After a welcome meeting in the morning in Anchorage, we'll head out on an amazing hike to the Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield. Considered one of the greatest hikes on the Kenai Peninsula, we'll experience glaciers and the forces that shaped the landscape up close, while exploring only a tiny portion of the nearly 1 million acres that make up Kenai Fjords National Park. Exit Glacier, the only area of Kenai Fjords National Park accessible by car, is one of thirty-five glaciers that flow off the vast Harding Icefield. The Icefield is the largest in North America, and it remains as a 300 square mile vestige of the last ice age. The 7.4-mile round trip of the Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. Starting on the valley floor, the trail winds through cottonwood and alder forests, passes though heather filled meadows and ultimately climbs well above tree line to a breath-taking view of the Icefield. The top of the trail is a window to past ice ages – a horizon of ice and snow that stretches as far as the eye can see, broken only by an occasional nunatak, or lonely peak. Then what would be Alaska without bears? This is bear country! The vegetation along the trail is dense and passes through thickets of salmonberries, a favorite food of black bears. Black bears are spotted almost every day from the Harding Icefield Trail. Check into your hotel in Seward for the next 2 nights. Enjoy a group dinner and reflect on the spectacular natural wonders of the Alaskan Wilderness you experienced today on this amazing hike.
Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours
Approximate Distance: 233 km/145 miles
Experienced naturalist sea kayaking guides will lead you out of Seward along the west shoreline of the scenic Resurrection Bay. The bay is surrounded by snow covered mountains with hanging glaciers coming off the tops. Along the way your guide will point out points of interest and tell you about the bay’s history and about the wildlife we encounter. You need no prior sea kayak paddling experience.
Your Resurrection Bay sea kayaking adventure starts with kayaking instruction from expert guides. Within minutes the guides will have you paddling. You'll be surprised as to how stable sea kayaks are in the water. We often see sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, seabirds, bald eagles, jumping salmon and occasionally we see whales that venture into the bay. Our path will take us out along Caines Head State Recreation Area and towards Tonsina Creek. Depending on the group’s speed and what wildlife we encounter along the way, we may make it all the way out to Tonsina Creek. If the tides are high it may be possible to paddle up the creek a short way to see spawning salmon during spawning season. About halfway into the trip we will make a quick shoreline stop for hot drinks and a snack.
In the morning it’s time to return and visit the Alaskan Sealife Center for a behind the scenes tour. The Center offers an unrivaled, up-close and personal experience with Gulf of Alaska marine wildlife. Witness a 2000+ pound Stellar sea lion gliding past underwater viewing windows, puffins diving in a carefully crafted naturalistic habitat, and harbor seals resting on rocky beaches. Alaskan king crab, sea stars, and the Giant Pacific octopus also await you, as well as a whole variety of intertidal creatures and deep sea fishes.
Alaska is vast, still mostly road less and wild, and stunningly beautiful. Alaska is so big- equal in area to about one-fifth of all the lower 48 states- it is difficult to completely cover all of its available hiking on our tour. Therefore today we concentrate on the Kenai Peninsula, which has the largest number, greatest concentration, and most diverse range of hiking environments in the state. The Kenai, as it is known locally, is itself huge, containing an ice field larger than the state of Rhode Island. The Kenai offers coastal, forest, subalpine, tundra, and even glacial hiking opportunities. Our trail leads us up to Carter Lake. It is a short but steep climb through spruce/hemlock forest to a wide subalpine valley of meadows surrounded by mountains. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the Alaskan Wilderness until it’s time to hike back to civilization.
Estimated Travel Time: 6 hours (including hike)
Approximate Distance: 200 km/120 miles
Spend a day exploring the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on a scenic raft trip on the Kenai River. Nearly two million acres in size, the Refuge offers majestic wilderness scenery and multiple species of wildlife and birds. Your guide will steer your raft into Kenai Canyon and you'll cross Skilak Lake, a pristine, glacier-carved lake in the heart of the Wildlife Refuge. Or, on the rare occasion the Alaskan winds kick up three-foot or higher waves on the lake, the trip will end with a 1.5 mile walk up Hidden Creek. At the take out point, meet your CEO and enjoy a delicious picnic lunch. In the afternoon transfer to Homer.
Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours
Approximate Distance: 160 km/100 miles
Your excursion begins with a scenic 20-minute boat ride across beautiful Kachemak Bay, into the heart of Kachemak Bay State Park. A fun and informative guided hike takes you through 3 distinct ecosystems; The coastal/marine environment, old-growth coastal forest, and glacial outwash plain. Enjoy lunch in full view of the nearly mile-wide glacier face. After lunch, back to the trail head, hike out, and return to Homer by boat. Truly breathtaking, truly unforgettable! Enjoy a last group dinner!
After breakfast we shuttle a short distance to the Carl E. Wynn Nature Center. This former homestead is now a wildlife refuge, with hiking trails, great bird-watching and an undeveloped migration corridor for moose and black bears. Return to Anchorage where our adventure ends at approx 5pm. End of trip.
Estimated Travel Time: 6 hours
Approximate Distance: 402 km/250 miles