8/11/2014 – Valdez Kayak Tour
I really, really wanted to do some kayaking while in Alaska, and Valdez was my last chance. We signed up for a tour with Anadyr Adventures to fresh water kayak in the glacial lake created by Valdez Glacier, with promises of kayaking around ice bergs and into ice caves. Despite the on and off drizzling cold rain, this is definitely one of the (many) highlights of the trip for me.
Anadyr provides the outer waterproof layers if you want them; boots, bib overalls, and rain jackets, all made of nice thick waterproof rubber. I used the boots and pants; Kevin just used his Klim moto pants and Alpinestar Toucan moto boots. Layered with wool long underwear and mid layers, we both stayed warm and dry all day, and thus had a great time. (There is no bad weather, only insufficient clothing).
The paddling was very easy, and do-able by anyone. Since it was a fresh-water glacial lake, the water was nice and calm (which is just fine by me, thanks).
After paddling around some of the ice bergs, we landed on the toe of the glacier for lunch, and to take a short hike on the glacier.
What I hadn’t realized is that so much of many of the glaciers we’ve seen have been covered in rocks. Without knowing any better, you just notice the exposed white ice further up the ice field, and the rest at the toe just looks like a pile of rocks. In reality, often the rocks are just a thin layer covering more ice. While paddling around, some of the water had melted much of the ice out from underneath the rock covered ice bergs, and there would be a thin shelf of rocks protruding over the water. From above, it would look like a solid pile of rocks, but from underneath, it’s a thin shelf, slowly melting away.
Where we sat on the glacier for lunch, the ice underneath the rocks was incredibly clear and blue.
After lunch, we paddled into a small glacial cave. This just made the whole trip for me. I think my expression is hilarious, and expresses a bit of anxiety about being in the comparatively small space, with the water dripping everywhere. Kevin and I were both laughing, and marveling that we had just paddled inside a glacier.
Back in Valdez, we walked around outside the museum a bit (it was after hours). These rabbits are everywhere. They are clearly a domestic breed, but are running wild all over town.
The section of pipeline outside the museum shows the “pig” used to clean the pipe to keep the oil flowing.