This is the 3rd trip I was able to knock off of my list.  And the actual planning of the trip was all done by my kayaking partner in crime, Joe.  He had already gotten it in his mind that he wanted to do a trip to Alaska, and I said, "When do you want to go?"  He sent me a couple of outfitter web sites he researched and told me that he favored Anadyr Adventures. 

I checked it out and agreed.  From what I saw, they used good equipment, knew the natural history of the area and in my opinion, most importantly, they cater more to someone like me who is interested in immersing myself in the environment and not just taking a one day touristy trip.  They specialize in the longer trips that you get to really know the environment.

Below is the basic trip we chose along with the costs.  In actuality, the guides accommodate the group, the weather and other factors and customize the trip accordingly. 

 

Cost

The base cost of this trip is $ 2,295 (circa 2003). This includes the outfitter cost, and airfare. Obviously, the airfare could range depending on time frame, but this is probably a very fair estimate. Also, Anadyr will cook for their guest or you can get a plain trip without food. My advice is to get the package including the food. It's well worth the price. I was surprised how good the salmon chowder and curry chicken were!

As far as gear is concerned, Anadyr will provide you with most of the specialized gear. The only thing you really need to have is the proper clothing and a sleeping bag. Any outdoor enthusiast probably has most of what would be needed. For a beginner, it might cost up to $600 on the high side to start from scratch with new wool, polypro and fleece clothing, socks and base layers. Personally, I feel some specialty items like head lamps and rashguards are essential.

Outfitter:

$1495

Airfare:

$800

Food:

$0
Gear:
$0 - 600
Total:
$2,295 ($2,895)

 

Itinerary

Glacier Island to Columbia Glacier to Valdez

DAY 1 Meet at the office of Anadyr Adventures for a pre-trip safety briefing and equipment fitting. Load boats on our specialized water taxi and sit back to enjoy. The boat ride out to Chamberlain Bay on the south side of Glacier Island is perhaps one of the most beautiful in the Eastern part of Prince William Sound. Once in the bay we will organize our equipment, pack the boats and begin our expedition. Our next destination: Bull’s Head, made famous for the enormous Stellar Sea Lion colony that inhabits the area. Learn from your guides all about these friendly aquatic creatures as you will see first hand the way they play, fight and frolic on the rocks. On the paddle back toward the beach where we will be camping, keep a close eye out for the Horned and Tufted Puffins that have colonized the same area.

Once on our beach, one of the most beautiful and secluded on Glacier Island, we will set up camp while continuing to watch the wildlife just offshore. Prepare yourself for a meal set in one of the most beautiful places we know.

DAY 2 After breakfast and depending on weather, we will either paddle around the exposed Eastern side of Glacier Island or portage across a small strip of land and paddle Growler Bay to the more protected Northern side of the island. From here we will cross over to Columbia Bay and catch our first views of Columbia Glacier, the largest in Prince William Sound. We will set up camp at the entrance of Granite Cove and explore the fantastic shoreline that leads to the terminal moraine of the glacier. In the evening enjoy your meal as the evening light gives way to darkness and stars.

DAY 3
Today finds us paddling toward the other pristine bay which borders Columbia: Heather Bay. Don’t forget your camera because this is the land of photo opportunities. Walking around giant icebergs stranded on the moraine with the tallest mountains in the Chugach range as a backdrop is not a sight you will soon forget. This is a perfect time to eat lunch and enjoy the scenery.

After lunch prepare for a breathtaking paddle in the land of ice.

Perhaps this is the experience that lured you to Alaska in the first place.....paddling among floating ice in a bay so tranquil you can see your own reflection on the water. Weave your way among the ancient forms as you progress deeper and deeper into the bay. Get your photo taken in front of bergs or just relax and enjoy the splendor. Whatever your taste is, this is an experience that should not be missed.

After making camp next to a gorgeous waterfall, relax and enjoy your dinner and take in the evening lights.

DAY 4 In the morning after breakfast we will pack up and begin our tour toward Valdez. Our destination is 17 mile beach, a perfect place to camp with a view. Explore the coast along the way, all the while looking for eagles, seals, sea lions, bears and whales.

DAY 5 After breakfast we will pack our boats and prepare for our paddle out to Sawmill Bay, perhaps one of the most beautiful of all the State Marine Parks. Along the way keep your eye out for whales who have been known to ‘cruise’ this part of the Valdez Arm.

After making base camp on a beautiful beach at the edge of an old growth forest, paddle up a pristine river and watch the salmon spawn. This is also a popular place for bears and eagles to fish, so don’t forget your camera!

Upon returning to camp, sit back relax and take in the colors of the evening as the guides prepare (or help you prepare) your meal.
Sitting by the crackling of the fire, it is a perfect time to bask in the rich experience of the day and to get excited about the next day’s program.

DAY 6 Wake up early and smell the coffee! Today we will paddle to Shoup Glacier. After a hardy breakfast, we will pack the boats and begin our journey into the arm and around Potato Point. Along the way relish the beauty of falling water as falls cascade from hundreds of feet up the cliff faces. This is a great time to watch for wildlife such as otters, seals, sea lions and, occasionally, whales.

Stop for lunch and spend some time beach combing on the rugged coastline between Sawmill and Shoup Glacier, our intended destination for the evening.

Once in Shoup Bay, the first views of Shoup Glacier will begin to unfold. The closer you get the bigger it is!

After paddling into the inner tidal lagoon you will come face to face with the splendor of a tidewater glacier. Experience the awesome beauty of the ‘blue’ ice and listen to the cracking and popping as ice prepares to ‘calve’ into the azure waters of the bay.

After exploring and visiting the Black Legged Kittiwake rookery, now numbering more than 20,000 birds, we will make our way to a camping spot.

After dinner relax, go for a small hike on the moraine, or simply relax and wait for the special opportunity to see the ‘Northern Lights’ spread out across the evening, star-filled sky.

DAY 7 After a breakfast and beverages, head out into the bay one more time for a morning tour. This is a great time to get those last photos by the glacier. We’ll than paddle back and break down camp.

Now we begin our journey back to Valdez, paddling the beautiful coastline of Port Valdez. Along the way learn more about the mining and gold rush history of Prince William Sound as we paddle by the Cliff Mine. Watch for eagles as we pull into Gold Creek, a state marine park, for lunch and a perfect pit stop in between Shoup and Valdez. After lunch take a short hike up to the steep, basalt gorge littered with waterfalls and big trees. This is the northernmost example of the temperate rain forest which stretches from Coos Bay in Oregon to southern Alaska and Prince William Sound.

The last three miles back to Valdez are good for seeing river otters, seals, sea lions and bird life. Pull back into the small boat harbor of Valdez mid to late afternoon.

We made accommodations the night we got into Alaska and the night before we left to stay at a little bed and Breakfast about 15 miles outside of Valdez called In the Woods.  We could have stayed at the local Holiday Inn, but I'm sure the Tea, eggs and Canadian bacon would have not been nearly ass good. 


"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."    — Robert A. Heinlein

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