Kayak rentals in Glacier Bay

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of August 1-8, 1996
Kayak rentals in Glacier Bay
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Kayak rentals in Glacier Bay
Question: I am interested in kayak rental places in Glacier Bay, Alaska. I was planning to do a week or two out. Any route suggestions would be groovy as well.

Ben Wisely
Boston, MA
[email protected]

Spectacular mountains make for
scenic paddling in Glacier Bay

Adventure Adviser: Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks (907-697-2257) in Gustavus is the place for rentals in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Ben. Prices run from $40 to $50 per day, including spray skirts, life vests, paddles, and rudders. They'll also throw in a pre-trip orientation on paddling technique, wind, weather, tides, map-reading, and, most important, how to kayak (or rather, not to) in the vicinity of calving glaciers. The next morning, you'll lug your kayak onto the Spirit of Adventure for a drop-off at one of three designated spots in the bay. Make sure you get all your maps and gear in order, pick up the required bear-proof food canisters at the ranger's office in Bartlett Cove, and set your alarm clock nice and early; the ferry leaves at 7 a.m.($88 per person, one way).

As for the route, a good plan is to take the tour boat all the way up to a gravel bar near the snout of McBride Glacier in Muir Inlet. From there, paddle the 60-odd miles back to Bartlett Cove. The trip will take you at least a week, more if you spend some extra time taking in the not-so-shabby scenery: 15,000-foot mountains; garage-sized chunks of glacier falling off into the sea; and the occasional killer whales, wolves, bears, and bald eagles.

You'll love Glacier Bay, Ben. It's one of the classic, don't-miss trips around the country. For a sneak preview, read Tim Cahill's account of his paddling excursion there: "The Great White Philharmonic," published in our June issue.

For more info, call the Park Service at 907-697-2230 for a copy of the Glacier Bay handbook (No. 123), or pick up Jim DuFresne's Glacier Bay National Park: A Backcountry Guide to the Glaciers and Beyond (The Mountaineers Books, $10.95).

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