We’d be remiss if we didn’t start this trip page out with a commentary baout that magical color. Turquoise.
It’s all about the ice.
Yes, the ice.
Glacial lakes are formed by, of course, glaciers. The advancing glacier erodes the underlying rock, grinding up the rock and mineral into the finest of sediments we call “glacial flour”. That sediment is so fine it tends to suspend in water. As the glacier recedes and a lake is formed behind it, the sediment becomes tends to suspend in the water, rather thank sink to the bottom.
That suspended sediment supports populations of algae,which tend to turn the water green.
But the turquoise isn’t green.
Nope. The turquoise color is a function of light refracting as it hits those particles in the water. The finer and more of those suspended sediment particles, the richer that blue color becomes. More light is refracted because of the greater surface area of all that finer sediment.
We offer this as basically 2 different trips. The first is a simple basecamp, 4 days, a nice stay in the backcountry, a nice quick “get away”. This is a pretty good option for someone not looking for a big adventure or looking to spend too many nights in the backcountry.
This basecamp works great for families and folks wanting an easier trip to a spectacular location.
The Turquoise Lake basecamp trip is designed for folks that don’t have a week to spend in the backcountry. Perfect for those on a multi-location Alaska jaunt who want to visit multiple places. And there are few finer ways to spend some time than basecamping by Turquoise Lake.
The Basepack option involves moving camp, and takes a little longer. We’ll spend a few days at one end of the lake, then pack up and packraft to the far end of the lake and camp there for a few days.
This trip we’ll aim to spend 7 days in the backcountry. And you’ll see a bit more, and do lot more.
The packraft is easy paddling and we provide all the gear you need for that.
What kind of backpack should we bring?
My advice for virtually all backcountry trips is to bring a backpack you can carry all your gear in. A duffel will work, sometimes, but it’s not a flexible option if we need to change from Plan A to Plan B. Having something you can put on your back and haul your gear 1/2 mile down the way is a MUCh better choice than a dufel that you don’t want to carry, even with a helper, more than 100 yards or so.
Bring a smaller daypack as well, for your raingear, insulation, snacks, camera, etc for all day hikes.
We’ll obvously discuss these options before your trip, but just know that the easier we can be mobile, the more flexible we can be to meet the variabl ever-changing conditions.
How buggy is it?
We’re camping beside a lake below treeline. That means, it Alaska, it can be buggier than you’d like, particularly July.
This too, changes year to year. But yes, it can be buggy. bring a headnet and some bug spray, long-sleeve bugproof clothing and you’ll find they’re not really too probelmatic.
More info on the 2 trip options?
Sure. The basepack is a combination of backpacking and basecamping, or packrafting and camping. We can do either, depending on your preference.
Either way, you want to pack your gear in a backpack,a duffel, if you choose this option. It’s a lot easier to move from one end of the lake to the other this way, whether we hike or paddle.
There are exceptional hiking opportunities at either of Turquoise Lake, and this longer BasePack option gets you to both of them.
The shorter basecamp is pretty self-explanatory. 4 days, without moving camp, to soak up the wilderness of Turquoise Lake.
Can we book a basecamp trip if we don’t own any camping gear?
You sure can.
Fully outfitting your trip is $250.00 per person, with group discount available. For single individual items, contact me and we’ll see what you need and work that out. A tent (1 or 2 person) is $200.00 per person for the trip. If you just want us to handle food, and have all your own gear (tent, etc) that’s $225.00 per person.
What kind of menu do we get with the food purchase?
Another thing to remember is Expeditions Alaska isn’t a simple “production line” outfit. Guides all have their own systems and menus and favorites, so we don’t have a generic “here’s your trip menu” at all. Menus vary trip to trip. Often a lot.
What I can tell you is you’ll enjoy good food. Really good food. Whether it’s a great pizza, a dish of Pad Thai or greek salad or a lentil soup, I assure you that you’ll appreciate your guides’ culinary expertise. Good food takes a bit extra effort, but can really help bring your trip experience up a notch. Or three.
