I’ve just been out to Columbia Glacier for the first day trips of the season. The sun was shining, there was lots of ice to explore, and a wonderful time was had by all!
Admit it. . . you wish that you were in this kayak!
Happy paddlers! Big icebergs!
Ice that has been left to hang out on the old terminal moraine of Columbia Glacier.
Along with navigating through lots of ice in Columbia Bay, we also have the opportunity to paddle along the shoreline in Heather Bay, where old-growth Sitka Spruce forests give way to rushing waterfalls like this one.
Here we are at Shoup Glacier, kicking off a sunny start to our 2014 season! The Inner Bay at Shoup Glacier is quite protected, which offers dazzling reflections of this majestic glacier, surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
Along with impressive bird-viewing (Bald Eagles, Black-Legged Kittiwakes, Canada Geese, Black Oystercatchers, Arctic Terns, various types of Shorebirds, and Surf Scoters, to name a few), we were also followed by a few curious Harbor Seals. I also spotted my first Black Bear of the season!! Everybody had a chance to watch this large bear searching for food (it was way up on the mountainside) with the binoculars.
We took advantage of the incredible weather and explored the area in front of the glacier, finding beautiful pieces of blue ice that had recently fallen off the face of the glacier.
Shoup Glacier is also home to one of the most impressive Black-Legged Kittiwake (a small Gull) rookeries, which allows us to get up-close-and-personal with this extremely vocal and active bird. Here we are, floating past the Kittiwakes.
Not a bad place to spend a day!
On the boat ride back into Valdez, we had a chance to greet these Steller Sea Lions. We also saw a group of Dall’s Porpoises.
We hope to see you out on the water with us this season!
It’s mid April and Valdez is digging out from under the winter snowfall. It’s been a beautiful spring and because of the rains in January there is much less snow left around town than in an average year. As you may have seen the town was cutoff from the rest of the state after those rains when a massive avalanche at snow slide gulch buried the highway , dammed up the Lowe River and created a large lake at the east end of Keystone Canyon. The same weather took most of the snow off the steep slopes around Port Valdez so that the lower slopes around town are pretty much clear. We’re getting boats out earlier than normal and running some small boat harbor and glacier tours. We aren’t taking reservations earlier than midway but if you are in south-central Alaska looking for adventure Valdez is a great place to be right now. We’ll do trips on a weather permitting basis prior to the 15th so give us a call.
Right now, there is good paddling available at Columbia Glacier, out around Galena Bay and in the port itself
It’s looking like Valdez Glacier lake will be open for paddling a bit earlier than normal -the last week in May is our target date for that.
Looking ahead, we are going to offer a 4 day 3 night camping trip at Columbia Glacier. The trip name will be “World within the Moraine” It will drop off at the Heather BayMoraine, paddle the newly exposed coast up into the amphitheater where the-e various branches of Columbia Glacier form a 270 degree panorama of calving glacier face and then down the Columbia side to a pickup around Granite Bay. A good part of the terrain you’ll be paddling past was under 200 feet of ice 5 years ago. The tripwillbe priced the same as the 4 day 3 night Glacier Island to Columbia Glacier camping trip at $1095 a person.
A word about paddling at the face of Columbia aimed particularly for those doing the Columbia Daytrip. The first 15 years we had a Columbia Glacier trip, the paddle took place at the moraine with the actual glacier face 8 miles away.It’s a great trip and became the most popular glacier paddling trip in Alaska. Like now, the trips appeal was paddling around icebergs and seeing newly exposed post glacial terrain. Starting around 2005 there started being times when we could get up to the face of the glacier. These times are usually in the late summer and early fall. We love going up there and there’s a lot of exploring to be done where the glacier is now. However, we never start out knowing we’ll get to the face on a particular day. Ice flow can block us. Tides can make things difficult. On some days katabactic winds coming off the glacier can make it a nasty, unpleasant place to be. On those days, we fall back and do the trip we’ve been doing since 1989 and paddle around the moraine. It’s still a great place to paddle and the experience of a lifetime.
2 Trip Special!
Book a Valdez Glacier Lake trip and get 20% off a Port Paddle!
Join Anadyr Adventures for 2 days of kayak exploration at 2 unique destinations. Our popular Valdez Glacier Lake trip combined with a Port Paddle offer you an intimate glacier experience and good opportunities for wildlife encounters. Paddle a freshwater lake, weaving through icebergs, in a stable sit on top inflatable kayak. Then trace beautiful coastal Alaskan shoreline, with a watchful eye for wildlife, as you learn the fundamentals of sea kayaking.
Anadyr Adventures offers four types of trips: day trips for those with limited time in Valdez, multi-day camping trips, Mothership trips for those desiring the amenities of a support vessel, and lodge based trips offering Prince William Sound day excursions from the comfort of a remote Alaskan wilderness lodge.
What others are saying about Anadyr Adventures
Keith Goetzman of Pioneer Press writes about life amongst Columbia Glacier's "Growlers". Read about what professional travel consultants are experiencing with Anadyr Adventures.
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