The Higman-McKittrick family from Seldovia is making progress on its 800-mile journey around Cook Inlet. Bretwood Higman and his wife, Erin McKittrick, looked a little worn when they arrived in Homer earlier this week, fresh off a hiking trip around Kachemak Bay from Seldovia. After a short layover, however, they were ready to pack up and continue onward.
Although the family has taken on long adventures before, including a two-month trek across Malaspina Glacier last year, Higman says he wasn’t sure how the children – four-year-old Katmai and one-year-old Lituya – would fare on this trip.
"We were a little surprised by the winter blizzard we had about a week ago but ... it's been going really, really good," said Higman.
The family is making its way by both walking and packrafting – on a pair of small, inflatable rafts that they carry in their pack. Higman says that sometimes, the weather makes it difficult to do either.
McKittrick talks about moving at “Katmai pace,” meaning the family walks only as fast as Katmai’s legs can carry him. But Katmai pace, she says, has so far turned out to be a good pace for all of them.
"If you have your schedule set up that way and you're not expecting to be fast, there are actually a lot of things you notice," she said.
For Katmai, the most exciting aspects of the trek are occasionally finding fossils and, more often – seeing wildlife.
Even little Lituya is having fun on the trip, although she spends much of the time riding with mom in a sling. Lituya says her favorite part so far is chasing bubbles on the beach.
The family spent a couple of days in Homer before departing from Bishops Beach Tuesday afternoon. In town, they were able to take care of some logistical issues, including arranging supply drops on the remote western side of Cook Inlet.
Travelling at their current pace, they should be in the Kenai area in a week or two. You can follow the family’s progress at their website, groundtruthtrekking.org.