Tatshenshini-Alsek_River_Rafting_Trips_Yukon_British_Columbia_Rafting

Alaska, Yukon Territory & British Columbia’s
Tatshenshini-Alsek River

Whitewater Rafting North America’s
Most Spectacular Wilderness River










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 Alaska, British Columbia, and the Yukon Territory

 
 

—Tatshenshini-Alsek —
Glaciers, Grizzlies, and Bald Eagles
 

 
 

The Tatshenshini-Alsek River rafting expedition offers adventurers a whitewater rafting trip that is unparalleled. Rafting from the Yukon Territory through British Columbia to Alaska is a journey through the largest glacial system outside of the poles. The Tatshenshini-Alsek River valley, is a wild and pristine habitat for an abundance of wildlife including brown bears, wolves, wolverine, dall sheep, mountain goats, and bald eagles. Moreover, it offers trip members a glimpse into the time when North America was emerging from the Ice Age--a world of mammoth icebergs, iridescent glaciers and snow-laden mountain ranges.

Highlights of the trip include paddling through tantalizing whitewater rapids and deft maneuvering through glacial braids and around floating ice sculptures. Three to four layover days provide natural history hikes and photographic excursions to high alpine meadows strewn with wildflowers and accessible glaciers. At trip's end, rafters drift among phantasmagorically shaped luminescent icebergs calved into Alsek Bay with majestic Mt. Fairweather (15,325 ft.) looming above them.

 

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"When for an instant, mountain mists reveal the summit: white-cloud halo on brilliant blue above the fog-wrapped mountains and sunlit river cliffs."

 

  — Dick Dauenhauer

2018
TATSHENSHINI-ALSEK
SPECIAL INTEREST TRIP DEPARTURES:

TLINGIT TALES, BEAR MYTHOLOGY LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
#1 JULY 11-23

GLACIERS, LANDSCAPE &
THE IMAGINATION;
PHOTOGRAPHY

#2 JULY 28-AUG 9

LAND COST:
Trips 1 : $4500 + tax
(5-12 members)
Trip 2: $4500 + tax (5-19 members)

GRADE: Class III+ (Intermediate)

Whitewater; For Novices and Seasoned Boaters; 7-8 days of rafting and 3-4 layover days for hiking on 13-14 day departures. Tent camping.

OVERVIEW:  

Oar boats with paddle assist, optional walking, low elevations, variable climate, tent camping. Individuals are welcome from age 14 and up on all departures. Call if you have any question about this. 

The Tatshenshini-Alsek River trip begins in the Yukon Territory, flows through British Columbia, and ends up in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park. This spellbinding river trip offers river travelers a microcosmic world view of velvety-green mosses, arctic dryas, and fireweed to the macrocosmic universe of glistening waterfalls, bounding tributaries, and towering three-mile-high peaks. these rivers travel through a landscape of sheer drama.
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Bald eagles soar overhead. Black and grizzly bear roam the shoreline. Alaskan moose, mountain goat and sheep, wolf, red and gray fox, blacktailed deer, beaver, wolverine, mink, snowshoe hare and others thrive in this natural habitat virtually untouched by man. Flocks of birds migrate or nest along the shore. Spotted sandpipers, water pipits, and northern phalaropes splash and feed. Ducks and Canadian geese imprint their profiles on the sky. Salmon inhabit the river in great numbers.

The river begins as a large canoeing stream swiftly meandering its way through a valley of luxuriant vegetation. As one's eyes scan the river banks, scores of multihued wildflowers, velvety green mosses, herbs, and berries carpet the sloping meadows which ascend through spreads of poplar, willow, birch, greasewood and cottonwood to dense, deep green forests of fir, spruce, hemlock and tamarack. After this initial stretch of river, the watercourse suddenly changes into a rugged Class III+ challenging whitewater rafting experience.

