Hey Alaskans! Someone needs to hike and packraft into Kenai Fjords.
Apr 9, 2021 at 4:28 pm #3708419
This is a trip that I think someone should do. Start in Seward, hike to Caines Head, packraft around Callisto Head and across the outlet of the Bear Glacier lagoon, and then hike to Bulldog Cove. That’s the stem of the lollipop. Now you can either hike up over the obvious pass to Aialik or go a bit farther down the coast to another pass leading to Coleman Bay. Once in Aialik Bay you can mess around as you see fit. I sea kayaked through the area years ago when I paddled from Homer to Seward. Aialik is spectacular and there was some surprisingly good hiking to be had. I climbed the peak at the head of Coleman Bay and also to the pass leading from the very NE corner of Aialik Bay (the next valley north of the Lechner Glacier) up to one of the most incredible vistas I have ever seen looking down on the Bear Glacier. I’d do it but the logistics from Kodiak kind of suck ever since Seward lost its ferry service. That used to be my shuttle.
Somebody go do this. It’s about 60-70 miles round trip.Apr 9, 2021 at 4:41 pm #3708422
Some pics from that trip if you want to see what the area looks like:
This is the valley I hiked up to get to the pass to look down on the Bear Glacier:
The Pederson Glacier:
Climbing the peak at the head of Coleman Bay:
It’s a beautiful area. You get the idea.Apr 9, 2021 at 6:58 pm #3708430David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Philip, you kayaked from Homer to Seward? When? I rode with a guy from Tern Lake (Seward & Sterling Highway junction) to Soldotna who’d just finished such a trip.
Does seem like a great trip proposal. I’m planning on trying out the new Tutka Backdoor Trail this summer and also harrassing goats in the fall out of Port Dick.Apr 9, 2021 at 7:32 pm #3708438
It was many years ago. Maybe 1998? 2000? Not sure. I look about 6 years old in the pics, lol. I’ve heard of a number of people doing the trip. Heck, last summer a guy paddled from Kodiak to Seward. That’s a decent trip for sure. The outer Kenai coast is rather kayak unfriendly with its extreme exposure to the gulf and like 10 f**king miles between beaches. In the Kodiak archipelago there’s a nice beach every half mile.
I had not heard of the Tutka thing. Looks cool. Definitely opens up exploring Port Dick and you could portage over the isthmus behind Gore Point and get into the Nuka area. Or heck, jump off the Tutka trail above Taylor Bay and beeline for Tonsina Bay. Even quicker.Apr 10, 2021 at 1:08 am #3708452Luke SchmidtBPL Member
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Looks like a fun idea. Just for more fun… I wonder if you could hike some of the ridge back from Bear Glacier. Might be alder choked misery but I might see a way. The views would be awesome.</p>Apr 10, 2021 at 12:16 pm #3708481
I assume you mean the ridge on the south side of Bear Glacier? Once you are at the saddle and looking down at the glacier, I believe you are above the brush. It was so long ago I don’t remember what the ridge looked like, but it seems fairly benign on the topo.
Here is a trip report of my paddle from Homer to Seward.Apr 10, 2021 at 1:10 pm #3708484
Another coastal Alaskan lollipop into Kenai Fjords inspired by David’s mention of the Tutka Backdoor. Head to Seldovia and hitch a ride to Jakalof Bay, bushwhack the short distance to Tutka Bay Lagoon and paddle to the head of Tutka. Pick up the Tutka Backside Trail and hike until you are about to drop down to Taylor Bay but instead thrash your way down to Tonsina Bay. From there you can paddle up past the outlet of the Petrof Glacier and Petrof Point where you can cross Nuka Bay to Cape Horn on Nuka Island. Check out Home Cove and visit Herring Pete’s homestead. Go to the north end of the island and hike up into the alpine and then follow the spine down to the south end of the island. Paddle up the west side of Nuka Island checking out Westdahl Cove and Berger Bay before crossing back to Petrof Point and heading home.
I’ve hiked a tiny bit in Tonsina Bay and I’ve hiked on Nuka Island a few times. It all seems pretty doable from terrain and vegetation standpoint. It would be about 90+ miles. You could also get dropped by an air taxi and not have to retrace your steps on the Tutka Trail.Apr 10, 2021 at 1:38 pm #3708485
Here are a few pics from Nuka Island. I had some damp weather when I traveled through there so not the best pics, but you can get a feel for the area.
