November 11, 2018
Tatshenshini River, Alaska
Aug 23 to Sept four, 2018
By Dave Slover
Here we go once more, my seventh trip to a wilderness river in Alaska. We’ve carried out the Charley/Yukon, Alsek, Glad, Hula Hula, Kobuk, Aniakchak and now the Tatshenshini river. This trip looks like a trip after the wind swept and cold journey on the Hula Hula last yr.
As all the time, we’ve got 12 to 15 guys all paddling 2-person Aire Lynx or Clothes shop kayaks and we all use Werner Powerhouse paddles. We paddle solo in these boats so there’s room for 10 days of drugs, meals and beverages. The Tat has a allow restrict of 15 and so that is our group measurement for 2018. The wonderful thing about our group is that Jon C, our logistics and planning leader, assigns each workforce member a selected set of jobs. Everyone does their thing and once again many palms made mild work. By sharing the load, we all get to hitch the trip feeling like a workforce and figuring out and trusting that we’ll get where we have to be, on time (principally), with the stuff we have to have a protected trip with all of the food and beverage a bunch of 54 to 62 yr previous’s may need.
By our calculations through the years we end up with about 400 lbs of weight per group member. That’s human weight, boats & paddles, food & beverage, group gear, private gear and safety gear. We’re a modified British expedition, removed from going ultralight but in addition nimble compared to taking huge rafts and the like. One of the funniest things I hear individuals say is “you take soft coolers. What about the bears?” Nicely, final time I noticed a bear tear up a cooler was on the Rogue river and it was a stout igloo brand. If the bear needs it there’s not much we will do.
Day 0: Hood River to Fall Metropolis 265 miles. Depart Hood River to satisfy up with John M and TK, three hours to drive up to the kick off dinner at the Frontier Tavern in Fall Metropolis. Not the most effective steak dinner but the beer and firm made up for any food issues. Wilderness Norm Put on a tempo and wanted a experience house. Joke of the day…John and TK tell me they only put all their retirement cash in T payments and that I ought to work out the best way to do the same. In 2007 we have been on the Charley when the stock market fell apart and these guys didn’t need a repeat in 2018. Thanks guys, I’m 12 hours from being off the grid and I don’t have quick access to my retirement funds (meager as they’re…), I determine to cross my fingers and let it experience.
Day 1: Fly SEA to Juneau to Haines 1624 miles. 4 am frenzy to the airport for the 7 am flight. Weather good, no delays, everyone in Haines by 1 pm. We spend the afternoon ending our provisioning (John R set us up with great food and plenty of it!) and getting personally organized. We’ve a rambunctious dinner at the Lodge Halsingland, throughout dinner two tables close to us ask to be moved, sorry people. Peter is the winner tonight as the bottles of wine stream with reckless abandon. Greatest story from the day is Norm throwing up at the airport in Seattle at 6 within the morning after his massive night time at the Frontier. 58 and he nonetheless can’t maintain his liquor…ode to the Rogue…
Put in Frenzy
Day 2: Haines to Upper Tatshenshini river put in 78 miles. Well timed begin with Alaska River Outfitters transporting us to the put in. Getting to the Tat put in is an issue, Haines is in SE Alaska but the put in is in Canada and we have now to register with Parks Canada and Kluane Provincial Park. Gary oversees all this, and he has us all very nervous, no firearms allowed into Canada (keep in mind Mike B), restricted alcohol and no weed. Uh Oh, better thoughts our manners. The blokes at the border are very good and move us by way of even with Jimmy and his personal letter of “I need forgiveness”. Canada does not like American Riff Raff. Once across the border we’ve got a choice to make about put ins, choose the normal Dalton Submit spot or go upstream to the Blanchard or the upper Tatshenshini river. Since we come to the Upper Tat first Andy drives us down to take a look at the river. There’s sufficient water and it seems good, so we determine to go for it proper here. Utilizing this spot with our IK’s ought to be wonderful, it’s going to give us two days of additional class II & III rapids, a bit bit of clear water to fish and make the trip a bit more fascinating within the upper reaches. This upper river isn’t beneficial for absolutely loaded rafts and after doing it I might agree. We pack up, launch and head out for 7 – eight miles of flat water and straightforward class II rapids. No issues on the water, spirits are high, and we find a nice camp throughout from the Blanchard river. Peter wins the contest for a second night time, retirement has modified his demeaner a bit! He did go to mattress pretty early. For many who received as much as pee there was a nice show of the Northern lights.
