Latitude Adjustment

Ten more ways to frolic in the far north's summer sun

May 1, 2003
Outside Magazine

8,000 square miles of multisport bliss: Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

This six-day multisport foray will give you a proper introduction to southwest Alaska's 8,000-square-mile Kenai Peninsula. Start with a day of rafting Class II rapids through the Kenai River Canyon, then bunk in the heart of the million-acre Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in a Yukon-style tent cabin at the Kenai Backcountry Lodge. On subsequent days you'll hike six miles round-trip through alpine tundra along the Cottonwood Creek Trail, overlooking glacier-carved Skilak Lake, and head to Kenai Fjords National Park, where you'll search for whales, puffins, and sea lions from a 43-foot boat and stay in the solar-powered cabins of Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge on Fox Island. Finish with a 12-mile mountain-bike ride on the serpentine Forest Service roads of the Chugach National Forest, near Girdwood. Six-day trips with Alaska Wildland Adventures (800-334-8730, cost $2,595 per person. 2. MIRACLES ON ICE VALDEZ, ALASKA
It may be known as the nexus of extreme winter sports, but when summer rolls around, the change of season just means more time to play. Start your Valdez bonanza with a ten-minute helicopter ride to Wortmanns Glacier, where you can explore ice caves and climb the vertical faces of the glacier's snout. Next up, paddle a sea kayak up a tidal river to a 200-foot-tall face of the Shoup Glacier. Encircled by peaks soaring over 5,000 feet, you'll be greeted by an abundance of sea life, wolverines, and bears. Round out the day soaking in a hot tub on a 38-foot sailboat—your home for the night. Later in the week, explore Prince William Sound on a specially designed 17-foot exploratory boat, encountering orca and humpback whales and penetrating the countless fjords, back bays, and lagoons inaccessible to larger craft. Dean Cummings' H2O Heli-Guides (800-578-4354, runs weeklong customized trips for about $3,000 per person (includes flight from Valdez).