What would it be like to suddenly uproot your life and move to Alaska? That’s a question Mike Eisenhart will be happy to answer if you ask him. Eisenhart has returned from a temporary summer stay in Alaska and has plenty to tell.
Seward, Alaska was his home in the summer months and he discovered it’s a great deal different than his home in Lake Placid, Florida. Eisenhart applied and was hired to be a kayak guide for Miller’s Landing, a guide and tourism service that offers adventure and scenic tours, camping and water sport tours.
While summer in Alaska is expected to be very different from Florida, most people are surprised to discover that temperatures frequently reach the mid 70’s and rain is very common. Seward is located on Resurrection Bay on the north end of the Gulf of Alaska which flows into the Pacific Ocean. Resurrection Bay is surrounded by a series of fjords — long narrow inlets with steep sides or cliffs.
Eisenhart began his career with nine other guides at the resort, but by the time the season ended, only three of the original guides remained and none of those were from Alaska.
The resort offers many different types of kayaking trips that were guided by Eisenhart, including multi-day trips to the glaciers in the fjords. Planning for overnight camping the wilderness required a great deal of organization and preparation. Many of the tourists were from other countries, including Switzerland, Hong Kong and China.
Eisenhart discovered there are all types of kayakers — some more suited to the sport than others. “Some people just don’t belong in a kayak”, he laughs. “But the resort would provide photo opportunities for them, letting them pose in a kayak and then retreat to the lodge for refreshments.”
Kayaks are a popular water craft in the United States and are characterized by a long, narrow hull. The pilot is seated in the middle of the craft and utilizes a double ended paddle to propel the kayak through the water. It is a strenuous sport, requiring a great deal of upper body strength for even short trips.
On the trips guided by Eisenhart, tourists were placed into double kayaks and the guides remained in single person crafts for better maneuverability. Each group was prepared for the adventure with a short safety lesson and demonstration of skills that would be needed.
What prompted Eisenhart’s trip? “ I felt challenged to do something I’d never done before”, he explains. He had the kayaking skills before he left, but boating in a new environment was exciting.
But he frankly admits he was miserable, mainly because of the weather. “Even though the locals told me it was the best summer in years, I discovered I wasn’t up for a three day trip where it rained for two and half days straight!”, he says. Eisenhart explains the weather was actually at least 55 degrees and clear for more than a month and actually got above 80 for three days, but the long periods of rain were hard to take.
For more views of Eisenhart’s trip, visit his Facebook page by searching for Mike Eisenhart.
Miller’s Landing has invited Eisenhart to return, but he has declined. “I’m a fair weather kayaker”, he laughs.
If you would like to chat with Eisenhart about kayak adventures call 863-441-5365.