The outlet stream from the Petrof Glacier:
Looking back down Nuka Bay from the beach in front of the Petrof Glacier with the entrance to Tonsina Bay on the far left:
Herring Pete’s house:
On top of Nuka Island. This was around the 2nd week of June (I remember spending the summer solstice in Aialik and it took me about another week to get there).
Looking north into Home Cove:
Looking down to where Herring Pete’s house is just south of Home Cove:
Looking SW with the entrance to Tonsina Bay just above and left of image center:Apr 11, 2021 at 4:17 pm #3708596AaronBPL Member
Packrafting is something I have yet to try, but I got a bit obsessed with the subject when I found a DIY documentary someone made on Youtube about kayaking the Inside Passage. It made me wonder how much of the Alaska coast is navigable with a kayak.
Your trip report is really cool.Apr 11, 2021 at 7:46 pm #3708616
Arguably the entire coastline of Alaska could be negotiated by sea kayak. Some sections would require some world-class fitness and experience though. Specifically, where you leave the relatively protected waters of the Inside Passage in SE AK and venture along Alaska’s “Lost Coast” up to the entrance to Prince William Sound; a hair-raising 400 mile stretch with only a few natural harbors where you could safely make landfall in rough conditions (which is to say, ‘normal’ conditions). Sometimes it’s better to just hike (and packraft!) those sections. There weren’t many days on our Lost Coast trip where I would have relished getting on or off the beach in my sea kayak: Hiking and Packrafting from Lituya to Yakutat
Lots of other sections of the coast are interspersed with capes and bays, making travel safer since you can get off the water when necessary without getting mulched in the surf: Sea Kayaking from Kodiak to HomerApr 12, 2021 at 12:05 am #3708635AaronBPL Member
Nice job with the videos.
Sometimes it’s better to just hike (and packraft!) those sections.
That’s sort of what I figured. I even found pictures of people “bikerafting” on those sections. Carrying a bike on a packraft seems crazy to me, but I guess they managed. Never have gotten the appeal of trying to ride a bike on that sort of terrain, but that’s just me.Apr 12, 2021 at 12:36 am #3708637Luke SchmidtBPL Member
Aaron I believe that is why they call it “Hell Biking.” I never had the money to try. Seems like a very expensive way to go slightly faster or get a more expensive concussion. But HYOH, some folks love it.Apr 19, 2021 at 11:28 am #3709478
Okay, another idea. Kodiak has lots of remote canneries. Most are derelict though a few are still operating seasonally for salmon processing. The cannery at Lazy Bay (Alitak) has been in operation for over 100 years and is a mail plane stop with daily flights. I have started many trips there. The cannery in the village of Larsen Bay was built in 1911 and has operated on again and off again in recent years. Last year they were shut down due to COVID. I have ended many trips there and the village gets multiple mail plane flights per day. In between is the vast Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge and a number of derelict canneries, and I’m proposing a self-guided tour of them. The purple and magenta lines are previous trips that I have done, and the orange is the new 75-mile route. It’s a bit more packraft focused than the prior routes which were just hiking.
The starting point- the Alitak cannery in Lazy Bay:
Next, the derelict cannery in Chip Cove:
Then we have the Olga Bay cannery site at Akalura which is in rougher shape:
Finishing at the cannery in Larsen Bay:
There are obviously some cannery-free sections inland, but the refuge has public use cabins along the route like the one at the north end of Frazer Lake:
And the last night could be spent on the ridge west of the outlet of Karluk Lake before floating the Karluk River to the portage trail to Larsen Bay:Jun 27, 2021 at 2:36 pm #3720247
Any takers? Any Alaskans hatching cool trip plans?
Sadly it appears the Chip Cove cannery was largely destroyed by neglect and a winter storm a couple of years ago. RIP another piece of coastal Alaskan history.Jul 27, 2021 at 12:22 am #3723149Erin McKittrickBPL Member
@mckittreLocale: Seldovia, Alaska
Just a note from one of the builders of the trail, the Tutka Backdoor Trail already goes to Jakolof Bay — https://groundtruthalaska.org/tutka_backdoor/. And another note, the pass above Bradley Lake is another good way across the Peninsula, if you have a packraft and would rather make that a loop.Jul 27, 2021 at 4:57 pm #3723205David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Ah, the current President of the Alaska Electric and Energy Cooperative (Erin) has chimed in about the hydro project we get our renewable energy from and which has a public dock and public (for non-motorized transit) road up the Bradley Lake and from there over to Battle Creek.
Former President, AE&EC
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