Northwestern Day Trip

Person
$500

Kayaking Trip to one of the least visited fjords in Kenai Fjords National Park, and the best kept secret!

The Best Kept Secret in Kenai Fjords National Park

  • Minimum number of people: Two
  • Head out at 6 a.m. and return by 6 p.m. on a full-day, fully guided/outfitted kayaking trip to Kenai Fjords National Park, a wild and rugged beauty
  • Watch avalanches, calving glaciers, baby harbor seals, humpback whales, and so much more. This is the least commercially frequented area in the Kenai Fjords and we think you’ll love the solitude and rawness of the gripping landscape!
  • A two-hour boat ride brings you, your guide, and all catered equipment over 50 miles out into the wilds of the Kenai Fjords National Park System! Get dropped off for a full, eight-hour day exploring the park, just you and your guide!
  • Group sizes always kept small – six clients to guide ratio
  • No experience necessary, all kayaking done in double sea kayaks, all gear provided

Return to geologic antiquity with our Northwestern paddle. Cruising aboard the our custom-built, 24-passenger aluminum high speed landing craft we take a two and a half hour ride through Kenai Fjords to Northwestern Lagoon. On the water taxi ride from Seward, we commonly see and stop to view sea otters, Dalls porpoise, Stellar sea lions, bald eagles, and humpback as well as orca whales. Puffins and sea birds are also in abundance as we pass through the Chiswell Islands, the most prolific roosting grounds in the region.

The boat ride alone is adventure enough for some folks, which as a sightseeing tour alone is worth upwards of $200 per person (if the kayaking trip isn’t your thing, we’re happy to book a tour for you). The day continues as we cross the submerged terminal moraine of Northwestern Glacier (a full 8.75 miles from the current face of the glacier!) and into Northwestern Lagoon, where the ocean depths shoot from over 400′ on the outside, to 24′ at the crossing, and then down to 600′ on the other side! Mountains scoured by recent glacial recession shoot out of the water in every direction, and the staggering landscape is immersed in ice and wildlife. Enjoy opportunities to view black bears, coastal birds, and a host of marine mammals over the whole course of your trip – not just on the sea kayaking portion!

Here you disembark, where a rugged coastline folds into five sizeable glaciers for a full-day excursion. You and your group explore the park, moving from place to place with the goal to circumnavigate Straition Island in a roughly 10 to 15-mile journey, depending on the group’s speed and intentions (the average double kayak travels about 3 mph). Trips travel at the pace of your group, so whether you’d like to cover as much ground as possible, or rest on a beach with your journal or camera – we work to accommodate you! Your biggest concern may very well be explaining the feeling you have when a piece of glacier the size of your home falls into the ocean in front of you, throwing up waves riddled with floating icebergs and dotted with pupping harbor seals.

Group sizes for these excursions always remain small unless you have a larger group and wish to remain together. Trip sizes max out at 14 persons per the National Park regulations, so groups larger than 12 will need to be split up into separate camps to minimize impact on the park.  All excursions practice leave no trace wilderness ethics, are capable of managing (almost – we try!) all diets, and are arguably more flexible than similar excursions in Seward. In fact, our operational capacity in Northwestern is more economically priced and logistically able than any other outfit in our area.

Please be sure to inform us if you have medical or ethical dietary restrictions. Feel free to bring your own snacks! We work hard to accomodate everyones diet, but if there’s something special you like to have, bring it along!

Gratuities are not included in original sale price, and guide tips are greatly appreciated!

We do reserve the right to be flexible – marine weather and logistics can delay things or require an earlier pick up.  Keep in mind they are boats, not trains, and we have to heed the demands of the ocean from time to time.

So what’s the difference between Aialik and Northwestern?

NOAA Chart Northwestern 1932-2002

The image above was compiled from NOAA historical chart databases to illustrate that since 1932, the face of Northwestern Glacier has retreated over nine miles in the last 85 years. The Northwestern Fjord area wasn’t even charted until the 2002 NOAA charts were released, with the space simply reading, “The upper part of Harris Bay is usually filled with floating ice.” This is a really incredible place, folks.

The Tidewater Glaciers in Northwestern are more vertical than the tidewater glaciers in Aialik. While Aialik is expansive and gorgeous as well, the glaciers are massive and slowly lope up valleys. In Northwestern, the glaciers shoot straight up the cliff sides and to the Harding Icefield. We see alpine calving, avalanches, and a lot of very raw recently exposed country. The lush rainforests of Aialik that bridle the glaciers are nowhere to be found, not having the time to encroach on the rapid recession of Northwestern’s giants.

