Kayaking Glacier Bay Nat’l Park, AK – Part 6

Day 6

Reid Inlet to beach at Scidmore – 3.8 miles, 1.5 hours

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

For Day 7, Pick-up at Scidmore see below.

Reid Inlet

In the middle of the night we were surprised by a spectacular reflection off the water in the low light and later woke to the same reflection. It was a beautiful morning with no spitting, no wind and not too cold. The sun and blue sky were trying to poke through, though we did lose the peaks of the mountains on the main channel.

Don needed to patch the air mattress again, but this time it stayed inflated all night, yay!

We have a leisurely morning as we were leaving near the high tide at 11:30 a.m. There were more birds at Reid Inlet than we’ve seen at other places. The oyster catchers are particularly noisy, flying around in 2s and 3s making quite a fuss, even in during the middle of the night. Sea otters float by on their back.

The campsite has a nice flat sandy spot large enough for several tents. In the still, warmer air we started to see gnatty bugs near the water.

Just as we were leaving Reid Inlet at 10:30 it started to spit and drizzle on and off until 4:30 p.m. We saw a humpback as we were leaving the inlet. It’s a pleasant short paddle down the shore to near Scidmore with sightings of sea otters, harbor seals, bald eagles and a couple of humpback whales.

Beaches near Scidmore

Our target was the beach closest to Scidmore on the west side. At the first beach we tried (6.6 miles from Reid Inlet) there were not many flat spots because the flatter upper areas were still covered in snow. We also found a bear’s day bed (a bed the bear makes to place his belly in while he lies flat enjoying the day) and decided to find a different beach. Next we headed back towards Reid Inlet to another small beach we had passed. Again, there were few flat spots but again bear sign. This time a recently shredded log. So once more we headed back to the next beach towards Reid Inlet.

We had now come about halfway back to the inlet. At a rocky beach with a long walk to above the high tide line we find moose droppings and tracks but no visible signs of bears. They do, however, frequent here.

Bear at the Campsite

Turns out there is a bear here. Just after I wrote the above I went outside the tent to take photos, announcing myself first, taking the bear spray and singing “Brass in Pocket” very poorly. I take a few shots, still singing, “I’ve gotta have some of your attention…”, turn and there’s a big brown bear about 200 yards away minding his business munching on some grass. I got Don and we watched him a long while. He never got closer, continued to wander further away in fact, ate more grass and then lay down and took a nap. We decided to go ahead and eat our diner in the tidal zone all the while keeping an eye on the bear. At some point he got up and continued down the beach out of sight.

It’s a beautiful evening, mostly cloudy with patches of blue sky, a slight breeze but no dripping and not too cold. During dinner the sea was also active. A humpback passed by as well as an orca pod, several sea otters and harbor seals.

June 5, 2021

Day 7

Final Paddle to Scidmore – 4.6 miles, 1.5 hours

We had a short paddle down to Scidmore to catch the day boat back to the lodge. After a dry evening the dripping started early in the morning and continued, even increasing later in the morning to a light rain. No sign of the bear during the night or morning. While our campsite is rocky with a long slope down to the water at low tide it is not too bad to walk on with paths of smaller cobbles through the bigger rocks.

It felt colder this morning, even while wearing every layer of wool I brought with me – 2 light-weight and 2 mid-weight Smartwool pullovers, a fleece hoody and 2 pairs of long johns. However, I felt warm in the drizzle the whole way to Scidmore. We saw a couple bald eagles on the beach along the way.

When we reached the inlet at Scidmore there were 3 humpbacks feeding just off the shore on the far left (east) side of the beach. A brown bear happened to be wandering about on the same end of the beach. We banged on the kayak to make sure the whales knew we were approaching and lost sight of them. Just when we think they’ve gone back to the main channel, one pops up 75 yards from the kayak. By the time we make it to shore they had moved out a bit. I was able to get one last fluke shot, albeit fairly far out.

The rain continued, the heaviest we’ve seen yet. We unloaded the kayak and put our gear under one umbrella while we sat on a nearby rock under the other umbrella. We had arrived early so we had a long wait, but the bear stayed on his end of the beach. The day boat arrived at about 1:30. They unloaded 2 groups of kayakers, one with 7 paddlers the other 2, before taking us back on board.

After an uneventful ride back we arrived at the boat dock about 3:30.

Leah from Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks met us and checked out our kayak to make sure we hadn’t dragged it over any rocks. We checked in at the ranger station and walked the short distance back to the lodge.

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

June 6, 2021

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