Higher Tatshenshini river paddling
Day three: Blanchard to Takahannee 9 miles. This is the upper canyon section with class III rapids and plenty of fun paddling. The group is paddling properly with no capsizes or other mishaps. Camp on a pleasant island in front of the Takahanne. Thus far, some eagles however no bears in addition to a couple foot prints. Good music session in camp and we had a gaggle of pack-rafters and hard-shell kayakers cruise by our camp late within the day.
Day 4: Takahanne to Silver Creek – Passing Dalton Submit – 22 miles. Great rapids under Dalton Publish, three swims right now. Invoice washed off an enormous pour over and did the fasted self-rescue I’ve ever seen. Then Tremendous G and Bones obtained caught up in some swirly water at Pirates headwall. Bones rode it out for a while before getting back collectively but Super G shouted out that he was not going to bump his butt on the underside of the river so he made three large back strokes, stood up and pulled his boat out of the water with him. Huge move but he was missing 1 factor, his paddle. We had it down stream a bit however he was on an island so he jumped again in his boat, hand paddled close to by and I rifled him out the paddle for a perfect catch. He should have been a decent finish the best way he caught that paddle.
My #three Man!
Day 5: Silver Creek to Sediments Creek 22 miles. Rain at present, group acquired cut up up within the braids, John M acquired misplaced within the back (shock!) and got here by a few ½ mile to our left. We received back collectively and made a pleasant camp at Sediments. On their lonesome in an enormous wide-open area, group in good spirits.
Day 6: Sediments to Towagh Creek 29 miles. We have now a mellow morning after which a busy afternoon. Two swimmers at Alki creek. River chief failed the group a bit right here by forgetting to a) learn the guidebook b) hold the workforce collectively and c) be in rescue place. Oh nicely it all worked out. Let me say the aspect current of Alki Creek flowing in at 90 levels makes an enormous boil for a bit of IK on the Tatshenshini. Today has constructing water quantity combined with robust whitewater. Mark C had a fast self-rescue while Dave W spent a little bit of time being chased by Jimmy and John M. All of it labored out with no misplaced gear or damaged our bodies, just a fun story to inform on a shiny sunny day. At present our common velocity was around eight.5 mph and we hit a max of 11.6 at one point. Saw a bear on river right while floating and had some logistical points moving into camp as there’s bank erosion from current excessive water.
Jimmy and Dave paddle again to shore!
Quotes from the river:
“This is a bit of a shit show today” Dave S.
“Did you go down the different Channel?” Corriveau to Menefee
“Magic Carpet Ride” Corriveau’s life!
“Am I still your #3 guy?” Menefee to Slover
And for later in the journey…
“Let’s talk about the elephant in the room” Gary Okay.
Day 7: Towagh Creek to Confluence 15 miles. We camp on the left at Melt creek, again bank injury makes stepping into camp a bit of labor, but we pull it off. The elephant and his little buddy Jim are within the eddy ready to steer the rest of the “group” into the tough eddy at camp. Before we depart Towagh creek we see a nice bear stroll up the river throughout from us after which another up Towagh creek wash. After yesterdays debacles we get the guide guide out and determine to keep the group together via the S-turns, we have now a protected day besides we do not know the place Gary and Jim are (outdoors of someplace downstream…). The S-turns are not any huge deal and all of us group up at Confluence camp for an enormous night. Ultimate 4 for the evening Kevin, Bill, Gary and Invoice (no that’s Bill twice, should have been Jimmy). Peter has pale out of late-night rivalry. Some night rain and low clouds around. This place is extremely scenic! Mike B makes a pleasant camp hearth, like he has completed day by day of the trip.
Bear at Towagh Creek
Day eight: Layover at Confluence. The Tatshenshini river meets the Alsek river. showers around and then the day cleared. Nice breakfast served with a bag of mudslides (patron XO changing the Kahlua), that’s right we aren’t out of liquor or beer! Two nice hikes, one downstream in the direction of the Alsek and the other up Melt creek. We run into a black bear up Melt creek and after watching him for a few minutes determine to show around. Huge get together day & night time, music, laughter and the Elephant! Sunny and heat afternoon.
Is it the Elephant?
