving Juneau I spent time at the State Museum checking out native art and history.  It dawned on me that all native tribes share a set of equal qualities.  Whether you are a Native in Alaska, the Americas or Africa, most natives were never wasteful, preserved or found use for all of their prey, and had an infatuation with art and spirituality.  As a result they were extraordinarily grateful and appreciative of the world that they lived in.  I wonder how challenged we are in todays world with our smart phones, internet, and TV?  Maybe it helps explain why Americans in general (I know I am caught in it sometimes therefore I can partially generalize) are so wasteful compared to countries whose economies are more needy.  Anyway, the museum was pretty neat.  Natives were incredible, intuitive, and revolutionary; I have always had an obsession with them.

Hand carved from Cedar.

I now write from the Matanuska Ferry, which will take me forty-two hours to Ketchikan stopping at Hoonah, Sitka, Kake, Petersburg, and Wrangell.  Rain kept me from differentiating the towns, but the ride was still memorable.  It is US Coast Guard law that a passenger cannot go to their vehicles while the vessel is moving, which meant that I could not camp in my car.  Instead, I plotted a spot in between a row of seats in the movie room like the other twenty frugal bums next to me.  

I made it my goal not to buy any food from the cafeteria, which left me microwaving ramen, ravioli, and oatmeal, eating smoked black cod that Kent had given me, protein shakes, and an occasional snickers bar.  I made friends with a couple who had just spent a year in Anchorage working for AmeriCorps-the US version of the Peace Corps.  I played gin with Jonathen and Kelly and snuck boxed wine into the cafeteria.  Most of the time on the ferry was spent reading, eating, walking a few times on the loop around the deck, and lots of sleeping.  Luis Bunuel's, My Last Sigh was pretty interesting.  I learned that as much as I like his films, that he was more strange than I thought: in one instance he destroyed a family's X-mas tree and presents because he was disgusted by the perverseness of X-mas in his Surrealist mind.  But there is still something attractive with his hate of fame and popularity that made his movies and his book REAL without the superficial, people pleasing, BS.
My bed for a couple nights.
Petersburg by night

I spent two nights on my ferry pallet and arrived in Ketchikan, the world's Salmon capital of the world in the early morning.  I decided to give Jonathen and Kelly a ride into town, had breakfast at a local joint, where I had my first real meal in two days.  I had two biscuits and gravy, three eggs, four sausage links, and a pancake.  Afterwards, I dropped them off and then met up with Bill in town!  We decided to drop my vehicle at the bed and breakfast spot he booked and we drove all around the island enjoying the last sunny forecasted day of the week.

We were looking for spots to fish and while hiking could not believe that we were hanging out in Ketchikan!  For dinner, we met up with Nick, who looks like he has been doing great, and had a delicious seafood fajita meal, with Halibut, Shrimp, and Scallops.  Bill and I left Nick to work his last day tomorrow while we went home and I unloaded and re-sorted my vehicle.  I cannot tell you how nice it is to see family after so long, let alone being pampered to a B&B place and great food.

Starfish on a jetty.
Rockfish I caught on a rock pier near dark. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Last day in Juneau

Day 43
After updating the blog this morning, I cleaned my car, washed some dirty clothes and pots, found dry ice to freeze the salmon I had had in my cooler and topped off the oil, gas, and power steering fluid before I continued on my trip tomorrow.  Then I fished a river called Kowee Creek that is a relatively small river that flows into the sea, which sees its fair share of salmon every year.  The scenery was picturesque, to say the least, and I was stumped not to see any salmon for the first few hours.  I headed up stream and in a slow moving section of the creek, underneath a tree, was this fresh Silver.  Being loaded with eggs I decided to slice a sliver and have the MOST fresh salmon sashimi possible along with caviar.  The salmon was delicious, but the roe was even better.
Bright Silver. 
After fishing, I promised Kent and Jill's daughter, Finley that I would go to her birthday party at the local fish hatchery.  The Juneau Hatchery is just as much a museum as it is a hatchery with live aquariums, touch tanks and all.  Finley was very cute with her friends, at one point a herd of five year olds were racing around an aquarium and she would point and introduce me to them as the sped by.  I enjoyed the pizza, popcorn, grapes, and cake, but it was great to see her happy.  It reminded me of how spoiled I was as a child and how much fun I had.  

I came back to the house and have been organizing things for the ferry to Ketchikan, which is a drawn out thirty-three hours due to its five stops along the way.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Juneau & Fishing with Kent

Mendenhell Glacier 
Days 40-42
40: Last night I slept at a campground after getting off the ferry at midnight, but since it was pouring rain I had the most miserable dinner I have had on the trip: cold green beans, raw ramen noodles and a protein shake.  But thankfully it was dramatically warmer since I was hundreds of miles south of the snow and cold.  I took some time to get to know downtown Juneau the next morning and learned that there is a lot to do with unbelievably easy access to great fishing. 
Log you cross over Montana Creek 
Green = baitfish, Pink Bunny = egg pattern. 
I stopped at a museum for a bit to get a grasp of the history and Native American tradition.  I learned about the Alaskan Gold rush and about the local Natives.  But the coolest thing I learned was that Bald Eagles take as long as nine to twelve months courting their partner with one of the trials being that they interlock talons and free-fall for hundreds of feet.  If the trust is there, they do not let go until the absolutely last minute, which must increase their bond.  Once they are partners, they stay together for life. 

