You’ll start off your Alaska kayaking adventure in the historic old Powerhouse in McCarthy. We invite you to poke your head in and check out the old boiler, machine platforms, and historic artifacts. Here is where you’ll meet your guide and get outfitted with all the gear you’ll need for your trip. Your guide will fit you with rubber boots, a personal flotation device (PFD), neoprene, and rain gear to keep you dry. They’ll provide you with dry bags to store your camera and any extra layers, and then it will be time to head out to the lake!
It’s about a 10 minute drive in one of our trusty old Suburbans down to the lake. We’ll park atop a high knoll providing breathtaking views up-glacier towards the town of Kennecott, the Stairway Icefall, Donoho Peak, and Mt. Blackburn. From here, we’ll head by foot down to the edge of the lake, where the guide has the inflated kayaks ready to go. From here, he’ll just top off the air, give a brief safety talk, and then you can head on your way!
Once in the lake, our guide will discuss the basics of paddling the kayaks, and can provide helpful suggestions for steering (the person in the rear of the double-kayak chooses the direction). Ask your guides lots of questions, as they are very knowledgeable in the local flora, fauna, natural history, and glaciology. Part way through your paddle, we’ll stop and take a break to enjoy some hot drinks.
Keep your camera close as you paddle, and listen to the sounds of the glacier as it’s popping, creaking, and hissing. It’s not uncommon to catch glimpses of moose or bears hanging around the toe of the glacier, so keep your eyes peeled. As you’re paddling around the lake, expect to hear some big splashes as the rocks on the glacial moraine fall into the water. As the ice melts out from under the glacial moraine, rocks will trundle down into the water with a satisfying “splash!”
While paddling around the lake, you guide will be on the lookout for opportunities to pull the kayaks up on shore, and take a walk around on the moraine. Rock hounds beware: you may never want to leave! At the end of the trip, we’ll make our way back to where we initially put in. Then it’s a short hike back up to the Suburban, and a quick drive back to the Powerhouse to call it a day.