A large framed picture adorns my cluttered office space. It is the picture above, while three kayak warriors camped at beautiful DeGroff Bay, during our amazing 2010 No Limits Destination Alaska Sea Kayak Expedition. Those who know me, probably know that I plant inspirational and meaningful images in my living and work areas. This surprising gift was compliments of wisdom from Henry David Thoreau and the kind thoughtfulness and checkbook of fellow kayaker, bungee jumper, adventurer and card carrying diabetic, Trever Alters. Trev joined guide Scott Harris (Latitude Adventures) and myself on the kayak journey that took us into some secluded waters of Alaska.
Trev and I had crossed paths, amazingly, through bungee jumping when my casa resided in Boise, Idaho. He understands that people with diabetes can lead incredible and adventurous lives. And he lives and breathes it (scuba diving in Puerto Rico in two weeks is another confirmation!). He was a key component to No Limits and our many unique events. Bungee jump and sky diving fund raisers, an adventure racing team, rock climbing, ultramarathons, it was a grand time. Henry David Thoreau sought to rise above common thought and ideas. He would have smiled at our lifestyles.
While I was stoked to receive a lasting memory of our incredible 4 day kayak journey near Sitka, Alaska, it was the Henry David Thoreau quote that made the gift primo.
"You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your element in each moment".
perfect. Thanks Trev.
A very non-scientific ratio that is in my notes from the trip and which I cannot prove or disprove, but I had noted that this year's weather was 234% better than the 09 trip of weather horror. Yes, we survived in 2009 and a bloody well yes, we had a good time but Miss Mother Nature was beasty at times.
This year the animals came out to play. Lots of them. This is Alaska! The critter log:
Grizzly Bears - 4
Eagles - vast quantity
Harbor Seal - at least 1
Mink - 1
Commorants - ok I am not a bird person so don't know the count
Sea Lions - a few of the big guys
Jelly Fish - enough for any horror film
Jelly fish touch contest - many close encounters
I set up the video cam to allow each person an opportunity to share their thoughts on the trip, life, diabetes, current girl fiascos, etc. It was just the cam and their thoughts meeting on the shore as daylight slowly faded.
Much after the trip, life settled a bit and I made way to view the footage collected from an excursion awash with excellent company, stories and many kodak moments.
Before the trip, Trever had shared that he was excited about kayaking and that he had wanted to come visit me and to see the Last Frontier. I knew that he had just returned from a trip from Hawaii and in the back of my mind I was slightly jealous of a summer that included Hawaii and Alaska. Little did I know....
As darkness crept foward and the sea slowly lapping the shoreline of DeGroff Bay, Trev would share his angle on life as a person with diabetes, Alaska, etc. The footage rolled forward but Trev took a left turn from his usual fun, optimistic, humorous mood. He would bare his emotions as he dug deep to share the recent loss of his brother Nate. Nate had been hit by a car on March 18, 2010. Trever had planned on visiting him in Hawaii in May or June but that would never happen. He made the trip despite Nate's passing, as a memorial. He spent most of his time in Hawaii hanging out with Drew, Nate's closest friend. The Alaska trip was good timing for Trev as he had to deal with Nate's death amongst other circumstances that made the year a challenge. It is my guess that Trever did not want to share the tough details of what he was going through so that it would not hover or drag down our trip.
My heart fell.
Photo by Scott Harris
In the 35 miles of sea that we paddled through, we explored a shipwreck, went snorkeling, beachcombing, exploring, ate some incredible feasts created by Scott, our great cook/guide, compiled footage for a future film, saw animals galore, managed to get growled at by a bear, tree climbing and absorbing information on diabetes and the great outdoors, in a classroom called Alaska.
We did our best at living in the present....
launching ourselves on every wave.......
finding our element in each moment..... May it continue for a life time.
Scott and I are working on our the next expedition which will be July 16-19 (with a possible extension to July 21). If you are interested and have diabetes or are involved in diabetes care please consider joining us. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.