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haidagwaii KEITH KLAPSTEIN FRANK WOLF KEITH KLAPSTEIN


Highs and Lows in Haida Gwaii


From paddling for dear life to sheer relaxation, it’s the emotional extremes that define an expedition, says FRANK WOLF of his 2005 circumnavigation of the QUEEN CHARLOTTE ISLANDS.


into rippled water and my muscles fell into rhythm. As we moved out from the safety of the cove, we knew we were in for it. Dark sentries of swell marched steadily across the exposed mouth, growing like anthills under time-lapse photog- raphy. The forecast called for a huge northwest sea of three to four metres, with waves up to twice as big on the faces. When I’d planned the circumnavigation of Haida Gwaii five months earlier in


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a skid row diner in Vancouver, I envisioned a journey that would take me away from the crawling city and bring me face to face with raw nature, far from help or hindrance. I wanted to go to a place where I was a mere speck of dust, something that could be absorbed in an instant without the surrounding ecosystem missing a beat. Now the bleak thought squeezed into my brain, “Frank, you should be careful what you ask for.” We had holed up in Mike Inlet for the afternoon, hoping the building seas


would calm. The 4 p.m. forecast on the VHF didn’t bring the news we wanted. But with only six kilometres to go—a mere six kilometres!—we chose to push on to Puffin Cove anyway.


Y HAND CURLED comfortably around the paddle shaft, a month’s worth of calluses finding their place for another evening’s work. The blade bit


Adventure Kayak ||


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