Alone in Aialik

We are here, and we are online. So begins our winter adventure.

We shopped for food and materials in Anchorage on Monday, and drove to Seward Monday night, through rain and snow. Tuesday morning, the sky was clear. Kirk (lodge owner), Kevin (construction foreman), and Kyle (I don’t know his official title these days, but if you can’t reach Kirk, Kyle’s your man) arrived, and we loaded gear, food, and materials onto the boat. Jamie, Captain of the Weather or Knot, brought us all out to Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge.

09-kfgl-001.jpg“There was more snow here when we left in November,” said Kirk, Kevin, and Mike when we pulled up to the beach. Kirk and Kevin hopped off the boat and headed to the lodge site on foot, hoping to get a motorized vehicle (bobcat or 6-wheeler) up and running to help haul materials. We had skis, snowshoes, and sleds, and were prepared for any circumstances and conditions.

09-kfgl-002.jpgMeanwhile, Kyle, Mike, Jamie, and I unloaded the boat…

09-kfgl-005.jpg…and took in the scenery. Though the beach is snow-free, there is about two feet in the forested area at the lodge site, and Kevin did some plowing so the 6-wheeler could get out and about and do the hard work for us.

09-kfgl-003.jpgJust in case that plan didn’t pan out, we began hauling gear on foot. We walked with the sleds on the beach trail, then Kyle skied them back to the lodge. The 6-wheeler took care of the water jugs, propane tanks, and heavier tools and equipment. Lucky us!

09-kfgl-004.jpgJamie anchored the boat out in the bay and kayaked to the beach. He spent the night on the boat–brrr! Though he had a propane heater to warm the cabin up when he awoke, it’s not something to leave on all night–because there’s a risk of having an iceberg pull the boat off anchor, and then having the boat drift away.

We got systems ironed out and made plans for what Mike and I will try to accomplish in the next six weeks.

09-kfgl-006.jpgKirk, Kevin, Kyle, and Jamie left today, Wednesday, and we are here, alone in Aialik.

Categories: Alaska

5 replies »

  1. Thanks for sharing all of this with us! I get such wonderful vicarious enjoyment of your adventures. Tell me, how does one pronounce Aialik. I want to say “I-uh-lick,” as though I’m not sure if I lick something or not.

    I’m having a bit of trouble following the reasoning behind not burning the propane heater during the night on the boat. How does that affect whether an iceberg takes them off to sea? I suspect that an iceberg doesn’t much care whether there’s a propane heater burning in the cabin. (This is where Tomas would get really frustrated with me, because I can’t follow his line of reasoning and I have a strong need to understand. So I end up asking all sorts of questions when he believes the answers are obvious. Sometimes I’m a bit obtuse. Sometimes, though, I think his statements themselves are obtuse!)

    By the way, I love Weather or Not as the boat’s name.

  2. Tons of tea and cocoa, thanks. Tons of food in general.

    The propane heater is intended to be used “with supervision,” not one to be left on while sleeping–open flame, fumes, etc. That’s all. It’s not safe to leave it on.

    That’s a bad sentence. The heater bit is parenthetical, explaining the brrr! comment, and has nothing to do with Jamie needing to sleep on the boat because of icebergs.

    Aialik = eye-AL-ick

    Say “AL” like a nickname for Albert.

  3. Fantastic photos and captions! Wish Brother Calvin could access your Blog – he’d be awed too. Glad you’re safe there. I was curious about the propane heater thing too, but it makes sense now – thanks Shelly for asking. Millard and I read your Blog this morning before I got on the road back to Maryland. All is quiet here. Love ya, Dad/Dick