Downstream of the first day's rollicking canyon, the river broadens and moves with startling energy as it is fed by hundreds of tributaries, bounding as rivulets, torrents, cascades, and glistening waterfalls down the mountainsides. Far above tower the St. Elias range; Mount Logan (6050 m), Mount St. Elias (5489 m), and Mount Fairweather (4664 m). They are among the highest peaks of North America. Downstream of the mighty Alsek Glacier, we gain a glimpse into the time when North America was emerging from the Pleistocene. Chunks of ice drift like mammoth crystals, sculpted into phantasmagoric shapes by the sun, wind, and water. Fireweed blooms sparkle on high mountain meadows and iridescent glaciers leading to snowy mountains slant back for miles above us. Within this spellbinding macrocosm of ice fields, immense glaciers, ancient rock-strewn morraines, ice floes and lofty peaks, nature reigns supreme in beauty and magnificence. The play of light is phenomenal. When backlit, the peaks are burnished in gold against the sky. A whitewater rafting trip through this unspoiled, primordial world defies description, yet imprints itself sensuously upon us as we experience in varied states of exalted physicality the spirit of one of Alaska's wildest and most pristinerivers. Our Special Trips have an educational theme (natural history, Tlingit oral narrative, Alaskan wilderness literature, and photography) and are led by experts in their fields.

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"It has been a couple of months since our journey down the Tatshenshini River but not one day has passed that I have not thought of some aspect of it. What a fabulous experience that was! I have such a great appreciation for the work that you are doing to give people like myself an opportunity to go to such a remote and awesomely magnificent place that would otherwise be completely out of grasp. I hope you keep up the good work because your are giving people a transformational experince— what a way to help make the world a better place. So, thank you, I'm glad I was there!"

— Diana Hull








ITINERARY

Day 1 Hometown-Haines, Alaska

Day in transit from hometown to Juneau and then onto Haines.

Day 2 Haines-Dalton Post-Arctic Dryas Camp
After breakfast, van ride 103 miles over the coastal mountains into the Yukon to Dalton Post. Shove off on our spirited river.
Run a steep slate canyon with resounding whitewater. Camp on a old glacial flood plain with views of the Alsek Range downstream.

Day 3 Arctic Dryas Camp to Wildflower Camp

The morning paddle takes us through rich, dense, deciduous woodlands. The river valley widens and the mountains rise. First glaciers are seen in the distance as we begin cutting through the Alsek Range.


Day 4 Wildflower Camp
A layover day. We will take a long nature walk and individual and group photographic instruction will be available. We will then climb to a meadow of wildflowers. Some, may want to climb to the high alpine tundra for views of unnamed peaks.

tatshenshini_alsek_river_trips_tatshenshini_provincial_park_british_columbia_whitewater_raftingDay 5 Wildflower Camp-The Braids
We maneuver downstream. The river's pace suddenly increases and we remain constant
ly alert and responsive to the braiding of the river channels and its mesmerizing backlit qualities. Camp "in the braids."

Day 6 Camping in the Braids-Center of the Universe Camp

As we spin and whorl downstream, we gain glimpses of the Grand Pacific Glacier. One can
see 18 distinct glaciers during this stretch of river. We cut through a densely overgrown canyon and arrive at our camp in the center of immense glaciers and snow-capped mountains.

Day 7 "Center of the World Camp"
Layover day. This is one of the finest places for doing nature photography, taking a brisk hike, or catching up with your Alaskan reading material.

Day 8 "Center of the World Camp"-Walker Glacier

Pass the confluence of the Alsek and the Tatshenshini and continue down to ca
mp with with extraordinary panoramic views. We'll set up camp at the foot of the emerald-colored Walker glacier.
Hike up onto the glacier and peer into deep blue crevasses. In the evening, slow-melting glaciers crackle and groan in the distance.

Day 9 Walker Glacier-Alsek Spit
Drifting down an avenue of glaciers with nearly two dozen rivers of ice in sight at one time, the scenery is overwhelming. Terrific views of Mt. Fairweather and the Alsek Glacier. Camp on the "The Spit."

Days 10-11 Alsek Lake

Rest and exploration. The wildflower fields and rock
gardens are incredible, but seem insignificant compared to the floating wonders of the iceberg-filled bay. We'll take a river sauna and have a triumphal feast.

Day 12 Alsek Lake-Dry Bay-
Yakutat-Juneau


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With views of Mt. Fairweather and the Alsek Glacier, we  sneak past icebergs and hea
d to the lush coast. We degear and board our small planes to Yakutat.
Take a jet back to Juneau, transfer hotel, and have a farewell dinner.

Day 13 Juneau-Hometown
Van transportation to the Juneau airport, board flights to hometown.




© 2009. All Rights Reserved. Revised Dec., 2016.
James Henry River Journeys.

For a more comprehensive trip itinerary with images and additional information about this departure, please go to our Expanded Itinerary and Trip Details and to Tatshenshini-Alsek Photography Workshop Details

To read more about our Special-Interest Trips on this river, go to Tatshenshini-Alsek Special Trips.

 

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