July 14-15, 2022
After the Wrangells, I headed to Anchorage and stayed at the house of another friend also named Kelly for a couple weeks. One evening I borrowed her kayak and drove down the Turnagain Arm to Portage Lake. I took some drone shots near the shore and then packed my gear into a dry bag and tied it to the front of the kayak before setting out across the lake at about 11pm. I’d never done a trip like this before and it felt surreal paddling alone across the lake through the not-very-dark night. It was also a lot more challenging than I expected. I skirted the northeast shore to see the waterfalls cascading down into the lake from the mountains, then cut across toward the south end of the lake and the tongue of the Portage Glacier, paddling between small icebergs that had calved from the glacier. I took the kayak out of the water onto a rocky outcropping sort of like an island; it was connected to the mainland via the heavily crevassed glacier but otherwise it was surrounded by water, so the only way to get here was by boat (or a freezing cold swim). It was a cool destination and also pretty well fortified from bears – basically a castle guarded by a moat and a massive wall of ice. While walking around my castle sometime in the middle of the night, I unexpectedly found a nice composition with a small trickle of water running through the moraine. Then in the morning I flew the drone around before paddling back to my car and returning to Anchorage.
This was a really cool experience and a little different from what I normally do. I can see how getting more competent in a kayak could open up a whole new range of possibilities for photography adventures, especially in the Chugach and Kenai Peninsula.