Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kayak Glacier Camping Adventure – Kenai Fjords NP

Fri, we rented kayaks and had a water taxi take us 2 hrs. to Aialik Bay by the Kenai Fjords. We kayaked to 3 Glaciers & camped 2 nights. First we dropped off Mike’s dog, Mia, to be boarded then headed to Millers Landing. Arriving by 5:30am, but did not leave till 7am; things just take longer in AK.

On the boat we saw orcas, thin wales, humpback whales, sea lions, Dahl porpoises; very amazing and hard to capture on camera. We lucked out w/ a sunny day. We kayaked an hr. to Aialik Glacier. There were tons of birds and I appreciated the sounds of the waves.

When we took a break, we realized the 10-liter water container had completely leaked inside the kayak, Luckily Mike brought water tablets, found a waterfall, duct taped the container shut, and we were set.

I pushed us off shore w/ no socks or shoes in 20 something deg glacier water; I can’t believe I am doing this. Within 2ish hrs. we got to Peterson Glacier, where we camped. I knew we could only enter and exit the glacier by high tide, but did not know that also goes for the campsite. Lots of lessons learned today! We were 4 hrs. early. We did a rocky, wet landing then waited in the sun and saw a bear from afar. Had a very close bear encounter by campsite, which I am posting separately as this is getting too long.

It rained at night and awoke to lots of fog. Have to leave via kayak near high tide, but did not make it. So we kayaked to the glacier again to get closer. Then packed everything up, walked it over the hill to the ocean to exit as we entered, not the proper way. 2 hrs. to kayak to our next glacier and campsite at Holgate, no concerns with high tides! The next day is our last day and getting picked up by 4pm.

Headed to Holgate Glacier at 10am, made it in 1hr 10 mins. I had to kayak the whole time barefoot b/c my shoes got wet when entering the kayak and did not want to have wet socks.

We packed our gear and waited in the one dry spot by the bear box under a tree. We waited 2 hrs.! Thankfully Mike rented satellite phone. After 3 long attempts we got through. The captain did not see our names in the book and totally forgot us. He would be here at 8pm. The park had a cabin that is rented out, so we headed there knowing people we there. They took us in and we chatted while warming up.

The 28 yr old captain felt so terrible and embarrassed. It’s a family own business and his dad’s 61st bday. We got in by 10pm, they fed us pizza, bday cake, margaritas, gave us tokens to take showers, do laundry, and a free cabin stay. Overall it worked out. I was wet and cold all day and looked forward to being home in dry clothes.  It is funny to say “home” b/c that changes every day. Sometimes I don’t know where my home is that day.

Click here for more pix.

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