SCALE, A SEA KAYAKER’S PERSPECTIVE IN ALASKA

Cape Decision Alaska, Photo By Beau Gaughran

Words by Ken Campbell

Distances work differently up here, especially on the water. You might think you are only a mile or two away from that island over there, you might think you can paddle over in 20 minutes, maybe half an hour. It happens all the time. Two or three hours later, you are still paddling towards that same point and the island doesn’t feel like it’s getting any closer.

Photo by Beau Gaughran

It’s the scale of everything that makes Alaska feel different. Everything really is bigger here. There are five thousand-foot peaks within a mile of salt water, ancient trees towering over the beaches, layers of wild scenes on all sides. And, just as important, there aren’t any buildings, no roads or electrical towers, none of the things that we rely on most of the time as indicators of size and distance. When they are not there, that’s when you realize just how big everything else can really be.

 

Photo by Ken Campbell

That’s part of the reason to come here. A different perspective, a way to view yourself against a completely different backdrop. And it’s impossible not to experience the place from the water. In fact, it doesn’t take long before you start to feel like you might actually be some sort of marine mammal after all. The water is how you get from place to place and how you move across the miles.

Even if the miles do go by a lot more slowly.

Photo by Ken Campbell