Harding Icefield Kenai Peninsula Alaska
The Harding Icefield is an expansive icefield located in the Kenai Mountains of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. It is also partially located in Kenai Fjords National Park. It is named for United States President Warren G. Harding.
On March the 24th 2018 took a little local flight. Wasn't planning on anything special, just decided to cruise around. One thing I wanted to do was time a climb from PAEN (Kenai Airport) to 10,000 feet MSL.
Kenai is located 89ft Above Sea Level-so didn't need to adjust the altimeter as such. As I lined up on runway 2-left realized I forgot to bring my stopwatch-so decided to do the climb anyway without timing it.
Take-off roll and immediately setup trim to climb out at 80 mph which the original builder has listed as best angle. Was cleared for a Right Crosswind departure so upon reaching 600 ft AGL turned right and continued my climb towards the Chugach National Forest (Kenai Peninsula Mountains) that are located on the Kenai Peninsula. Looking to the Southeast I noticed that the Harding Icefield was looking really good!
Upon reaching 14,500 ft MSL decided to start a slow descent towards the icefield. Leveled off at 13,000 MSL and started to take movies and photos. Below are 35 of the 200+ photos I took. I'll try to describe what is shown in the photo as they are posted.
First here are a couple of views of the route flown from my Garmin Area 660 screenshots and a map that has been modified to shown the route with some names added of the various points of interest:
On the map photo I tried to add some text showing points of interest, however I could not get the color of the text to change from yellow-ish to black-will have to investigate a little more of the manual for the photo editing program I have.
Before reaching the Icefield, flew to the South of Skilak Lake here are some photos showing it-you will see it again in some future photos after I reached the turnaround point and was heading North for the return flight. These photos are looking to the North.
To finish this first post, here are a couple of photos looking directly at the Icefield-notice the smooth looking snow?
Right after taking these last two photos I started taking movies, after flying over 50% of the field, remembered to start taking photos as well. Next post continues with more photos....
Harding Icefield Photos Continued
From this position looking South you can see Alalik Bay which is part of the Kenai Fjords National Park. In the summer you can pay to take a boat from Seward that will take you to this Bay for wildlife viewing as well as watching the glacier calve into the Bay. In past years flying, have seen killer whales, and Elephant Seals in these waters. Lots of cool looking seabirds in the this area as well.
Alalik Bay opens into the Gulf of Alaska in the background:
Here is another photo looking back at Alalik Bay and the entrance to Resurrection Bay that ends at Seward, Alaska.
From this photo point I took a photo looking to the North.
Now looking to the South again in the far right of this photo is Alalik Bay, to the left is Resurrection Bay- also a view of Rugged Island.
Heading East still, Resurrection Bay Rugged Island is the small Island mostly dark that has a small patch of snow on the top. It is the first Island along the East Side of Resurrection Bay.
Heading North Now-one last look at Rugged Island.
Before turning North here is a look at the far distance-water body is called Prince William Sound far side of the mountains!
Turning North in this turn-another look at Prince William Sound:
As you can see Real rough day for flying. No bumps, it did get to 8deg F at 14,500 ft so engine performance was great!
Heading North along the West side of Resurrection Bay leading into Seward-this photo shows the State Prison on the East Side at the base of the Mountains on the delta leading into the bay.
Next are a couple of views of Seward Alaska as I head North:
I'll end here for awhile-going in to town for some RV-6 time. Will continue this thread later tonight when I get back. Another day of CAVU!
Just received a warning: to many photos so will add the last photo to start the next post when I get back.
GREAT Pictures, Probably something I will never see out of the windscreen of an RV. Thanks / DRR
Harding Icefield Cont
Sorry to hear that you don't think you can make it up. It truly is an adventure just getting here!
Thank you for the comments!
In the last post the last photo was of Seward, here is a closer look at it.
Now heading slightly North-West, these photos are looking towards the South from the North edge of the Icefield:
Now looking to the west (valley that can be seen runs almost due West from this location:
Here is a look at Exit Glacier, you can drive to this from Seward:
Ok, now looking West down the valley you can see Skilak Lake in the far distance, the lake in the middle is called Upper Russian Lake. There is a hiking trail along the Russian River. This trail is used by fisherman in the summer to fish for Red Salmon. I've rode it on my mountain bike, it is a good trail with lots of technical challenges!
