Over 15 days the group will enjoy remote backpacking, a scenic white water river, and the spectacular Prince William Sound by Sea Kayak. Cross glaciers on foot, charge the class III river, and float the calm waters filled with wildlife and tide water glacial fjords.
Day 1: Meeting the first morning, the group will have a brief orientation before traveling north in our van toward Wrangell St. Elias National Park. The van ride, about 4-5 hours, takes us through beautiful canyons and across open forests. The group is treated to panoramic views of both the Chugach and Wrangell St. Elias Mountains. Our destination is the quaint town of McCarthy where we meet our backpacking guide and spend the afternoon both enjoying the small town and preparing for the backpacking tour. Once packed, we hike to the base of the root glacier for the first night of camping. (L/D).
Days 2-4: We cross the Dramatic Root Glacier clad with crampons on our boots and hike north toward the Donaho Peak Wilderness. The Donaho Peak Wilderness trip takes backpacking a step beyond, and allows us to fully experience one of Alaska's true wonders - "glaciers". We will get a whole different view from the tide water glacier we visit later in the tour . Camp will be set in the rolling tundra at the base of Donaho Peak. This section of the tour incorporates basic wilderness skills and is an introduction to off-trail , Alaskan-style hiking and glacier trekking. From this western edge of the Root Glacier we can take advantage of several options including: trying our hand at ice climbing, climbing 6,696 foot Donaho Peak, exploring a spectacular section of the Root or Kennicott Glaciers, or simply hiking through the spruce forest to picnic alongside an alpine lake. (B/L/D).
Day 5: The hike back to McCarthy takes us back across the ice and into the ghost town of Kennicott. Once a thriving copper mine, Kennicott is packed with a rich history. We will have a chance to walk around the ruins of the mine and capture some Alaskan history. We then get treated to hot showers, warm beds, and a fresh cooked meal. We will stay in McCarthy for the evening. (B/L/D).
Day 6: We awaken bright and early for our departure down the river. The put in for the river is walking distance from our lodge. The first part of the moring will involve instruction, packing, and preparation and then we push off for our four day journey. (B/L/D).
Days 7-9: Rafting down the Chitna River will treat us to full days of class III whitewater. We will also enjoy panoramic views and comfortable campsites along the river. The evenings are topped off with fine Dutch Oven cookery and stories around the campfire. Day eight is another scenic float to where the river meets the road just outside of the tiny town of Chitna. A relaxing van ride brings us back to Valdez for a free afternoon and evening to stroll around town and enjoy a private room at one of the local bed & breakfasts. (B/L/D).
Day 10: Another early start with a meeting at the Pangaea Adventures base for the packing of the kayaks. Paddle out of Valdez for a sea kayaking journey to our final destination, Columbia Glacier. Our first camp site will be Shoup Glacier State Park. (B/L/D).
Day 11: Explore the upper bay of Shoup Glacier State Park and enjoy sites of a calving glacier and floating blue ice. This area is also surrounded by towering mountains and cascading waterfalls. The campsite offer flat tent sites and spectacular views. (B/L/D).
Day 12: Paddle on to Sawmill Bay State Park. Even more dramatic coastline than the previous day, we are treated to waterfalls a couple hundred feet tall, and emerald blue water. It is common to see eagles perched in the trees above. An evening paddle through Bears Kitchen is always exciting! (B/L/D).
Day 13: A rest day of sorts. We cruise further along the coastline to our favorite campsite in Prince William Sound. This remote beach offers an open view of the eastern Prince William Sound and offers a chance to relax, read, or bath in the small waterfall at the end of the beach. (B/L/D).
Day 14: The longest day of paddling but very rewarding. After a long cliff lines stretch of coastline, we are treated to our first view of Columbia Glacier in the peaceful Heather Bay. Our campsite is set among ancient rainforest and ponds of lilies. If you have the energy, take a walk through the moss covered woods. (B/L).
Day 15: Our final day and a very exciting finish. We paddle out into the floating ice field and explore the strange and enchanting ice bergs. Just like you see in the pictures, the ice fields are brilliant blue Hughes and sounds of crackling ice. By early afternoon the motor boat arrives for our speedy transport back to Valdez and the finish to our tour. (B/L).
Single supplement price can be avoided by sharing a room at a bed & breakfast. The tour includes flights while on tour.
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USA Alaska Outdoor: Water Drifter Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting
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