Our Tatshenshini / Alsek River trips take place in the wonderfully unpredictable natural environment and there are almost limitless exploration options, Because of this our on river itineraries are always flexible and relaxed to accommodate water levels, weather, and our guest’s needs and interests.
Arrive in the small coastal fjord town of Haines Alaska and check in to the historic Halsingland Hotel. We will have a welcome dinner and orientation. If you arrive early Haines has a walkable downtown with amazing fish and chips.
(Hotel and Dinner included)
Day 2 :
After breakfast we will start the beautiful 3 hour drive up the Chilkat River valley. With passports ready we cross into Canada and arrive at Daltons Post, our waiting rafts, and the Tatshenshini River.
After lunch we will load our gear and ourselves into the boats, push off, and begin our 140 mile journey from the rolling hills of the Yukon through the Alsek and St. Elias mountain ranges to the sea. For 11 days we will float first on the Tatshenshini and then on the Alsek as they cut through the largest protected wilderness area in the world.
The first day on the water includes the Tatshenshini Gorge and the biggest whitewater of the trip. We then float into our first riverside camp near the Silver Creek area and have a “camp talk” to go over everything you need to know about our comfortable wilderness camping. In the evening we will enjoy our first dinner and night under the stars and begin to settle into life on the ‘Tat’.
Days 3 – 4:
After a hearty breakfast and plenty of time for a second cup of coffee we will break camp and head down river. Day 3 usually involves floating to our first ‘layover camp’ at Sediments Creek. On layovers we spend 2 nights at one camp and have an entire day to explore the area. In this case there will be a shorter or bigger hiking option up to high alpine country, spectacular views of the canyon, and a chance to see wandering mountain goats (or you can just relax along the banks of the river).
Day 5 – 6:
The river has now doubled and doubled again in size. We make our way through braided channels and past increasingly higher peaks. We will spend the nights at places like Alkai, Henshi, and Towagh Creek.
As we cut along the base of the Noisy Range the now massive river narrows and funnels into the lush, almost jungle like ‘S’ turns. We then fly out of the S turns into the spectacular and massive glacier-draped amphitheater that is the confluence with the Alsek. It is difficult to describe the scale and beauty of this place and it is one of the highlights of the trip. The Greek philosopher Protagoras said that ‘Man is the measure of all things’ – it will be obvious at this point that he never visited the confluence of the Tatshenshini and the Alsek. A beautiful afternoon and night will be spent in this amphitheater in the Melt Creek area.
We head onto the massive Alsek, past towering peaks, and with views of glaciers in every direction. In the afternoon we will pull up to the Walker Glacier and get a chance to see the ice up close. In the evening we can watch the light play over the glacial ice and hear its slow (but loud) movement out of the mountains. This camp is truly spectacular.
Today we usually try and spend the morning getting close to the Walker Glacier before pushing off downstream again towards the ‘Spit’ and Alsek lake. We will pass the Novatak Glacier – part of one of the largest icefields outside of the poles – and below the base of the Brabazon Range. The night is spent on the spit that separates the Alsek river from Alsek lake. At this point the combination of the sheer scale and beauty of the surroundings and the sounds of the glaciers calving into Alsek Lake is almost surreal.
Day 10 – 11:
We make our way into or around the lake to our camp on Gateway Knob. This can be a short or long day depending on iceberg locations and weather. But either way it is worth it. There are few places on Earth with views like this. We will layover here and spend the next two nights along the edge of Alsek Lake with time to explore the Knob and the lake. Weather permitting, we will paddle out into the lake for close up views of the massive icebergs and calving glaciers. If the weather is just right we will see Mount Fairweather rising above the ice and peaks.
After an early morning breakfast, we pack up one last time and head through the ‘bergs’ and back into the current of the Alsek River. Around lunch we float into the Dry Bay outpost where you will say goodbye to most of the guides and take a spectacular small plane flight to Yakutat. Most guests will take the late afternoon Alaska airlines flight to Juneau.
(day 12 includes breakfast, lunch, and the charter plane to Yakutat)
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