Day 9: Confluence to Walker Glacier 17 miles. We begin the day with a paddle over to petroglyph island the place we finish our journey on the Tatshenshini river, we at the moment are on the Alsek river. We did not see any petroglyphs but did benefit from the massive view. Then floated on the Alsek at eight.5 mph to Walker Glacier camp. Had lunch then took the kayaks into the lake for a paddle with icebergs. Very good day with no wind. I went to bed early so I am not positive who gained the final camper up? Gary, Jimmy or the Elephant. Then at 2 am all hell broke unfastened with a serious wind storm. Blew onerous all night time and just about made sleep unimaginable. Up at 2 am to examine boats and kit (all OK) and then turn over the kitchen and pile up all of the unfastened gear. Let it’s stated that the safety group (The Bandits!) warned of camping at the base of the walker Glacier – reference made to the probability of Katabatic winds…
Iceberg in Walker lake
Day 10: Walker Glacier to downstream of Gateway Knob 22 miles. Nonetheless blowing at dawn so we moved the kitchen behind a berm to maintain the range from blowing out. The day was sunny and the views while paddling unimaginable. Gathered up at Dipper Creek (higher camp than Walker Glacier), stopped at Purple Haze but have been disillusioned by the large sand bar in front of the camp space, ate lunch and scouted the three doorways at the peninsula hike. Bill and Norm take door #1 and the rest of us take Door #3. We meet in Alsek lake and spend a couple hours enjoying the Mt. Foraker view and paddling round. Camp is under the lake outlet on river right, prepared for the morning frenzy.
Corriveau and Mt Foraker
Day 11: Gateway Knob to Dry Bay 14 miles to Yakutat 44 miles to Seattle 1958 miles. Up at 4:20 am to clear camp and get to Dry Bay to satisfy Hans and Yakutat Coastal Air for our 9 am hop up to city. This trip we hired Pat Pellit from Brabazon expeditions to take us from the upper take out to the airstrip, this saves and hour and a half of slogging up the slough from the lower end. Using Pat is just not a huge time saver, however it does save a bunch of paddling and dragging up the slough to get to the airstrip. The paddle out to Dry Bay starts within the pre-dawn mild and we’re floating with a bunch of small chunks of ice. There are a pair spots to keep away from the place the present gets squirrely around a head wall or flows over a shelf. As soon as on the take out we pack the gear and cargo the quad trailer for the journey to the air strip. Hans is true on time and takes our group and all our gear again to Yakutat in two flights. We now have eight hours till our flight on Alaska Air back to Seattle. Two decisions…Sit within the bar and waste the day or lease a automotive and go exploring and fishing. We head to Leo’s automotive rental and get a suburban for the day. Out to the Lost River for a sunny afternoon of Coho fishing. The water is low and the solar is out so fishing is a bit sluggish but we do hook a number of to make the effort worthwhile. Did I point out it was another warm day in SE Alaska with clear blue skys. Wow what a visit.
Day 12: Seattle to Hood River 265 miles. Early morning drive, John M and TK slept a lot of the means…
Identify (boat colour) Obligations
Jon Corriveau (b) Logistics,Group Gear
David Slover (g) River Leader
John Rouches (y) Food Lead, Stove
Gary Kinner (r) Border, Haines
Kevin Gogan (o) Music, Security, Studying Material…
Mark Christensen (g) Freight
Peter Jewett (p) E-book, Maps, GPS
Bones Corriveau (y) Maps,GPS,BearFence
William Mickel (g) Music, Food
David Worthen (g) Haines
Jim Yearous (r) Repair
John Menefee (b) Music
Thomas Koehler (r) Music
Michael Bray (o) Hearth, First Help
Norm Haynes (o) Hearth, Freight
Alaska Air; SEA-JNU, YAK – SEA
Alaska Airline Group Reservations; 800-445-4435
Air: Juneau – Haines, Alaska Seaplanes, 907-789-3331
Air: Dry Bay to Yakutat, Yakutat Coastal Airways; 907-784-3831
Alaska Marine Strains, 5615 West Marginal Method, Seattle, WA 98106
Shuttle Service: Haines – Dalton Submit
Alaska River Outfitters/Haines Rafting Company
Andy Hedden, Owner, 907-314-0340
Haines Overnight, Friday 8/24
Lodge Halsingland, 907-766-2000, Jeff, [email protected]
Nationwide Park Service
Yakutat District Ranger, Jim Capra
Wrangell-St. Elias Nationwide Park & Protect
Glacier Bay Nationwide Park & Preserve
P.O. Field 137
Yakutat, AK 99689
907-784-3295; 907-500-5422 cell
BC Parks Payment, Tatshenshini-Alsek Boating Allow
Robin, Tanya Hoesing: 250-847-7260, 250-847-7211
Brabazon Expeditions, Pat Pellit 254-381-3030
Cloudburst Productions Guidebook and Map of the river