generally when you hear of a destination wedding, you hear about sandy beaches and bathing suits. joe and i chose a different route. our wedding destination of choice was Alaska, and i traded in my bathing suit for my Patagonia Piolet Jacket. we had two weeks to adventure through this outdoors(wo)man’s dream state, and one of the highlights was a full day kayaking trip through the Kenai Fjords.
what better way to kick off our honeymoon, than with a kayaking trip through the Kenai Fjords,(courtesy of Kayak Adventures Worldwide). the morning of our trip, we woke up to heavy rain thundering down onto the roof of our Minnie Winnie RV.
there was talk of our adventure being canceled for the day due to the weather. the drop off point for our kayak trip was only reachable via a motorized boat and a 2.5 hour ride departing from Seward. the swells were high, and the crew only anticipated the seas would get rougher as the day progressed.
thankfully the Bay where we would be kayaking was protected from the wind, which meant that once we got there, our water would be calm, but it was the getting to and from that point that was of concern.
eventually the KAW crew ensured that everyone was covered in Goretex and smiles, and they gave us a thumbs up, confirming that we would indeed be going out on the water for the day. the seas were not calm, but somehow we managed to cruise from Seward, all the way south through the Resurrection Bay, around the Aialik Cape, and to our drop off point on the Harris Peninsula, without anyone losing their breakfast.
we were all very thankful when we finally arrived on land. and then, the real fun began.
joe and i were in a group of 5 people: a fun couple from the Netherlands, our awesome guide and new-found friend Emily, and the newlyweds (us).
just as KAW had promised, the Aialik Bay where we prepared to embark was calm, and glacial blue in color. the wind had tamed. the mist lingered, adding to the drama. and there was an ongoing drizzle that was made insignificant by our brightly colored shells and our enthusiasm for our surroundings.
and we were off…
we paddled through the Kenai Fjords National Park, en route to the Aialik Glacier.
before the significant glacial retreats began years ago, the Aialik Glacier once stretched out to where we sat in the water.
the glaciated landscape remaining had shaped the current ecology and wildlife of the area, that our guide Emily so passionately described to us with each paddle we took closer.
our 3 hours of kayaking shifted between great conversation with our traveling peers, lessons and words of wisdom from Emily, and complete silence, as we all soaked in our surroundings.
as we drew nearer to the glacier, we began seeing an increase in the glacial ice surrounding us. an increase in both the number of icebergs, and their size, was evident.
the last 30 minutes of paddling featured first class views of the Glacier.
the Aialik Glacier is one of 40 glaciers that is fed by the Harding Icefield that lies behind it. it is one of only four remaining icefield in the U.S. and it is the largest icefield contained entirely within our countries borders.
The Harding Icefield is over 300 square miles (777 km2) in its entirety (although, if one were to count its glaciers which descend from the icefield in all directions, the icefield measures in at over 1,100 square miles (2,849 km2)
40 glaciers, all within this Kenai Fjord National Park! that number had me thinking about glaciers and a further search revealed that Alaska officially has 616 named glaciers. However, when considering unnamed glaciers, the Alaska Almanac estimates that there are over 100,000 glaciers in the state.
and they are worth experiencing.
especially, like this.
getting up close and personal with a glacier is the quintessential Alaska experience.
after snapping a few photos, our group banded arms and sat cozy in our kayaks while we waited. we sat and listened for the thundering of the glacier. what appeared to be small pieces of ice (compared to the massive entirety of the glacier in the background) came calving down into the water. we quickly realized that the fallen icebergs were actually quite substantial as we witnessed the formation of the waves that followed.
it was a moment worth celebrating, and we did, with cheers, smiles… and trail mix, that Emily packed for us. 🙂
we maxed out what time we had in that spot; but eventually we had to turn and make our way back. the clock was ticking and the swells were increasing outside of our precious Bay, which meant that we needed to hit the road.
when we arrived back at our drop off spot, joe and i snapped one last photo, and contemplated an investment in a kayak, and a move to Alaska. there are few moments as serene as what we had just experienced, but we were determined to find more of them.
and we had a whole honeymoon worth of adventures to do so.
more adventures to come from the Romeros.
thanks for reading,