Everyone that had said they would take part in this adventure with me has changed their mind. Many perfectly valid reasons have been given, and while I could - and will - write more about this later I think it boils down to this. For most, this is a new and slightly intimidating adventure. The first time you do a trip like this there are just so many variables. It is very easy to say to yourself, I can't do this Because.....
The list can be long. It is the reason that many people can say 'I have always wanted to do something like that!' but in fact they never do. Seth Godin writes about the lizard brain. The lizard brain wants us to be afraid because that keeps us safe. I have written before about the need to push personal boundaries, and I am sure that these dear friends of mine will, when the time is right. I have to stress I have known all the parties involved for years, and care very deeply for them all, and have, and will take part in adventures in the future with them. I have actually already spoken with one about a paddling trip in the fall or spring.
I owe a debt of gratitude to the people who are no longer going, because my responsibility to them made me do all the planning to get there myself. So as I contemplated going alone, I decided that was exactly what I was going to do. I started looking into a satellite phone rental and making changes to the food list. The biggest hurdle to going alone - besides the drive to Alaska alone, which I am not looking forward to - is that in camp everything that has to be done, has to be done by you. No one will help set up a tarp in the rain, or cook dinner. It's all on you. And it can be exhausting.
As I was making these plans I decided to send an email to a friend. A friend I hadn't seen since 2006. I work for a very well known outdoor school - though I haven't taught for them directly since 2009 - and on my instructor course I met a woman I became very good friends with. My nickname for her on this course was 'the rock star' because she was that good in a kayak. Far better than me at the time. At the end of the instructor course I mentioned I had always wanted to do the Inside Passage and would she be interested in doing it with me. Her response, in classic rock star fashion was that she would be bored. She wanted to do the 'outside passage' on the more exposed pacific coast. A route that didn't interest me.
I sent her an email explaining what had happened, and she replied that while normally she wouldn't be interested, my offer had landed at her feet at the perfect time. She would go. It took 72 hours for all the stars to align. There is now a new departure date, and some small changes in gear. She has paddled in the Petersburg area near where we will be so she has some experience in the area. Her lizard brain knows not to be afraid.
Today I purchased a ferry ticket for the 23rd of June. I won't be home for my birthday, but due to the earlier departure time - about a week - my wife can meet me in Skagway at the end of the trip. Which will be amazing.