Author Topic: Portage Lake - swans, ice burgs, glacier  (Read 1250 times)

deepmud

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Portage Lake - swans, ice burgs, glacier
« on: November 17, 2019, 10:34:25 AM »
Andrew and I finally went with me to Portage Lake last week (11/9/19) . It's a about 2 hours to get there from my place, so I had to get going pretty early to be there before 10-ish. We had back up plans - too much wind (Portage gets pretty wicked winds sometimes) we'd float Portage Creek out of the valley instead - but it was dead calm. Super foggy and about 35-40f. I brought my Blue Planet Touring isup, Andrew has the 14' Starboard (which is REALLY quiet and smooth in the flat water, hardly makes a ripple below 4 mph) . We parked near the Whittier Tunnel at the end of the lake, and loaded up our boards  with gear. I should mention - winter is late this year - yesterday we finally got snow on the ground. This year was a very late fall, but most the local lakes were already frozen over. Portage Lake isn't terribly big - about 3 miles by 1, but it is 600 feet deep - it takes a bit longer to freeze. It also doesn't warm much in summer - the ice bergs last for weeks.

Videos are not edited at all - just a series of shorts added in among the photos.


deepmud

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Re: Portage Lake - swans, ice burgs, glacier
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2019, 10:36:54 AM »
Sometimes it was tough to keep balance, the lack of horizon threw me off. I am sure if I hadn't been paddling a few years, it would have been impossible. But we keep to one shore to help.

deepmud

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Re: Portage Lake - swans, ice burgs, glacier
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2019, 10:40:34 AM »
As we got near the end of the lake, there is some beach, and out of the fog we could hear swans honking.
They were hard to see, and the video hardly shows them at all - but there were 50 to 100 - maybe more?


deepmud

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Re: Portage Lake - swans, ice burgs, glacier
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2019, 10:43:51 AM »
Even as we got to where we should see it, the glacier was hidden. Kind of added to the sensation of wildness, things slowly appearing out of mist.

deepmud

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Re: Portage Lake - swans, ice burgs, glacier
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2019, 10:47:31 AM »
We paddled into a mini-fjord, and clambered up a steep scree to get onto the rocks above - this rock is dividing the last portions of Portage that is still reaching the water.

deepmud

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Re: Portage Lake - swans, ice burgs, glacier
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2019, 10:51:02 AM »
When you are the cameraman, you don't gee seen much :D My O'Neal drysuit - warm and cozy - but I wish I had paid more and got one with a "relief zipper" :D

deepmud

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Re: Portage Lake - swans, ice bergs, glacier
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2019, 10:54:58 AM »
Climbed back down - got up closer to the face of the glacier. Not interested in being crushed by a calving chunk of ice, we didn't get too close.

deepmud

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Re: Portage Lake - swans, ice burgs, glacier
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2019, 10:57:14 AM »
ha - can't post "just pics" - so words added. :D

deepmud

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Re: Portage Lake - swans, ice burgs, glacier
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2019, 11:03:38 AM »
oh - and the swans were taking off as the fog began to lift. This is from the bottom of that mini-fjord.





Back across the lake, we had a lunch, and took pics of the glacier as it came into view.  We also met some hikers who had come over Portage Pass (a portage from Knik Arm to Whittier and Prince William Sound. I shared my cold pizza I had packed with the guy who was from Kentucky - he works in Anchorage, and every time he gets a few day off, he travels around the state. I felt the stoke :D he is having the time of his life.


deepmud

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Re: Portage Lake - swans, ice burgs, glacier
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2019, 11:06:34 AM »
We headed back  - with wind behind pushing the fog, it was quite beautiful. Andrew has one of those sails to catch a free ride, but it's jinxed - a sure way to stop wind - or today, he caught a ride for a bit, but as soon as the wind saw what he was doing, it switched into our faces lol.

deepmud

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Re: Portage Lake - swans, ice burgs, glacier
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2019, 11:11:36 AM »
Even after the wind switched, and later died down again, we had waves behind us - it was downbreezing :D I could do about 4.5/5.5 mph with little effort. Andrew dropped back to fold his sail - I kept looking over my shoulder now and then.

I really had a bad moment. I looked over my right shoulder after a bit - and couldn't see him. I decide to stop and turn ( I can't look around much or I fall right off ) -- and I looked and as more and more lake showed nothing, I felt sick. Nothing  but rippling water. When did he fall in? I didn't hear a shout.

Then I looked to my right - he had nearly passed me up the middle of the lake. Note to self - keep track of your buddies on the water. I don't like that feeling.

deepmud

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Re: Portage Lake - swans, ice burgs, glacier
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2019, 11:14:12 AM »
Last views up the lake.

I also loaded up a 20 pound chuck of glacier and had managed to not lose it all the way back.

12 year old scotch and 10,000 year old ice - :D

:EDIT: I took about 50 pics on my cell - and had my gopro taking images every 2 seconds some of the time from the bow - I'll add a few pictures or vids later as I have time - but I wanted to push this story out before I let let it go too long and forgot :D
« Last Edit: November 17, 2019, 11:16:12 AM by deepmud »

JEG

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Re: Portage Lake - swans, ice burgs, glacier
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2019, 12:50:42 PM »
stunning and well done, nature is soo good.

TallDude

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Re: Portage Lake - swans, ice burgs, glacier
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2019, 02:13:38 PM »
What a beautiful place Deep. My wife and I want to take a trip to Alaska some day. Neither of us are cruise ship people, so a road trip minus the Alaskan Highway ;D

deepmud

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Re: Portage Lake - swans, ice burgs, glacier
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2019, 06:14:21 PM »
I'd actually consider a cruise of the Inside Passage - it's the only way you'll see that part(almost roadless), and unlike other cruises - instead of just being on a boat from place to place - the boat would be IN that place the whole time - you'd want to be on deck all day long or looking out your cabin window. The ferry system might be a way to make a road trip out of it but it is underfunded and there isn't enough trips - they get sold out way ahead. Maybe a small ship, some specialty tour? Might be too expensive but that part of Alaska is truly amazing. Well - it all is, but I didn't get to the Southeast till a few years ago as part of my work. I've been an Alaskan most of my life - but I've still only seen bits and pieces. You could come up and spend all your road trip just in the Kenai Peninsula - it's like the size of Ireland -  but only one road :D top to bottom.

If you had enough money to get to Wood/Tikchik State Park - wow. Scenery that boggles my mind. I've day-dreamed of paddling the lakes - they zig-zag down, a series of freshwater fjords.