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kayaking among glaciers

Naples, FL
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kayaking among glaciers

We're planning a 3 week trip to Alaska next summer, and one of the things we would like to do is kayak among glaciers. I've heard that the Columbia glacier in Prince William Sound is the most spectacular, but I'm wondering if the logistics of getting to Valdez is worth it. How would Glacier Bay or Kenai compare (we'll definitely spend several days on th Kenai Peninsula)? Although we have a lot of time, we're planning 4 days in Denali, and I thought we'd start in Sitka and Juneau, and I don't want to feel like we're in transit the whole trip. Maybe skip Sitka/Junea?

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hollister, Ca
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1. Re: kayaking among glaciers

We just got back from our 19 day Alaska adventure. We spent 9 days in the Kenai Peninsula, cruised SB and then the rest on Vancouver Island.

The Kenai is absolutely beautiful and has sooooo many things to do. We stayed 2 nights in Girdwood (Snow Raven Condos)LOVED THEM, 3 nights in Homer(Lands End) and3 nights in Seward (Holiday Inn Express). I could have easily spend another week in the Kenai and felt that we drove past many things I would have liked to stop and enjoy. We did Bear Watching with Hallo Bay, 9hr. Kenai Fjords Tour, and all day kayak to Aialik Glacier. All three trips were wonderful. Many close-up encounters of whale, eagles and bears. It was wonderful.

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2. Re: kayaking among glaciers

Logistics of getting to Valdez? Why not paddle from Whittier to Valdez and then take the ferry back?

71

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seward
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3. Re: kayaking among glaciers

Hey itakepix, I thought I would drop you a note since you asked about kayaking among glaciers. As an owner and operator (AllensAlaskaAdventures.com) I have spent a wee bit of time playing in Alaska. Three areas in this great state have stoked me. 1 Rudyurd Bay, (Misty Fjords). HUGE cliffs. Awesome scenery! 2. Harrieman Fjord (PWS) A little off the beaten path. Perfect for the person that like's not too many others around. Harrison Lagoon cabin is nearby for refuge from the rain. 3. NW Fjord (Kenai Fjords). The best kept secret in Kenai Fjords Park. Rugged, raw, pristine. As a local company put it, Remote, pristine and rarely visited, Northwestern Fjord in Kenai Fjords National Park is truly one of the world's most remarkable sea kayaking destinations. Every time I visit it I am refreshed anew! As a friend who was raised around here put it "Aialik Bay is cool, Northwestern Fjord is Majestic". If you want the best.... If you do not want 20 others around.... Well, you get the picture... Google it! Take care... BoatAk

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fti
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4. Re: kayaking among glaciers

I know what you mean about not feeling like you are "in transit" the whole trip. That is why I generally spend at least three nights in each place I go where the destination is. Of course I make exceptions to that sometimes.

When you say "skip Sitka/Juneau" do you mean skip SE Alaska entirely? That is a possibility for sure. I guess it depends on what else you have planned. With three weeks though, you could certainly see some of SE Alaska and then fly to Anchorage and see some of south central AK.

If you do go to Juneau, it is relatively easy to get to Glacier Bay from there. My first trip to Glacier Bay was on a cruise ship just for most of a day. I knew I wanted to go back there for a longer time so I spent 3 days there in July 2008. It was excellent. Though I only took the day tour of Glacier Bay operated by the park service concessionaire, quite a few people kayaked. The day tour boat drops off and picks up kayakers en route. It seemed like a fascinating way to see Glacier Bay for 2-3 days.

That is not to take away from the other areas mentioned for kayaking. I took the NW Fjords boat tour two months ago from Seward and someone was dropped off for a longer kayak trip. As was mentioned above, for Kenai Fjords, it definitely is a less-visited area and just incredibly beautiful.

Look at your entire itinerary. If you can make it to Glacier Bay, I would personally do that. If not, lots of options in PWS and Kenai Fjords.

I like your idea of 4 days in denali (not sure if you mean 4 nights or 3 nights). Depending on where you are staying, four nights can be better. That gives you three full days in the park. If you are staying near the park entrance, you can get a 3 day bus ticket and only pay for 2 days. If you are staying at Tek or Wonder Lake campground, your camper bus or Tek bus ticket will get you on the buses inside the park at an even lower cost.

John

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portland, oregon
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5. Re: kayaking among glaciers

Not sure if your interest in kayaking amongst glaciers is for a multi-day kayak camping trip or a single day trip. I just returned from a two week trip and the highlight was a 3nt 4day kayak trip in Harriman Fjord of PWS. We were water taxied out of Whittier to a drop off point about 10 miles from the fjord and picked up 4 days later. There are several tidewater glaciers in the fjord and the scenery is breathtaking. It's important to note that this area probably receives 200+ inches of precip a year, so one has to be prepared for rain, though the wonderful folks at PWS Kayak Center have bullet proof rain gear, and everything else you need, for rent; plus they are very helpful. We had experience with multiday canoe trips in BC and MN, but had never sea kayaked before, but found the adaptation to be easy. PWS Kayak Center also offers guided single-day kayak trips to a tidewater glacier in Blackstone Bay, if that's more what you're interested in.

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Naples, FL
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6. Re: kayaking among glaciers

thanks for your reply - we're getting very excited about our trip. Where did you start the kayak trip to Aialik Glacier?

Naples, FL
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7. Re: kayaking among glaciers

We hadn't thought of that - how long would it take? Seems very long.

Naples, FL
7 posts
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8. Re: kayaking among glaciers

thanks! I'll definitely check it out.

Naples, FL
7 posts
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9. Re: kayaking among glaciers

thanks for the info. I was thinking of single day trips, but maybe we should consider multi-day. Was your trip guided, or were you on your own? We do like to camp.

Naples, FL
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10. Re: kayaking among glaciers

Thanks, John. I just made our plane reservations, and we have 3 nights to spend in the Juneau area, so we could go to Glacier Bay. In any case, we'll definitely go to Kenai Fjords, based on all the TA feedback I've received.

We'll have 4 nights and 3 days in Denali, probably at Wonder Lake, which should be a good way to end our trip. Then the train back to Anchorage and fly home (to Boston, ugh) the next day.

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