|photo: erin feinblatt |surfer: nico fanjul |location: yakutat, alaska
The weather forecast looked too good to be true. A day of blue skies and sunshine in Southeastern Alaska is rare enough no matter what time of year it is. 4 days of it in a row, in late September is unheard of. I think everyone on the Yakutat trip would agree; we definitely made the most of it. After a week in Yakutat with a great crew of friends from around the world, we were all soaring on Alaska’s unique type of adventure buzz.
Fishing our brains out every day during the annual Coho (Silver) Salmon run when the tide was high and surfing the local breaks like Cannon Beach, Boilers and Graveyards when the tide was low. If we weren’t ripping lip or surfing, we went deep-sea fishing for halibut and checked out the Hubbard Glacier, the largest calving glacier in North America. We took small planes to explore remote rivers, partied around a massive bonfire (Thanks Dan!), camped on a deserted island and surfed beneath snowcapped peaks.
Captivated by the abundance of fish pouring into the rivers and how alive and active the entire eco-system becomes when they arrive. In-between wrestling the hard fighting salmon in drift boats, on shore, or waist deep in the river, we watched bald eagles and grizzly bears descend upon the local rivers and beaches to feast on the plentiful fish. I definitely spent a bit of time looking over my shoulder as we walked along the riverbanks carrying our daily catch, hoping the bears already got their fill.
Our base camp was a retired Alaskan senator and legendary big game hunter named Ken Fanning’s Yakutat Lodge. A no nonsense type of place that provides basic accommodations, has a few drift boats, a couple of sturdy outboards and a bush plane that can land almost anywhere to explore the surrounding wilderness, rivers, bays and beaches. He’s also got a crew of the best fishing guides around. The small 1960’s era cabin that holds Yakutat Lodge’s bar and restaurant is located right on the tarmac at Yakutat’s airport and is, by far, the coolest airport bar we’ve ever been to.
What else can we say? It was a dream trip with a great group of friends. We scored really fun waves, loaded our freezers with fresh salmon and halibut and filled our heads and hearts with friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. A big mahalo to everyone who was a part of it!