We do our best to accommodate most dietary requirements, tastes and preferences. We have a comprehensive food form for you to complete and we’ll do our very best from there to put together a menu for the trip that you’ll enjoy.
Do you have a Gear Check List?
Oh yeah. Right here
Upon your reservation I’ll also send out a detailed Trip Information Packet with more than enough information on gear to keep you busy. Until then the above check list is a good outline of what you need.
What’s A Fully Outfitted Trip Involve?
That is trip dependent.
For backpacking trips, a fully outfitted option includes your tent (one or two person tent), all your kitchenware, food and cooking by Expeditions Alaska. A typical trip, up to 12 days long, costs an additional $450.00 per person for the fully outfitted option ($350 for 4 day trips or shorter).
Available “á la carte” options are (per person)
Food/cooking $325.00 (up to 4 day trip duration)
Food/cooking $425 (any trip 5 days or longer)
For personal items such as a backpack, or sleeping pad, talk to me prior to your trip and we’ll see if we can possibly arrange something. If you need a pack I recommend you rent a backpack from a reputable local outfitter. They can find and fit a pack to you rather than “making do” with one of mine that may or may not be a good fit for you.
Items such as BRFC, bear spray, fuel, hiking poles are included gratis with Expeditions Alaska trips. See What’s Included? for more info.
What comes with the Food Add-on?
If you’d like, Expeditions Alaska can handle your backcountry food for the trip. Cost depends on trip length, but it’s typically $325 for a 2-4 day trip, and $425 for a trip 5 days or longer (backcountry days).
We will organize and pack the food, handle all backcountry prep, as well as pots and pans, the stove/s, fuel and your mess kit. Assistance for cleanup and dishes is always appreciated, but not requisite.
NB: this means, if we’re doing food for your trip, you must arrive with requisite space in your backpack for your share of the food. This typically means a BV500, sized 8.7 in. diameter. (22.1cm) x 12.7 in. (32.3cm) height. There’ll also be your mess kit (cup, bowl, cutlery, etc) and maybe some additional group gear, whether it’s a fuel bottle, stove or pan or skillet. In general your guide will carry the bulk of this stuff, but we certainly can’t and don’t intend to carry all of it. So don’t arrive with a backpack packed full, no space left in it, if we’re doing your food for you. Your food goes in your pack.
What’s Included/Not Included (Lake Clark Trips)
All trips and trip prices include the following.
* Professional Guide Service: Experience is paramount, as is a friendly, flexible atmosphere for your trip, and Expeditions Alaska go out of our way to bring that to the backcountry. I know the routes, the natural history and the place as well as anyone, and all the best campsites! Backcountry camping in Alaska can be intimidating for a novice and even for some intermediate and experienced hikers. A qualified guide service can go a long way to minimizing problems that may come up. Customers returning for
seven eight nineten consecutive hiking trips with Expeditions Alaska speaks volumes for the value of a good guide.
* Travel: For our Lake Clark trips, we charter a return flight right from Anchorage to the park. This saves travel time and seems to be a better logistical choice for our guests that flying down to Port Alsworth and then connecting a flight in and out of the park. Fewer moving pieces makes life a little easier for everyone.
* Gear: We can provide all cookware, fuel, etc for the trip. If you want to bring your own, let us know. We can get the fuel you need as it’s not possible for you to fly with any fuel in your luggage. If you would prefer a fully outfitted trip we can accommodate that. You’ll need to bring your personal gear, such as sleeping bag and backpack. We’ll also provide bear resistant food canisters and bear spray for the trip. Expeditions Alaska trips will also provide a cook tent for the trip. We also provide hiking poles for you if you don’t have your own.
* Safety: Any professional guide service puts safety first. This means caution, it means responsibility and it means an excellent knowledge of the area: the terrain, wildlife and travel, backcountry camping and safety. Fully qualified Wilderness First Aid certification. A satellite phone available for emergency backcountry service if necessary and a backup emergency messaging device such as Delorme inReach or PLB. We bring a GPS, map and compass on every route we do. This is an owner-operated business and all participants can feel confident knowing they’re not getting an intern or inexperienced guide for their trip.
