Prepping for 2014

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.

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