A pair of paddleboarders have recently completed an expedition that was only taken on previously by those in kayaks. Friends Michelle Eshpeter and Lee Paskar completed a stand-up paddleboard expedition in the back-country area of Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. Near the end of September the pair spent four days together paddling around Beardslee Islands.
Paddleboarding is a quick growing sport, especially in areas such as Squamish. Eshpeter, who is a fitness instructor, said that she was inspired by her paddleboard teacher Norm Hann to take on the journey. Before making the four day journey, Eshpeter gained some long-distance paddleboarding experience by taking an overnight trip down the Yukon River.
“It’s a very dynamic coastal environment, and my advice is to go with someone who is a qualified wilderness guide and knows what they are doing, or to be very self-sufficient and experienced in dealing with coastal weather and remote ocean travel,” he said.
“Glacier Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and most of the places have protocols and permits that are needed for travel through these areas.”
Throughout their journey, the paddleboarding pair enjoyed being close to nature and watching the wildlife. They mentioned seeing bears near the waters edge, having seals and humpback whales frolic around them in the water. Near Bear Trap Cove the pair hit rough waters and large swells, but made it safely through. Eshpeter is already planning her next cold-water paddleboard expedition to take place in Haines, Alaska.
For the full story on Eshpeter and Paskar, as well as photos, click the link to check out the story on Squamish Chief.