June 16, 2011


Tomorrow Mike Mills and Kelly Vogel will begin the journey of a lifetime. They will first take a couple of ferries from Bellingham, WA to Glacier Bay, Alaska - and then begin the 3 month journey - via kayak - back down. Did we mention that they are paddling in kayaks THEY built? Yep. True story. A couple weeks back they were interviewed about the process of building their boats and their upcoming trip. You will find that interview below, along with images. Enjoy... and bon voyage Mike & Kelly!

How long did it take to build your kayaks?

We started at the beginning of November, and it took us about 4 months. And along the way, we planned for, mapped out, and geared up for the trip as well.

After spending that length of time building your kayaks, do you now wish you had both just purchased some boats instead?

Sure, part of us wishes we had just bought two... but now that they're done it's very satisfying. And when we are out there paddling, we hope it will feel very very satisfying!

What is a facet of the trip that you both find to be very exciting?

Well, we've been working hard for the whole year. Building the kayaks, getting everything squared away, portioning out food, route planning, etc. We're both very excited for the actual trip. We hope it will be freeing to finally be out there on the water... just paddling. Out in the wilderness where electronics and society are moot points.

What about the flipside, what challenges lie ahead?

We're hesitant about bears. We're bringing flares and bear spray, and we hope that we won't have any run-ins. Also, general navigating will be a challenging - but we're more excited for that!

Where will you be staying on your trip?

We'll be camping all along the way. Sometimes in national forests, or simply in spots along the shoreline. We have guidebooks and one has GPS coordinates of camping locations. We have planned as much as we can, though we're sure that weather and other circumstances will challenges us to change course along the way. So much of our trip is weather dependent.

How many people a year do this trip - down the Inside Passage?

It's not as commonly traveled as the PCT or Appalachian Trail or anything. But it's definitively known to Kayakers. We researched other people's blogs and communicated with some of them too. It's a pretty big commitment - and we're really excited for the adventure of it all. It's the pinnacle kayaking trip in North America.

The kayak kit's pieces are all laid out, ready to be put together.

Kelly works on the rudder of her boat.

Mike checks the sealing inside the kayak.

Nearing the end of the construction process.

The final boats, ready to be paddled from Alaska to Washington!


  1. In case anyone is interested in following the journey: chipsncake.blogspot.com.

  2. this is so exciting! i hope you guys give us a couple of status reports along the way!!!