2023 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 6, Day 10 Karta Lay Day | NW Explorations
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2023 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 6, Day 10 Karta Lay Day

Karta Bay has crab! Nate checked his pot he set yesterday afternoon when we anchored, he caught eight male crabs, five of which were bigger than the legal size! Other boats in the fleet had a similar experience so Deception pulled out the big crab cooker and were very busy. While cooking crab on the back deck, an eagle lifted off from its perch and glided by. The morning unfolded as a beautiful day, perfect for our planned hike to Little Salmon Lake. Everyone in the entire fleet was keen to hike through a wilderness Rain Forest so we started up the trail at 11:00 a.m.

The trail follows Karta River through an old forest of spruce and hemlock trees draped with thick mats of moss and lichen. The rippling sounds of the river are punctuated with splashing fish pushing past obstacles in the river. Ravens raucously announce our presence as if to warn all other creatures and kin. The trail follows the same elevation, but the going is slow because it isn’t maintained, and the footing can be somewhat challenging. We were in no hurry, so we took our time and made our way to the waterfall. The falls are composed of angular rocks that form small pools that require the salmon to jump a series of pools to reach the top. They pile up in traffic jams awaiting their turn, relentlessly attempting the obstacle course.

One salmon jumped into a shallow pool without an outlet. James from Theresa ventured out onto the rocks, scooped up the salmon and gently returned it to the main stream. This is a good place to spot bears because the fish are so plentiful and easy to catch but our group only saw partially eaten salmon carcasses that had been left behind. We continued up to Little Salmon Lake, a serine clear lake with a few water lilies and surrounded by areas of submerged grasses and forests of trees. Here we rested, had a snack and water when Chris and his son Sean decided the lake looked inviting enough for a swim. The rest of us followed suit and enjoyed a refreshing dip.

The other group did see a bear briefly fishing at the falls as it walked down out of the forest, without effort, scooped up a fish and immediately returned to a more private place in the forest grasping its prize in its jaws. Later, while being ferried back to our boats, our group had our chance to view a bear walking along the forested shore. What an extraordinary opportunity to walk into the untamed wilderness and experience nature in its raw form.

Once back aboard, we settled in for our evening meal, sure to include fresh crab on the menu. Tonight is flat calm with the occasional splash of a jumping salmon and a full moon reflecting across the still water reminding us to be grateful.

Today was our last day in the wilderness, tomorrow our destination will take us to Ketchikan where we will spend our final night aboard the boats. But before we disperse, we will gather once more to socialize, watch a slide show including photos from the entire trip and laugh and remember these extraordinary experiences.

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