Friday, January 27, 2017
Blue Highways of the Inside Passage - Part I
Paddling the Inside Passage changes people forever. Attempting it is bold. Completing it is remarkable. I stand in awe of those who have attempted or completed that task.
Living in Seattle I have the good fortune of being just a day’s drive from Port Hardy which is located at the north end of Vancouver Island. That allows me access to the Canadian Coast that most North American paddlers would die for. While I have paddled parts and pieces of the Inside Passage I lack the commitment that is required to do it from start to finish.
The planning and logistics of a trip of that magnitude are daunting and the time requirement can be tough to accommodate with our busy lives. The Canadian and Alaskan Pacific Coastline is probably a long way from your home. It certainly is for most North American paddlers so just getting to and from your put-in and take-out isn’t easy for most. It takes tremendous commitment from beginning to end and I suspect that this combines to make the Inside Passage trip a one-and-done sort of experience for many paddlers.
The IP is well established and serves as the primary route for all water craft with only minor variations that are focused on efficiency of staying on task. Little is mentioned about what lies just off the route by a day or of lesser-used parallel routes and from an efficiency standpoint that seems wise.
In 1982 William Least Heat Moon released the book “Blue Highways” which was his account of traveling around the United States using lesser used roads which, in the days of paper road maps, were blue in color. Avoiding the interstate highways/established routes his experience was enriched by traveling the “road not taken”. since it may be hard for you to return to this remote paradise consider incorporating some “Blue Highways” into your route planning. .………..just in case you don’t get back that way or you need fodder for planning another trip.
As Robert Frost once said:
I shall be telling with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.