Quotes & papers about Northwestern from around the Internet:
…”Oswald, who pilots watercraft on the firm’s summer projects, uses the example of the Northwestern Glacier just west of Resurrection Bay. “There are areas above water now that were not even visible 50 years ago,” he said.

LCMF crews found tidal benchmarks surveyed in the 1912 in Camp Cove that are now submerged, and another area called Striation Island in the Northwestern Fjord that was under ice 50 years ago — proof that Alaska coastlines are changing.” … ( “Agency looks to private engineers to chart Alaska’s depths” )

…”The terminus of the Northwestern Glacier, a tidewater glacier, did not change much from 1973 to 1986, but moved back quite dramatically between 1986 and 2002. The terminus of the unnamed glacier that is located southeast of the Northwestern Glacier and flowing toward Striation Island in Northwestern Lagoon, is currently land based, and is shown in Figure 5 to have receded and broken up dramatically from 1973 to 2002″… ( “Change Analysis of Glacier Ice Extent and Coverage for three Southwest Alaska Network (SWAN) Parks – Katmai National Park and Preserve, Kenai Fjords National Park, and Lake Clark National Park and Preserve” which additionally states Northwestern receded 4200 meters between the 1950s and the 1990s!)

 

Cancellations & Rescheduling

  • Chevron down Cancellation Policy
    • A $10 cancellation fee is imposed for all reservations cancelled.
    • Cancellations must be received by email only to [email protected] The cancellation notice date is the date the email was received at [email protected]  Phone cancellations will not be accepted.
    • Cancellations received by email 30 days prior to the first day of the reservation are charged a $10 cancellation fee and you will receive a refund of 90% of the total amount of the reservation.
    • Cancellations received by email 15 to 29  days prior to the first day of the reservation are charged a $10 cancellation charge and you will receive a 75% refund. of the total amount of the reservation.
    • Cancellations received by email 14 days to zero days prior to arrival are charged a $10 cancellation fee and you will receive a 50% refund only if we are able to rebook  your camping, cabin, fishing, kayaking, watertaxi, shuttle, lunch, or activity. If we are not able to rebook your reservation then no refunds will be issued and. You must call or e-mail Miller’s Landing post date of cancelled stay in order for us to research whether or not your site booked. Sites that were booked of course qualify for the 50% refund, sites that were not unfortunately do not.
    • In some situations a raincheck worth 75% of your reservation may be issued at the discretion of Miller’s Landing management instead of the applicable cancellation charge. If this option appeals to you please suggest this at the time of cancellation. Rainchecks are good for one year and may be used for activities, camping or lodging owned by Miller’s Landing or towards the cost of hats, tee shirts, gifts, etc. sold in the Miller’s Landing store or items sold online. For items purchased online the customer is expected to pay for the cost of postage. Rainchecks may NOT be transferred to another person.
    • A 100% refund will be issued for any activity that was cancelled due to weather by Miller’s Landing. Miller’s Landing reserves the right to determine weather cancellations. Rain does not constitute cancellations.

    Please note:  Miller’s Landing encourages only guaranteed prepaid reservations. Unlike many other states, Alaska has  a very short tourist season which can make it  difficult for us to rebook when we have cancellations without ample notice.  

    If you are booking a charter and lodging and your charter , water taxi or kayaking is cancelled due to weather you are still responsible for the lodging or camping reservations and the normal cancellation policy applies. All of our activities are possible during rain, so rain does not constitute a cancellation.  Miller’s Landing is not responsible for vehicle break downs, personal emergencies, flight delays,  health issues or other unforeseen hardships.  We will try very hard to work with you but the cancellation policy will need to be applied  if we cannot issue a raincheck or find an alternative solution that appeals to both parties.

    Please understand that Miller’s Landing also incurs a hefty financial merchant fee from our bank  for the cost of charging your credit card and again for the cost of refunding it, and there is also a cost involved for the time involved in processing and refunding your reservation in employee costs. Our goal when taking your reservation is to have a solid, guaranteed prepaid reservation. We strongly discourage the practice of making reservations without having an airline ticket or making tentative reservations.  Thank you for your understanding.