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Thanks everyone at Great Alaska for treating my brothers to a great vacation!...
For the last five years that Taylor and I have worked here, we have been trying to find a 1-day trip from an upper refuge lake down the Moose River to KWL. KWL is situated at the southern end of the Swan Lake National Canoe Trail (one of only two national canoe trails in the United States), and we have successfully done the 3-day trip, which takes one through seven different lakes before the portage to the upper Moose River. But our boss Laurence John, who, like Taylor, has the mind of a modern day Lewis or Clark, had the great idea to find a 1-day trip to take our guests down in. So, with a break between groups of guests, we went a-huntin' for the next idea we had- Camp Island Lake.
Camp Island Lake supposedly (according to a 1986 map) connects to the Moose River. Many lakes supposedly connect with the Moose River, but a combination of enormous beaver dams and changing water channels nix that (we've tried all the other lakes, with no luck). So imagine our delight when I spotted a hidden, overgrown trail right where we were hoping one would be! And three bushwhacking miles later- the lake!
We returned the next day with an inflatable two-man kayak, our dog, and way too much enthusiasm. Although after the backpack broke that was holding the kayak, and the horseflies attacked, and we both sunk up to our thighs in mud, our spirits were dampened a bit. But not too much, as you can tell by my face: (insert Adalie here)
The plan was to paddle across the lake and find the river channel coming out of it. That we did with no problems. But we weren't counting on the river channel to be completely covered in water lilies, making it a chore to paddle through.
We pushed through it for over half a mile, but after our dog (wisely) abandoned ship, we pulled the boat to shore to scout it out on foot. We hiked another half mile or so, climbed an enormous beaver dam to better see the river, determined that the water lilies were thinning out, and that it could be paddled through. But when we got back to our kayak, we found that half of it was quickly deflating. Very quickly. So we hugged the shoreline and paddled for our lives across the mile-long lake, cursing the kayak the whole way. A quick swim later, we hiked back out to our truck.
Our spirits are hardly dampened by this setback. Although this route has been wisely determined to be not (yet) client worthy, we're going to find a 1-day trip! Lewis and Clark got frostbite and were shot at trying to find the Pacific, Henry Hudson died trying to find his mythical northwest passage, and we'll go so far as to get blisters to find our route down the Moose!
Other than that, we are having fun, meeting lots of new guests and can't wait to meet you!
With our first guests on their way, we are busy putting the finishing touches on KWL. The tents are all set up, and look really lovely tucked among all the aspen and black spruce. When the sun shines through the trees, it makes the tents almost glow, and Taylor and I get all excited for the season to begin!
The camp is situated on a small hill above the Moose River, and our ears become incredibly sensitive to all the noises that float up from the river (one time we woke up because we heard people whispering in their canoe as they nearly silently paddled past). On hot days (around 70 degrees) the moose mosey on into the shallow water to eat the weeds and cool off. They are so noisy that it's impossible to miss hearing them, and we always run down to the dock to watch. We have probably done this hundreds of times, but it never gets old.
A couple of years ago Taylor built us a small log-and-fiberglass greenhouse, and it's become one of our favorite places to sit on warm days. We found the door for it on an old abandoned cabin way out in the woods, and the moose antlers in front are a gift from our Bear Camp friends. We filled it with flowers last year, and it was such a success that we're headed out today to buy this year's crop of flowers. Looking at this picture of an especially nice day from last season makes me impatient for it again this year!
See you soon,
Hi everyone! The new summer season has arrived, and Taylor and I are starting to open up the lodge and get everything ready to go. Because the only reasonable access to KWL is by a boat ride up the Moose River, we are completely dependent on the river for everything. The water level drops to about 1/2 of an inch in the winter, and then takes it's sweet time filling back up again in the spring.
So, almost every day this time of year, Taylor and I take our trusty Go-Devil (just like a Louisianna swamp boat) upriver to check the water level. This means we drive up till we get stuck, jump into the muck, push the boat free, and note how much progress we made since the last attempt. It's so nice to be on the river again that we never mind getting stuck. Here is Taylor, taking one for the team while I sit in the nice, dry boat and take pictures:
We store everything inside the lodge for the winters, which pretty much fills the building to the top. I love when we first get to see KWL each year, where we walk around and see how everything fared, what changed, and what new animals have moved in (for instance, this year, we have a new resident porcupine). See if you can spot the wall tent's frame among all these trees:
So it looks like a good year has started, and we are both so excited to be running SafariCamp again!
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