Kayaking Icy Bay

15 07 2011

Nothing beats a day on Prince William Sound in the sunshine and flat calm. Add lots of wildlife and good friends = perfect kayak trip. We lucked out and it didn’t rain a drop the four days we spent in PWS (although a few times the skies threatened to). In the end, we got bits of sunshine everyday, that turned into a beautiful, hot, sunny last day of perfect paddling. We got dropped off on a beautiful, small peninsula full of icebergs between Nassau Fjord and Gaamaak Cove that, although buggy, made the beautiful camp. Within view of camp we had a pair of eagles nesting on one side, crows on the other, and could hear the kittiwake rookery.

Forest chillin’ on an iceberg in front of camp. We quickly set up camp, jumped into our boats, and headed to the kittiwake rookery in Gaamak Cove. Forrest, with his eagle eye, spotted some kittiwake chicks.We then headed away from camp, up the Icy Bay coast to check things out. I stumbled upon 4 baby river otter pups sitting on some rocks, which was an amazing find!Shannon and Deb had found a hidden waterfall earlier, so on the way back to camp Cathy and I decided to head in and check it out.

Our second day, we paddled into Nassau Fjord and Chenega Glacier. 

Shannon and Deb in front of a cool chunk of ice.Shannon and Deb watching Chenega Glacier.Gulls taking off an iceberg in front of Chenega Glacier.We saw quite a few seals on the iceflow on our way back to camp. This guy was pretty friendly.Oystercatcher.Our third day we had a young visitor near camp.We moved camp the third day to Dual Head, where our water taxi would pick us up late the next day. We needed water, and here we found two beautiful waterfalls and a crystal clear little inlet where we got water and purified it.Our campfire at Dual Head. We had an beautiful night there. We made smores over the fire, Shannon led us in some yoga stretches on the beach, then we got treated to two otters just barely off shore at high tide, diving down for food and chomping away for about two hours. They seemed just as interested in us as we were in them. You can barely see the dot of one of them above the bigger iceberg and to the left of the smaller iceberg. This was before they came in closer.Sunset with iceberg from Dual Head looking across to Verdant Island.Our last day paddling was pretty freakin’ sweet. Glass & hot.Forrest taking a snoozer 🙂My token shot of my boat & the scenery. The end of an amazing kayak trip.

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Packrafting Clearwater Creek

6 07 2011

Sunset Denali Highway.

The 50% chance of rain forecasted turned into 100% before we crawled out of the truck to start our 4th of July packraft trip. We started our trip with sights on packrafting the East Fork Susitna in the Clearwater Mountains off the Denali Highway. After a few hours of hiking in the driving rain, soaked to the bone, we set up the megamid at Grogg Lake, warmed up with hot tea, and changed our 25 mile hike, 36 mile packraft, 3 day trip heading west to the Susitna, to a 2 day,12 mile +/- hike and 15 mile packraft trip headed east to Clearwater Creek. 

Wildlife was abundant. Within a few miles we had a curious caribou approach us he came within 15 feet. Before we left the ATV trail for the tundra we had already seen 2 caribou and 1 red fox and 1 cross fox. Near Grogg Lake we ran into a decent size herd of caribou dancing across the tundra. Amazing to see, but in a driving rain, so no pics 😦

Will and Katie hiking above Grogg Lake. It seemed as soon as we made our decision to change route and shave a day off our trip the weather improved. Although we got a few moments of sun, it was mostly cloudy and rainy-but just the normal Alaska drizzle, not the driving rain leading up to Grogg Lake. However, over the mountains to the west it looked pretty stormy, making us feel better about our decision.

Dan descending to the Clearwater Creek valley.

Wildflowers were everywhere. We saw dozens and dozens of different varieties.

Dan anxious to get in his packraft. We had to wait for a few more miles before that could happen.

More wildflowers.

High tundra hiking. Dan, Katie, and Will headed towards the put in at Clearwater Creek. This trip had almost no bushwhacking! When we descended into the brush there were convienent moose trails leading us right to the creek.

Dan paddling down Clearwater Creek.

The creek itself is Class 1, with a very brief, and very easy Class 2 section. Perfect trip for people new to packrafting like Katie and Will.








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