Tatshenshini-Alsek_River_Rafting_Trips_Yukon_British_Columbia_Rafting

Tatshenshini-Alsek River Rafting Trip
in the Yukon, British Columbia
and Alaska

Glaciers, Grizzlies, Bald Eagles;
Natural History, Tlingit and Athabascan Folklore










Registration Form








 

 

 

North America’s Most Spectacular River

 

“We pitched our tents that night near Melt Creek, at the confluence of four glacial valleys, a place Katz called “the center of the world.” It was the most jaw-gapingly beautiful spot I’ve ever camped in. It was hard to decide which direction to face. I tried to count all the glacers and gave up at 30. In the lower 48 such mountains would warrant their own national parks; here they were so abundant they didn’t have names.”

 
 

—John Flinn
San Francisco Examiner

 

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DETAILED ITINERARY
Day 1 Hometown-Haines, Alaska
Day in transit from hometown to Haines. After disembarking from your flight to Juneau, you can fly to Haines on a local air flying service. Your remarkable flight will take you up the Lynn Canal with spectacular glaciers flanking both sides of our airplane. You may even see mountain goats scrambling along the knife-edged ridges. We will all meet in the lobby of the Halsingland Hotel in Haines at 6:00 PM and have dinner together. Afterwards, we'll have an orientation session, discuss logistics for the trip, hand out waterproof bags and ammo cans (for cameras), go over our personal gear, and answer any questions. (Dinner is on your own)

Day 2 Haines-Dalton Post (Shawshe)-Arctic Dryas  Camp
After breakfast, we'll have time to make some final purchases of equipment, and then take a van ride 103 miles over the coastal mountains into the Yukon to Dalton Post. We go through immigration and then proceed to Dalton Post, have lunch, load the boatstatshenshini_alsek river rafting_alaska brown bears_grizzlies_salmon_alaska_british columbia_yukon_river rafting trips, learn about river touring and techniques, and shove off on our spirited river.

The Tatshenshiniis small here, and we glide past black spruce, aspen, birch and poplar. Numerous bald eagles glide overhead and omnipresent ravens chortle from spruce boughs. A steep slate canyon and resounding white-water provide an exhilarating touch to our first river day. We camp on a glacial flood plain, sit around a blazing fire, and recount the experiences of the day. (Breakfast on your own)

Day 3 Arctic Dryas Camp to Wildflower Camp

After breakfast, we'll take a short hike and gain insight into the unique plant and animal communities of the area. The morning paddle takes us through rich, dense, deciduous woodlands. It is usually in these secretive woods and serene sections of river that beaver and moose sightings are made. At lunch, we will find innumerable tracks of moose, deer, bear, and wolf on the mud flats. The river valley widens and the mountains rise. Soon the spruce forests begin to dominate the terrain and our first glaciers are seen in the distance as we begin cutting through the Alsek Range. At lunch we have an opportunity to appreciate the wildflowers growing on the riverbanks and review the wildlife spotted that morning. In the afternoon, the river picks up speed and we begin to dance among the braided channels. We camp at Sediment Creek.

Day 4 Wildflower Camp
tatshenshini-alsek_river_rafting_natural_history_river_trips_brodeaA layover day. We will take a long nature walk and individual and group photographic instruction will be available. The cobbled stones of the mile-wide alluvial fan reveal colorful sedimentary rocks amidst the Arctic Dryas. We will then climb to a meadow of wildflowers. Most individuals stop here, but some, may want to climb to the high alpine tundra for views of unnamed peaks, glimpses of mountain goats clinging to the airy heights, or chance encounters with marmots and fox.

Day 5 Wildflower Camp-"The Braids"

We maneuver downstream to another powerful tributary that resounds with the cacophonous tumbling of rocks in a valley of knife-edged cliffs. We have lunch here and take a short walk up this old glaciated valley. Jumping back into the boats, we find that the river's pace has suddenly increased from 4-6 MPH and we remain constantly alert and responsive to the braiding of the river channels and its mesmerizing backlit qualities. If we are fortunate, we may be able to see Alaskan brown bears on the river bars. We make camp "in the braids", just downstream of the O'Connor River. An eagle's nest is perched on a rocky outcropping behind our camp and dramatic views are to be absorbed in all directions. A short hike behind camp takes us to a lake dammed by beavers and enhanced by the presence of a resident pair of Trumpeter Swans.