Then, I got in contact with Kent, one of Randy’s friends who lives here and we met up for a delicious beer battered halibut lunch.  I did not realize, but I would spend the next few days with a bad-ass, red headed, large, Irish man.  He gave me some spots to try that day, which where scenic, but given my novice knowledge of fishing for salmon I let a few fish get away.  Just about five miles from downtown is the massive Mendenhell Glacier: a site to see for sure.  Later that night I met up with Kent and his family and had homemade tacos.  Kent and I talked fishing for hours over drinks and thought we would try to fish tomorrow, weather permitting. 

Day 41: Kent was nice enough to take a couple days off of work midweek to fish with me and as a result I have learned a lot about Alaska.  We set out in his “Sea worthy” vessel to get into Halibut on a fly rod, which I must say maybe only a dozen people in the world fish like this!  We hit some rough and forecasted five foot seas, which got me seasick, but the weather began to subside and we started fishing.  Kent gets buckets of chopped up salmon to chum these great bottom feeders of the sea and then, with a twelve weight set up you jig a HUGE fly up and down on the bottom.  Kent was successful in catching a “chicken,” which is a small, plate sized Halibut.  I cannot imagine the bend and fight of a 150+ pounder.  I tried to fish for a little while, but we lost the anchor due to a faulty splice-knot that he had paid to get tied by a specialist (it connects the rope to the chain that holds the anchor). Without an anchor, fishing for Halibut was out of the question, but since Kent is a well-prepared man, he had crabbing rings.  Needless to say we hammered the Dungeness crabs.  Oh yeah, we saw an enormously fat brown bear on the coast that was either eating or taking a dip in high tide.  That night, exhausted, and having recovered from throwing up three times, we feasted on home boiled crabs and butter dipping. 
Water depth
Kent's hooked a Halibut on the fly.
Only 15 lbs, but it got off within seconds of landing it..
Brown bear = Coastal, Grizzly = Inland Brown Bear
Drunk on Dungeness
Day 42: Yesterday, Kent and I went on a day-trip version of his infamous Jet boat trip up a river 130 miles in search of wild, large, and fresh silver salmon and steelhead depending on the time of year.  He again, kindly enough to show me, took us into some incredible back country, a few miles short of the border with British Columbia.  We motored near about ten pods of Humpback Wales, surfacing for air and diving into the deep.  We drove through a channel that in some places is about 2000 feet deep while in other spots up by the river, where we went up, is only a couple feet deep.  We probably saw a dozen bald eagles, another two dozen seals, lots of waterfalls, I think three glaciers, and lots of salmon.  Part of the ride through the section of glaciers, he calls the "Icebox" since the temprature that the glaciers emit is radically cooler and when you are flying at thirty mph with unprotected wind in your face, he’s right, its COLD. 

Those are trees at the base of a colossal glacier. 
Hooked on my first Silver.
Yeah! Once I got the technique down, I slammed them for a couple hours although I also missed a bunch. 
More silvery = fresher from the sea, maybe 4 days.
Biggest one I got!
Freshest one. 
Dime colored Silver!
The water color changed from deep blue, to brown, to silt-stained white, to perfectly clear.  Where these rivers flowed into the larger river were fresh and dime colored Silvers.  See, it takes the salmon a few days to find their original spawning holes, but until they get into their mating modes, they remain their sea colored Silver tint, turning redder and darker as they begin to spawn and decay (The candle apple Silver I took earlier had not yet spawning, but his bright colors indicated that he was no longer “fresh”).  Anyway, we found plenty of Silvers, I took around seven and lost nearly a dozen, while Kent slammed more than twelve and missed very few.  We also hiked up a few creeks and found some Dollies, and I thought it was fun to fish for the occasional Sockeye Salmon that were deep into their spawning colors and rituals.
Sockeye Salmon
Kent and his snaky Dolly Varden
Bad news. Beavers dammed up part of the river, but we fished anyway. Kent is the man!
I took about four Sockeyes on a floating fly because they were so aggressive.  I should not forget to mention that given the temperature, exposure to the wind and water, varying twenty foot tide, shallow sand/silt bars, and potential boat engine failure, one could die rather easily on this trip.  Maybe not the "mere" forty mile section that we did, but even we had our close calls.  For this reason, there is survival gear, a satellite phone, emergency food and clothing, etc.  Nonetheless, we made it back alive and well, with an excellent array of fishing and sight seeing memories for someone falling in love with Alaska.  That night Kent’s wife Jill, made Crab wontons that are to die for.  I stuffed my tired and wind beaten face and then learned how to tie the flies we were using today with Kent.  I cannot begin to thank them for the trips and for letting me stay at their home.  Thank you guys!  
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous