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The Kenai-Peninsula – new worlds to explore

The Kenai-Peninsula – new worlds to explore

The next chapter to be written on our trip was set to take place on the Kenai-Peninsula south of Anchorage. In Anchorage itself we had spent a few days meeting some friends, planning our further travels and investigating the weather. Then, finally, all the signs were on ‚go‘ and we started our journey. We left Anchorage in some bright sunshine, ended up in heavy rain shortly afterward though. This is why we chose to head all the way down south to the farthest point of the peninsula and then make our way back up north over the next, hopefully sunny, days. Unfortunately, our plan didn’t work out. Our so far reliable car broke down about 100 kilometers out of Anchorage and didn’t start again. At the place it happened, we haven’t had cell service, so I ended up hitchhiking to the next telephone tower. From there I called TrippleA to get a towing service to our location.

Not what we expected the trip to be like.

Shortly afterward we found ourselves crammed on the co-driver’s seat of the towing truck on our way back to Anchorage. Bad situation. At least the rain had stopped by then and we could get some first glimpses on the beauty of the Pacific Coast up there. Hopefully, we’ll be able to hit the road soon again. 

Getting back to Anchorage it was already late and the yard of the mechanic was already closed, so we ended up trying to unload our truck from the other truck down a grass bank around the gate so we could sleep in our vehicle this night. Not the easiest act, but it worked. And this is how we ended up camping in the yard of a mechanical shop.

Camping in the mechanic shop yard.

The next morning started with uncertainty about the results of the inspection, then with the bitter outcome of a 1200 Dollar bill to fix the fuel pump and the alternator and then the annoying waiting until everything actually was fixed. This took as long as another day, so we had to camp out a second night on the parking lot. We cheered ourselves a bit up by cooking some delicious caribou steaks that we got from my buddy Erik.

Great, Alaskan caribou steaks!

Still, there’s nothing worse than being stuck on a holiday. 

Around noon on the next day, our car was finally ready to go. It was a bright day and we were more than happy that we could still use it to our advantage. 

Immediately we drove to the kayak rental and changed our booking, as our plans got messed up. We now took the two kayaks with us right away, left Anchorage towards the south and drove all the way to the Portage Lake. Once we got there we packed all our gear together and launched the boats on the lake. Our goal: the Portage Glacier. 

On the way there we already passed a few little icebergs, the glacier itself remained hidden behind a bend. Further along the shore, we were paddling past some great waterfalls that came down the huge walls of the mountains around us. That’s the wild Alaska we were looking for!

After a while of strenuous paddling, we finally could see the Portage Glacier emerge behind the bend. What a giant! I would’ve never expected it that big! Definitely the scenery for a postcard.

Approaching the Portage Glacier.

Closer and closer we kayaked towards the tall walls of the ice and felt smaller and smaller. Two parts of the glacier were still reaching the water, we aimed for both of them.

Absolutely stunning…

Also, we landed on the big nunatak between those two ice walls and climbed up to gaze at the incredible blue ice from another perspective. Soo tiny we felt, very very tiny! An awe-inspiring place.

Forgetting about time and space…

We spent a long time at the glacier, every feeling of time we already lost, which isn’t that difficult up here in Alaska. Still, the sun sank deeper and deeper and it’s been time to say goodbye to this wonder of nature.

Goodbye, Portage Glacier…

Towards the setting sun, we paddled back to our vehicle. We stranded, got the boats out of the water and carried everything back to the car. There we experienced the next shock! A window was smashed! Oh no, that was the only thing missing now…

The car kept us busy this time.

However, we quickly figured out that somehow nothing was missing. But the window was broken and had to be fixed. So instead of cooking, what we were really craving for, we first cleaned up the shards and started to tape the window. This really left a bitter taste on this otherwise wonderful day. 

It’s been so late by the time we had eaten something that driving back to Anchorage wasn’t really an option. So we quickly looked for a comfy place to sleep and spent the night up there. 

The next morning we didn’t let the fact that our window was broken destroy our plans. Up at the lake, there was a Day Lodge where we stored our valuables. Then we set the boats into the water again. This time we followed the glacier stream that left the Portage Lake and we paddled it down all the way to the ocean.

Kayaking on the Portage Creek.

A small, relaxed tour, which made renting the kayaks definitely worth it. To get back to the car Mira hitchhiked up the road while I waited with the kayaks next to the road. Shortly afterward she picked me up and we headed back to Anchorage. 

A small moose-family on the way to Anchorage.

There we brought back the kayaks and drove to my buddy Erik’s place. There we organized a new replacement window and planed our further steps. We haven’t really seen a lot of the Kenai Peninsula, so we would do a second trip. This trip will be subject of my next report.

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