Day 6 "The Braids"- Center of the World Camp

alsek_river_glacier_bay_national_park_tatshenshini_alaska_raftingAs we spin and whorl downstream, we gain glimpses of the Grand Pacific Glacier and other snowy peaks in the distance. On a perfectly clear day, one can see 18 distinct glaciers during this stretch of river. After lunch, we glide by countless glacial streams that join the Tatshenshini and resound with the roar of tumbling boulders. And then, we're suddenly plummeted into a densely overgrown canyon. Adrenaline runs high as we move around huge thumping waves. In the distance, one can see another range of towering glaciers amid the St. Elias Mountains. After loading up with our evening's supply of firewood, we arrive at our camp in the center of immense ice-capped mountains that resemble Pakistan on one side of the river, and Hawaii's lush Nepali coast on the other. The confluence with the Alsek is just downstream and the campsite evokes powerful images. In all directions are breathtaking glaciers.

Day 7 Center of the World Camp
Layover day. This is one of the finest places for doing nature photography (both close-up and scenic), taking a brisk hike, or catching up with your bathing, your diary and Alaskan reading material. Some individuals have also been known to just sit on their solar-powered lounge chairs, enjoy the spectacular views, and rotate with the sun.

Day 8 Center of the World Camp-Walker Glacier


We pass the confluence of the Alsek and the Tatshenshini, an enorm
ous river whose anomalous crossing of the St. Elias Mountains puzzles geologists. We pass by ice at river level. High above us, the steep mountains provide the conditions necessary for the largest icefields outside of Greenland and the Antarctic ice caps. The air cools, and the river water temperature is nearly freezing. We'll set up camp at the foot of the emerald-colored Walker glacier.After an afternoon snack, we'll hike up onto the glacier peer into deep blue crevasses and share terrific views in all directions. We'll discuss glacier terminology and actually feel and hear the glacial movement beneath our feet. The complex designs of glacial erratics provide inspiring material for nature photographers. In the evening, we share the poems of Robert Service, Jack London, Gary Snyder, Nora and Dick Dauenhauer and tales of the North. In the background, slow-melting
glaciers crackle and groan in the distance.





Day 9 Walker Glacier-Alsek Spit

alsek_river_brabazon_range_glacier_bay_national_park

Drifting down an avenue of glaciers with nearly two dozen rivers of ice in sight at one time, the scenery is overwhelming and small talk amongst us seems inappropriate. If the day is clear, we'll have terrific views of Mt. Fairweather and the Alsek Glacier as we head toward our camp. Late afternoon brings us to a sandy peninsula separating the river from a bay carved by the retreating Alsek glacier. The afternoon will be devoted to scenic and macro-flower photography, and hiking on the nearly level terrain.


Days 10-11 Alsek Lake

tlingits_bathing_alsek_lake_glacier_bay_national_park_alsek_glacier_alsek_river
These days are designed for rest and exploration. The wildflower fields and rock gardens are incredible, but seem insignificant compared to the floating wonders of the iceberg-filled bay. Loud crashing booms from the five-mile-wide glacier attest to t
he calving of another mammoth iceberg that has been calved from the 200-foot high face of the glacier. If the bergs are lined up properly, we'll enter Alsek Lake and drift among them enroute to our camp. Photographic opportunities abound as we gingerly row by these colossal house-sized ice sculptures. We'll take a river sauna, cool off in Alsek Lake, have a triumphal feast, and read Tlingit Oratory into the early evening.




Day 12 Alsek Lake-Dry Bay-Yakutat-Juneau

With views of Mt. Fairweather and the Alsek Glacier in the background, we sneak past icebergs and through ice flotsam. For the last eleven miles, the "bergs" accompany us on our journey to the ocean. Nearing the coast, the mountainsides become green once more, as the region is too mild to support ice. We catch our slough, float into Dry Bay, disembark and then board our small planes, which will take us back to Yakutat.On the short flight, we can sometimes observe schooling salmon at the river mouths, moose feeding placidly in small ponds, and a rare Alaskan brown bear family out on a stroll. A few hours later, we board an Alaska Airlines jet back to Juneau. This flight gives us a glimpse upriver along the Alsek, the awesome glaciers below, and we revel in one of the most visually rewarding river trips imaginable. We arrive at the Juneau Airport, transfer by van to our hotel, and have a farewell dinner together at one of Juneau's fine restaurants.

alsek_river_mt_fairweather

Day 13 Juneau-Hometown
Van transportation to the Juneau airport, board Alaska Airline flight(s) to Seattle, and then transfer to homebound flights.

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GENERAL INFORMATION

COSTS AND RESERVATIONS:
Costs are based on sharing a double room in Haines and double occupancy in a tent.

LAND COST:
13-day special-theme departures:
July 11-23, 2018 (5-12 participants) $4500;
July 28-Aug 9, 2018 (5-19 participants) $4500;

MAXIMUM NO. OF PARTICIPANTS:
12 on Trip#1 departure;
19 on Trip#2 departure.

