Icy adventure: kayaking Alaska’s Alsek Lake
Exploring Alaska is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The largest US state, covered with snow and dotted with sky-reaching summits, attracts all year round. And while most of us decide to visit Alaskan highlights in the most conventional way – by walking or driving around, there are some folks that like to do it extreme. Like those, who boat the wild, glacier-surrounded Alsek River all the way from Canadian Yukon to the ice-capped surface of Alsek Lake in US’s Glacier Bay National Park. But what makes this demanding, 12-days long kayaking trip so special?
Genuine wilderness Odyssey
Discovering icy shores of Alsek Lake is the ultimate Alaska adventure. This genuinely wilderness Odyssey allows to see the word’s largest non-polar ice cap – and, in fact, one of the Earth’s last great glaciers. The best way to explore the lake is by kayak – although icy cold waters, feed by the glacier, are not to be conquered by beginners. To get here you’ll need to raft for at least 10 days through remote countryside. But the views of one of the world’s most active glaciers, as well as thousands of icebergs floating in the lake are simply stunning and definitely worth your effort.
Explore iceberg labirynths
Kayaking in Alsek lake is not for the fainthearted. Meandering through iceberg labirynth can be dangerous, so if you are not fully prepared, join one of the guided tours. As soon as you’ll start to paddle through the lake surface, you’ll get strucked by the abundance of wildlife that dwells this inhospitable place. Prepare to meet bald eagles soaring in the thin air, grizzlies roaming freely around and moose calling their partners. While paddling across Himalayan landscapes with impressive, snow-capped silhouette of Mount Fairweather you’ll float almost face to face with stunning Alsek Glacier. Do not forget to wear reliable glacier glasses that will protect your eyes from getting snow blindness!
After spending whole day on icy lake waters, prepare to spend here your Alaskan night. Remember to pitch your tent in a safe place. Most people do it on the west side of the Gateway Knob to prevent themselves form mini tsunamis created by glacier calving. On the next day do not stop moving – get on your shaky boat and head to the Gulf of Alaska to see the place where two oceans meet!
Article by: Antonina Małowiecka
Photos by: Doug Knuth / flickr.com