Rafting the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers (End) 13/25-Aug-2018

Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska

DAY 9: Walker Glacier to Gateway Knob

Rain dogged us as we ate breakfast, broke camp, loaded the rafts, and started off toward Alsek Lake.  And then the wind picked-up. I have to say that sitting on a cold raft in damp clothes while being flayed by the wind and rain is not my happy place but it did produce a sincere promise to upgrade my rain gear (sorry, but GoreTex just doesn’t cut it under these conditions).

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Rafting the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers (Days 7-8) 13/25-Aug-2018

Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska

DAY 7: Melt Creek to Walker Glacier

During the night, the weather Morlocks moved some levers and spun some valves and we awoke to cold, leaden skies – ones eager to give us a wetting. Who’s wearing shorts now little Eloi? Eh? Packing-up and eating breakfast got us warm and, shortly after leaving Melt Creek, we entered the Alsek River, for a dramatic jump in river size and power – the Alsek is over a kilometer wide at the confluence. It’s one of a small number of river systems which breach the coast range and, in 2016, when it captured the flow of the Slims River after the retreat of Kaskawulsh Glacier, became the first (but probably not the last) river to be re-organized by human-caused climate change.

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Rafting the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers (Days 4-6) 13/25-Aug-2018

Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska

DAY 4: Sediments Creek to Alkie Creek

The plan for the day after the big hike to Goat Ridge was for a leisurely (and short) float to a camp at Alkie Creek. After dragging our sore carcasses out of our Bags of Decadence, we tottered over for another varied and filling breakfast before packing-up and loading the rafts. We were graced with yet another mild (for almost 60º north latitude) and sunny day for our scenic float to Alkie Creek.  Once there, we pitched camp, napped, and/or wandered around (but not too far because of the bears) looking at the landscape. Where we live, creek usually means a waterbody that we can (except during the Spring runoff) either step across or easily wade across.  Here creek is really a river – usually a cold, swift, turbulent, cloudy one that you’d try to cross at your peril.

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Rafting the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers (Day 3) 13/25-Aug-2018

Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska

On Day 3, we laid-over at Sediments Creek to provide a long dayhike to those interested in doing such a thing; but lounging around camp was also a popular option. The hike (also called the Sobeck Hike after the rafting company that pioneered it) climbs 950 m (3,100 ft) in 5.4 km (3.4 mi) to alpine habitat on Goat Ridge west of the Tatshenshini.

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Rafting the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers (Days 1-2) 13/25-Aug-2018

Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska

After gathering in Whitehorse, we drove to Haines Junction to caffeinate and carbo-load at the Village Bakery.  From there it was an out-and-back drive to the U.S. border to have our passports checked. You used to be able to phone this in but now its an extra 150 km (90 mile) of driving to appear in-person, for no discernible reason (ah, but then security has its own logic).

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