Sunday, June 8, 2014

Day 2 - 3: Eight Fathom Cabin

Mr. X got a good sleep-in and I read and wandered around the island. After a late breakfast of oatmeal, we set off toward the Eight Fathom Bight six miles up inlet. Mr. X really wanted to find water and I somehow convinced him that we should just head to our destination and we'd find water along the way.

We battled a head wind again and were frustrated that anytime we stopped paddling we would lose precious ground we had just paddled past. We passed dozens on eagles in trees and eventually Mr. X found his water. We also found a raging waterfall.

Eventually we crossed into glassy water as we neared Eight Fathom Bight. The rising tide drew us closer to the Eight Fathom Cabin and we watched two humpbacks troll the waters.

Once we landed on the beach, I set my priorities: food in cabin, boats secured, then gear. Mr. X set his: outhouse, more water. He set off with the bucket to find a stream near the cabin, I handed him the bear spray. We unpacked, laid some things out to dry and then set about starting the stove.

Thankfully someone had left kerosene in the reservoir and Mr. X got the stove started. We read in the cabin log that they stove is terrible and everyone wishes they would switch to wood. We never got a "blue" flame, but we were able to get the cabin up to 72 degrees, eventually.

The time in the cabin was supposed to be a rest day. And rest we did. We walked only about 1/4 mile up the old logging road and then spent our time reading, eating and sleeping. Our read-aloud for this trip was Farley Mowat's The Boat That Wouldn't Float. The next day, a forest service crew came by while we were drying laundry and complemented Mr. X on his stove lighting skills. The crew confirmed that they are trying to get the stove converted to wood, but it's in process (honestly, I had googled Eight Fathom Cabin and seen the grant request from last year and had seen that the request was cancelled).

I wished we would have brought popcorn and marshmallows for entertainment, but we didn't want to have to carry them through bear country, so maybe next time.

The cabin had a double camp chair and a chair on the deck so we could relax comfortably. Some people have also left air mattresses, but we didn't use those. I think the cabin could benefit from some card games. There is a double and single bunk downstairs and no bunks or platforms upstairs.

We enjoyed our morning at the cabin watching the whales come back for more herring and three sitka deer on the mud flats.

We learned that there was a water source up the trail from the cabin, but we definitely agreed that the water from the creek was sweeter.

The outhouse for the Eight Fathom Cabin is "open concept". Apparently, it took them time to built the privacy wall and glad we waited to visit until that was finished even if it is still open air.

There are deadlocks on the cabin doors, which I like seeing as all the remote cabins are being made handicap accessible, which to me actually means no thumb necessary.

Eight Fathom Cabin was built using "Recovery" money in 2010. The Forest Service hired a local wood mill, Icy Strait Lumber to provide the wood and kit, and the cabin was fully assembled in downtown Hoonah. Then the cabin was barged to Eight Fathom Bight where the cabin was carefully unloaded and placed on the foundation. It was amazing to see the pictures of them sliding the cabin off the barge and onto its foundation. It's a solid building.

Nine miles up an old logging road from the Eight Fathom Cabin is the remote Neka Hot Springs, which we've now heard is pretty fun. We didn't make the hike, in part because - heck, this was a rest day - and also we didn't even bother bringing real shoes on this trip. We only had our water shoes and some generic crocs. The Forest Service Crew was heading up to the hot springs tub to do maintenance and to brush the trail. We told them our plans and they gave us some recommendations without discouraging us. They also were a little curious about why we hadn't hiked around, and the ranger answered his own question, "Well, I guess it's a little scary seeing bear sign, especially when you see big scat and little scat together, Mama and cub." Uh, yeah, I guess we hadn't gone even that far.

In the early evening, Mr. X started packing up. With the wind that we had had getting to Eight Fathom, he was concerned that we would have trouble with the rest of the trip and the ranger had said that Tenakee Inlet is often worse weather-wise because it's straighter than Port Frederick. As a result, Mr. X decided we needed to leave one high tide early...which is how we ended up doing a "midnight assault" on the portage.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love comments.