The gentle drizzle of the northern temperate rainforest taps lightly on the rooftop above as the wood stove in the Sunny Cove sauna begins to ignite with fire and warmth. Carefully split kindling and larger pieces are stacked near, and ready to be added to the growing flames to encourage the moisture out of the damp kayaking equipment from today's Grand Day tour.
Living in the most northern part of the great temperate rainforest of North America has many advantages - rich forest ecosystems, diverse animal life, beautiful dense greenery, and plentiful sweet blueberries to name a few. The effect of kayaking in a fjord that receives over 70 inches of rain a year is that somehow, sometimes, some things get wet! With this added moisture it's important to make sure gear is dry for clients to use the following days. For wet days Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking guides fire up the wood stove heated sauna to dry equipment in the evenings after trips.
This year's sauna wood comes from a Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis) that came down in a wind storm late last summer, completely destroying our carport, and missing our gear storage building (the Yak Shack) by just a couple of inches. When nature provides such an event one can take it as a disaster (busted carport) or seize it as an opportunity (wood for the sauna). The Sunny Cove team made quick work of trimming the branches and then bucking up the trunk into rounds to be split later after the wood dried out. The wood stove sized rounds were then set aside underneath a tarp to dry out and season over the coming winter, spring, and summer for use this year and the next.
Getting the wood stove going takes little more than fire making skills, and some dry split locally harvested timber. Once the stove is roaring the sauna quickly heats up to over 115 degrees F and will remain that temperature with a little stoking of the fire; in the meantime gear is hung and dispersed to dry. By the evening nearly everything is ready to come out, and returned bone dry to the Yak Shack.
So the next day you come join us on a beautiful rainy day in Seward, Alaska, just remember, that everything eventually dries out with a little heat and a lot of love.