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).
Continue reading “Rafting the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers (End) 13/25-Aug-2018”
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.
Continue reading “Rafting the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers (Days 7-8) 13/25-Aug-2018”
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.
Continue reading “Rafting the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers (Days 4-6) 13/25-Aug-2018”
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.
Continue reading “Rafting the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers (Day 3) 13/25-Aug-2018”
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).
Continue reading “Rafting the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers (Days 1-2) 13/25-Aug-2018”
In the last 20 years or so, we’ve had the opportunity to float (raft/canoe/kayak) some of the great rivers in the U.S. – the Colorado River from Lees Ferry through the Grand Canyon to Diamond Creek, Southern Oregon’s Rogue River, the lower Green River in Utah, the Middle Fork and Main Stem of the Salmon River in Idaho, and the upper Yampa River in Colorado. The one thing all these have in common is that they are in the drier regions of the western U.S. – some might call them warm “desert” rivers. Our search for a rafting trip in a different location and climate took us to an 11-day adventure on the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers, which are large volume, swift glacial rivers in Canada and Alaska.
Continue reading “Rafting the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers (Overview) 13/25-Aug-2018”