* Storage: Extra travels items that won’t be needed while we’re in the backcountry.
What’s Not Included?
Expeditions Alaska do not provide the following, unless otherwise specified.
a) food and camping gear — Expeditions Alaska will outfit your trip if you would like us to. For a minimal addition in cost, I’m glad to supply food and camping gear (you will need your own personal gear, such as sleeping bag, pad, clothes, pack, etc). Any specific items you may need help with, just send me an email or call me and I’ll work it out for you.
b) travel arrangements to Anchorage from outside Alaska.
c) trip insurance.
d) travel meals. Any hotel or lodge meals we eat in the front country are not included in your price. So if we stop to eat along the road, for example, we do not pick up the tab for that.
d) guide gratuities.
Because of the nature of backcountry adventure, trips vary year to year. Each of the trips is also available for longer or shorter durations, and trip prices vary accordingly. Similarly, group bookings (3 or more participants) can usually receive discounts (depending on flight arrangements).
For more information, contact us using the Contact Form here.
All clients complete the backcountry waiver before departing for any of our trips.
Reserving your place on a trip requires a 50% deposit. Deposits are non-refundable. All tripsbe paid in full 45 days prior to the scheduled departure date.
If the client cancels on a trip paid in full, 90% of the price can be deferred to another trip within the next 12 months, provided that
i) Expeditions Alaska is able to fill the spot,
ii) the trip is full and
iii) 30 days notice is given.
If cancellation is within 30 days of the trip only 75% of the fee can be carried over to a future trip. No refunds are given for cancellations within 14 days of the trip departure.
Expeditions Alaska reserves the right to cancel and/or modify the itinerary of a trip. You will be refunded your payment in full if Expeditions Alaska cancels your trip.
If weather or other factors delay or impede your trip, there will be no refund of fees. Expeditions Alaska is not responsible for any other costs incurred by the client as a result of the cancellation. Additional costs incurred through weather delays and itinerary changes are the responsibility of the client.
Expeditions Alaska strongly recommends you purchase Trip Insurance and will provide you with a list of trip insurance agents/companies.
I Have More Questions
I know you do. I do as well.
I recommend starting with the General Trip FAQ page
Upon your reservation I’ll also send out a comprehensive trip information packet that covers just about everything and more you might imagine about your trip.
Work hard, see far
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Front seat to a bear fight.
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Expeditions Alaska can’t control the weather but Rhane, our guide helped our group cope with a week of rain by staying optimistic, positive and by providing a dinner and cook tent which he carried: his pack was 70 pounds – he’s an animal! Get the food package, it is worth it, the Guide prepared delicious […]From: Pagosa Springs, ColoradoNumber of Trips: 1
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First time in the backcountry exceeded my expectations
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I had a great time.
This trip met my expectations. The yoga and meditation were perfect for all levels. I am a beginner at both, but more experienced ladies were able to challenge themselves. I would have liked to have hiked more, but being in a group of mixed abilities, … I was the weakest link in the pack rafting, […]From: Wasilla, AKNumber of Trips: 1
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Logistics & Itinerary
This one is pretty simple.
You need to be in Anchorage the night before your trip and overnight there (not included).
We meet you in Anchorage at our Air Taxi office, last minute gear check, load up and fly in to Turquoise Lake. We’ll provide you with the location and time before hand.
On our flight out of Lake Clark National Park we arrive back in Anchorage at the air taxi office, unload and say our goodbyes.
Plan on overnighting that night and departing absolutely no sooner than 24 hours later. Even better, I strongly recommend you plan on 2 or more nights in Anchorage. Weather delays are everything for bush plane flights.
We’ll fly in to Turquoise Lake, and setup camp. Exactly where will depend on a few things, including the scope of your trip, and if there are other campers in the area.
Once we establish our basecamp, we’ll have days free to hike and explore the tundra and high country as well as some of the surrounding lowlands.
Dayhikes vary in length and time, with the weather, the scope of the group, and so on. Flexiilbity is key here.
Our final day we’ll eat a hearty breakfast, pack up camp and meet our air taxi for the flight back to Anchorage.