2009 Alaska Trip

In the summer of 2009 I spent 2.5 months in Alaska and western Canada. This was, and still is, by far the best trip I’ve ever been on. I’m writing about this now (and hope to write about the other significant trips I’ve been on) because this blog didn’t exist three years ago, because I don’t want to forget this stuff and it can be nice to look back on things with new perspectives.

Anyways, the focus of the summer was on four long kayak trips, scattered along the coast from BC to central Alaska and covering about 850 miles total:

Gwaii Haanas, BC: 260 miles

Glacier Bay, Alaska: 300 miles

Resurrection Bay, Alaska: 75 miles

Afognak Island, Alaska: 210 miles

These were linked as a road trip, and I also did hiking, backpacking, biking and kayaking at various places in the interior. Total kayaking for the trip was about 900 miles.

To get it out of the way now, this trip ended badly. On the drive back south, in the Rockies of northern BC, I rolled my car over, totaling it, losing the kayak and a few grand in other gear, and got a subdural hematoma, a pooling of blood at the surface of the brain. Most people who get subdural hematomas in accidents are killed by them. For two days after the accident I was apparently conscious but unaware of the accident. After that I regained my senses, spent a few days in the hospital and a month recovering at my Mom’s house. After that I was fine.

I’d like to blame myself for this accident, but I can’t. Doing so would give me something to focus on and improve and make sure it can’t happen again. But near as I can tell this accident was random (I have no memory from an hour before the accident until two days later), with no red flags or steps I could have taken to reduce the odds of this happening. With all the risky things I do it’s a bit unnerving that my closest brush with death was from happenstance.

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