Kayaking Glacier Bay Nat’l Park, AK – Part 5

Day 5

Ptarmigan to Reid Inlet – 4 miles, 1.5 hours

For our full itinerary and a map of our route see Part 1.

After a quiet night with no bears, just the sound of whales spouting, it’s still dripping at breakfast.

Today we have a short paddle to Reid Inlet. The waters are calm again like our first 3 days with no swells. We leave Ptarmigan at high tide around 10 and take our time. It’s a pleasant paddle without much activity other than a few sea otters and harbor seals. The harbor seals poke their blond heads out of the water just so their big eyes are above the water looking like aliens. In the distance we also see one group of 4 kayaks heading to Orange Point.

The dripping continues until about noon when we reach Reid inlet.

Reid Inlet

At Reid Inlet there is one small cruise ship Un-cruise taking guests for a kayak or zodiac ride to the glacier. They’re gone by the time we pick a campsite and haul our gear up on the beach. We don’t see anyone else the rest of the afternoon.

Nearing low tide, before setting up camp we take the kayak closer to the glacier. You need to be careful as there are extensive mud flats at low tide like the ones in front of Lamplugh Glacier. We left the kayak about ¼ mile from the glacier on the right (west) side, facing the glacier. We had no difficulty with mud flats here. From the left (east) side at this time of year there is a river of glacial outflow in front of the glacier blocking your way to the glacier.

We walked across the mud flats to the river in front of the glacier where there were few icebergs about as this is a smaller retreating glacier with little calving action. While not as exciting as some of the others, it’s worth taking a look if you have the time.

By now the weather had cleared some, still overcast but not dripping. On the way back to camp I try my hand at getting a shot of the red feet of the pigeon guillemot.  The still water reflects the snowy mountain peaks.


Back at our chosen campsite facing the glacier we haul up the kayak. At low tide the mud is sticky and you can easily sink carrying a heavy kayak. Rain free for a couple of hours, we dry out a few things before the dripping returns around 5 p.m.

For links to all the posts in this series see the Alaska page.

June 4, 2021