Last photo for this post is a zoom of Upper Russian Lake and Skilak Lake-this photo is looking back to the West were Kenai is.
In the far, far distance are the mountains that are on the West side of Cook Inlet.
Harding Icefield Cont
Getting close to the end of the photos. In the first photo the valley to the right has at the very top the South End of Kenai Lake. It is a long lake that meanders through the mountains-you will see it again. The valley to the left is the same valley that has Skilak and Upper Russian Lakes in it.
This photo has some mountains a parts of the Kenai Lake, still heading towards the North. You see bits and pieces of water, these parts are of Kenai Lake, kind of gives the impression that it is long and twisty.
Now for some Misc. photos of the mountains along this route:
Here is a photo looking to the West again. Contains Skilak Lake and on the far side of Cook Inlet, Mt Redoubt a volcano.
What trip no matter how local is complete without a selfie?
Hope you like my little adventure! Short hop from home-base, 168 miles roundtrip!
Incredible Photos !
Absolutely beautiful. Thanks for taking the time to post the photos.
Mike, SPECTACULAR pictures!
I can't wait to see those mountains in person.
See you after the Russian leaves. I will see him before I leave for a briefing.
These pictures are enticing me to make this trip, for sure!
Update: June 10, 2018 Trip to Seward, Alaska
Saturday June 9th, a visitor stopped by the Kenai Airport (PAEN). Most of you will know who it is by checking out this photo of his RV-9A and my RV-6 parked at the Transient Parking Apron here in Kenai.
Yep, Vlad stopped in to say hello!
What a character! Within seconds he seemed like an old best friend. Mentioned he was hungry so we drove to a local favorite eating spot. Louie's has fine dining and lots of Alaska stuff to look at while waiting to eat.
As we waited for our meal to arrive we talked about lots of things. After grubbing down, we headed North to my home. On the way we stopped for some brew, from a local brewery, picked up some King Crab I had stashed over at my daughter's freezer and headed home.
Well by evenings end we were laughing, having a blast telling stories and I soon realized that a new friend worth knowing had been met!
We planned for short trip to Seward, Alaska the next day. Thinking it best to fly our RV's as a flight and take photos along the way.
This update is about that trip, it also might be described as a way to scam a free car ride from the airport to the city docks....One thing of note: When Vlad says it is a small world, best to believe him! Within hours he will prove it!
When Vlad arrived on Saturday the Kenai Airfair was just closing up. My Poker was just about over, calling the tower for landing instructions another RV called first and was to land before I got there.
The Airfair is put on every year during the first two weeks of June. Interesting airplanes show up, food and a live band play. One of the things they do is have a Kenai Peninsula Poker Run.
I signed up for the run, when Vlad contacted me about the time he would be showing up, I explained my Poker Run attempt would end at 12 noon. However due to Fog, I wasn't able to leave on my run until 12:15pm, having to be back at 2pm to get my cards.
Arriving back to Kenai at 2:30pm + a few, I heard Vlad call for landing instructions. He soon found out about Kenai weather!
Betcha' can't guess one of the reasons why we have a 7800' long runway?
Ok, the whole South end of 20R was fogged in still. As in right down to the ground....It was one of those days when the Tower says something like, " Ok to start your departure turn whenever you want to avoid the clouds".
Add a little wind and Kenai on Saturday was a fun place to land and take-off from.
I stopped in and visited the Poker Game just in time to be late, awards and prizes were already on their way to home.
Jumped back in my RV and taxied to the Transient Ramp to meet Vlad.
Then on Sunday the 10th, drove Vlad around for some photos of Kenai and surrounding landscapes/ocean views.
Finally we took off kind of late in the day for Seward by going straight over the top of the Harding Icefield. We asked to leave as a flight of two, the tower ok'd and we taxied out.
Here is a photo holding short of Runway 20R after doing a runup:
A photo over the Kenai River/Kenai on our climb-out:
Nearing the Harding Icefield approx. 9000' ASL over Skilak Lake:
At 9500' ASL and entering Harding Icefield from the West:
Clearing the cloud to the North, finally getting to a better viewing area-towards the South was clear and beautiful:
N666BK down low heading East towards Resurrection Bay and Seward:
I'll add more photos in the next post.
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