A semi-coherant collection of ramblings,misdealings, and Tom Foolery experienced in pursuit of Great Lakes Steelhead.
Friday, May 10, 2013
The Situk Series...Travel and Arrival
Well I'm back. Have been for a few days. Four to be exact but honestly I am just starting to recover from the entire ordeal. The Jet Lag had left me exhausted. I don't travel well on planes. I'm not built for the sardine can conditions and I'm far to fruegal to even consider Business Class so I am left to suffer through it all. Since I have been home I have yet to unpack aside from the clean clothes sniping from the suitcase I have been doing every morning prior to scambling late out the door for work. The grass decided it was time to explode when I was away and I have cut it twice in the 4 days I have been back. I know alot of people have been eagerly awaiting the epic tale and to be quite honest I haven't had it in me to muster up the creative energy to put the pen to paper. For the past three nights I have been going through photo's and setting some aside for the blog. This in itself is an undertaking and I have already logged 4-5 hrs sorting and editing and still have a fair amount of time ahead of me yet. It's a lot easier when I only have a days adventure to go through but an entire weeks efforts over 3 different cameras is a little overwhelming to say the least. I contemplated a few different approaches to documenting the trip and really hadn't landed on any one of them. Tonight I thought I better just get something up here and get the ball rolling and just see where it goes. Norlands been on my ass so...here it goes...
The much anticipated trip began with a series of flights that saw us overnight in Juneau before an early rise to catch the morning flight into Yakutat. The snow was falling hard in Juneau when we arrived at the airport in the morning and seriously began to accumulate on the runway to the point that our flight was delayed and planes were circling overhead waiting for a break in the weather and the ground crews to dress the runway. We finally got away an hour or so behind schedule and made the short 30min jump up to Yakutat and fair weather skies.
The flight up the coast was breathtaking. Every river and estuary along the coast was clearly visible. Before we knew it we were flying over Yakutat and out towards Mt St Elias where we made the turn and began to come in for a landing. The view over Yakutat Bay and the town was spectacular. I had studied the geography to some extent via maps and Google earth and could easily identify the landmarks I had previously learned about. Before we knew it we were exiting the plane onto the tarmac and making our way towards the terminal.
Once inside our hosts were eagerly awaiting us holding a sign with our names on it. They quickly shuttled us and our gear over to the lodge and I went with another gentlemen to the leasing company to get our wheels for the week. Within 20mins we had our transportation, our gear unloaded and staged in the lodge, and were sitting down for a hot lunch, beer and orientation. I was impressed by how easy it was to get situated. After lunch we loaded the gear in the van and made our way down to the bay and our awaiting cabin for the next 7 days.
The ride to the cabins was about 15 mins from the main lodge. Yakutat Lodge owns a 5-6 acre parcel on the bay that has approximately 10-12 housekeeping cabins on it as well as their own dock out into the bay. We had cabin #3. The accommodations were decent. A newer log style cabin with two sleeping areas, a bathroom and a kitchen. It was clean, dry, and warm and cozy...all we needed for a weeks fishing.
We quickly unpacked our gear and got settled in. After a few cold beers we rigged up the rods for an afternoon walk in session up at the bridge. The 9 mile ride up to 9 mile bridge was amazing. The road is lined with giant Sitka Spruce and a mountainous panoramic backdrop.
We stopped a few times to marvel at the mountains and gather up some images before finally reaching the infamous 9 mile bridge.
There were a fair amount of parties camping on the Forest Service sites and we were quite surprised considering the amount of snow that still lined the forest floor. Scott and I ventured up river in search of fish while Red stayed back and fished the bridge.
We managed to find a pod of 12-15 fish a half mile or so up river and convinced three of them to hand prior to dropping back down to meet up with Red. He had better luck and turn 4 from the giant deep hole.
From the bridge you could faintly make out images of the Steelhead as they moved in and around the hole. It was full of fish as I have often read over the years and we logged that for the memory bank and upcoming days. It was now getting later in the evening and we decided to double back to the cabin and get geared down for a late dinner.
The forecast for Monday was another sunny day so we decided it best to book our Halibut charter for the morning and take advantage of the fair weather day for the Ocean.
After dinner we settled in to the cabin for a few beers and laughs prior to calling it a night. The extensive travel had time change had everyone quite exhausted.