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Our forth day was the hardest. We left the Dawes Glacier and headed down to near Ford's Terror. Once we left camp we were committed to paddle a minimum of 15 miles before we would arrive at the first place large enough for us to camp. The katabatic winds were at our back for 5 or 6 of those miles and we enjoyed surfing the waves. The wind was blowing fairly hard and had created a pretty good chop on the water but since it was three quarters to our back we used it to our advantage. A moderately steady paddling stroke and the kayak would rise up and ride the waves. We were cruisin'! Even when we took a short break we could hold the paddle flat against the wind and it would act like a sail. What fun. Of course the wind wasn't always at our advantage but it was fun while it lasted.

Because we were paddling in a granite cliff fjord there were limited places where we could even get out of the water for even a short relief stop much less someplace to camp. Many of our potty stops only had space for one or two kayaks at a time to go ashore. We reached our initial destination (our first campsite option) after 15 miles of paddling and got out and stretched our legs. We then discussed the possibility of continuing on 5 more miles to the mouth of Ford's Terror (a.k.a. The Terror). We knew if we continued we would arrive at a pretty camping spot AND that we could stay two days without breaking camp.

The decision had to be unanimous and it was. We all voted to keep going and it was an emphatic positive vote with an explanation mark.


  All total we paddled 20 miles that day and we arrived to within a quarter mile of where we wanted to be at 7:30 pm but because of the tide flow we couldn't get to our final beach until nearly 9:30. It was after midnight before we got all of the gear and boats up to high ground, setup camp, ate dinner, hung the food in the bear hang and collapsed into our sleeping bags.

This motley crew had come of age. In just a few days we had become a team. We had come to understand one another, our weakness, and our strengths. No one looked for the chance to pick on another's weakness instead we all looked to pickup where another left off or to select another avenue of helping when our own ability and/or strength had run dry. There were no weak links on this team everyone gave, and shared, and laughed together. This eclectic group of city folk had come together and become a real working team.

The mouth of the Terror was the most beautiful of all of our campsites. We were fairly high above the water over looking the Terror, a tidal flat, 17 waterfalls within our 360-degree view, and snow capped peaks off in the distance. And then right on cue Yoggie and Boo Boo arrived. Yep, we saw several more bear. This time the bears came even closer but still they were well behaved.


Ford's Terror is a very narrow channel less than 100 yards wide at the narrowest point that runs about a mile and a half in length with granite cliffs that tower over head by as much as 4,000 feet. At the end of the Terror is a large body of water known as the "T" which is about 6 miles long by 1 1/2 miles wide. During tide changes all of the water in the T must flow through the Terror and we had tides that changed by as much as 17 feet. So just imagine 9 square miles of water 17 feet deep flowing through a channel 100 yards wide in just a few hours. THAT'S A REAL SHOW!!! and that's what we watched all of the next day as we mostly lazed around and enjoyed a "day-off."

List of other John & Patti adventures

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Last revised: December 15, 2007