March 1, 2018 update: Russell, Luke and Dave entered a short film about their adventure kayaking and skiing to Alaska from Prince Rupert, British Columbia, in the recent Paddling Film Festival. This is that movie documenting their journey:
Two months ago we wrote about three adventurers who planned to paddle kayaks from Prince Rupert, British Columbia to Skagway, Alaska with their skis. They’ve returned. Stephanie Brown catches up with their story.
After departing on their adventure on April 1st, 2017, the “Paddles and Planks” team of Russell Henry, David Moseley and Luke Spence have now returned home. The adventurers are from vastly different areas of the world and after this 800-kilometre trip they will part and go their separate ways for a while with Luke returning to Australia for a short time and David, originally from England, heading off on the next stage of his trip.
Despite uncommonly warm weather the trio did manage to get some skiing in but getting from the sea to the snow proved to be the hardest part of the entire adventure. At one point the uneven terrain caused David to break the binding on his ski. Luckily he was sent the replacement part at the next town they were in. “The hardest part was getting through the forest from the sea to the snow,” Russell says but David disagrees claiming, “Carrying the boats to and from the water every day was the hardest part.”
As they set out on their journey a stranger on the ferry up to Prince Rupert mentioned that some paddlers had tried to do a similar trip in the past and failed because the gear from the skis was too heavy for the boats. The Paddles and Planks men had not even paddled the kayaks with all the gear on them at this point and Luke still had never been in a sea kayak before. Needless to say they got onto that ferry in slightly higher spirits than when they got off and prepared to launch the kayaks with all of their gear for the next two months for the first time. Thankfully it all worked out and the boats could float.
That first difficulty out of the way, they then spent the next two months paddling through some of the most beautiful and pristine wilderness in search of adventure. Leaving the coastline behind and clambering up through what David called “a giant game of pick up sticks,” in the form of fallen trees, the three searched out untouched mountainous regions for backcountry skiing; and they found them.
Despite the challenges such as treacherous terrain, moments of disagreement and heavy boats the trip was a success. Russell, who once paddled from the Amazon to Florida, says he enjoyed some of the most amazing sights he’d ever seen. There were many highlights including paddling past glaciers, standing on top of a snow-capped mountain and looking down at a clear stretch of coastal islands, spending two months with fellow adventurers and making a documentary film about it.
The Paddles and Planks crew will be entering their film into a few festivals this coming year. For more about their adventure, log on to paddlesandplanks.com.