LAND COST INCLUDES:
*Lodging at the Halsingland Hotel in Haines, Alaska on Day 1 (approx. $120/dbl occupancy)
*Van transportation to our put-in point on Day 1
*Eleven days of wilderness rafting (lifejackets, waterproof bags, tents (double occupancy); all meals from lunch at the put-in on Day 2 of the itinerary through breakfast on Day 12
*Licensed guides, professional photographer and or an anthropologist (See Special Trips)
*Small plane charter from the take-out at Dry Bay, Alaska to Yakutat,
Alaska on Day 12
*Transfer from Juneau Airport to Hotel on Day 12
*Scheduled transfers from hotel to Juneau airport on Day 13
*National Park Service Franchise Fees: $102.49 on Trips 1 & 3; $41.99 on
Trip #2 (based on the consumer price index)

LAND COST DOES NOT INCLUDE:
*Roundtrip airfare from hometown to Juneau, Alaska
*Airfare or fare for ferry from Juneau to Haines (approximately $115 for flight and $40 for ferries)
*Alaska Airline flight from Yakutat to Juneau on Day 12 (approx. $165.60 inc. taxes)
*Lodging in Juneau, Alaska, on Day 12 (appprox. $110-120/single or dbl. occupancy)
*Single supplement fee Haines only ($65/person; 1/2 dbl. occupancy).
*Personal camping equipment (sleeping bag, pads, and clothing)
*Items such as liquor, laundry, phone calls, etc.
*Any additional hotel nights due to inclement weather or changes in airline scheduling
*Meals in Haines, Yakutat, and Juneau (dinner and breakfast in Haines, and dinner and breakfast in Juneau (are on your own). Plan on $8.00-$12.00 for breakfasts and $25-$40 for dinners.
*Accident/baggage/trip cancellation insurance. approx.$300/person
*Borough of Yakutat Sales Tax; approximately $60/person
*Tatshenshini Provincial Park Trip Fee of $125/person Canadian (approx. $120-$125 USD.)
*Gratuities to guides

AIR TICKETING
Although we do not do ticketing ourselves, our staff is experienced in advising which flights are best for your departure and we will be happy to disseminate information that will help you with your air ticketing. We strongly advise arriving in Juneau one-day early.

ACCOMMODATIONS: SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
The land cost of the trip includes hotel accommodations based on double occupancy in Haines. Those individuals who request a single supplement for hotel accommodations in Haines must pay the Single Supplement Fee.

Single Supplement-hotels in Haines only: $65 - no single tents are available. All of our trips that include in the land cost hotel and tent accommodations are based on double occupancy. If you are traveling alone and do not want to be paired with a tentmate, we suggest that you bring your own tent. (See detailed equipment list for suggested tents).

ACCOMMODATIONS FOR SINGLE TRAVELERS WHO WISH TO SHARE
The land cost of the trip includes hotel and tent accommodations based on double occupancy. If you are traveling alone and desire a roommate, we will match you up with someone of the same gender, if one is available. If there is no one with whom you can share accommodations, you will have to pay the Single Supplement Fee of $65.

REGISTRATION
A deposit of $1000 per person sent in with the registration card to James Henry River Journeys will reserve your place on the trip. A second payment of $1200 is payable four months prior to departure and final payment is payable to JHRJ 90 days before departure. Please refer to Booking Information in the current catalog.

TRAVEL LOGISTICS
There are many options for getting to Haines, Alaska: one may either fly to Juneau from your hometown, take the Alaska Marine Ferry from Bellingham, Washington, or drive. More detailed travel logistics are mailed out upon registration. If you choose to make your own travel plans, please contact our office and let us know when and how you will be meeting us after your travel arrangements have been made.

THE OUTFITTER
The trips will be conducted by James Henry River Journeys who is a concessionaire of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska and a permit holder of the Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park. James Henry River Journeys is an equal opportunity service provider.

LEADERSHIP
The Tatshenshini-Alsek River expeditions are led by Jimmy Katz, director of James Henry River Journeys and his veteran crew members— Peter Leh, Carson Leh, Danielle Katz, Nolan Leh, Andrew Cushman, Galen Licht, Tom DeLange and Vladimir Gavrilov— most of whom have navigated the waters of the Tatshenshini for the past ten-twenty years. The staff of James Henry River Journeys has 8-46 years of whitewater experience. James has been guiding wilderness trips for 51 years, is a professional nature photographer, and a photography instructor who taught for the UC Extensions at Santa Cruz and Berkeley for 25 years.

FACULTY FOR THE TRIP
Tlingit Tales, Alaska Wilderness Literature and , and August 13-25, you may join Jimmy Katz the director and lead guide for JHRJ. Jimmy began guiding at age sixteen on Michigan canoeing streams and has been leading wilderness journeys on the West Coast and Alaska since 1973. He is also a professional nature photographer and was a nature photography instructor for UC Santa Cruz and UC Berkeley Extensions for 25 years and the Pt. Reyes Field Seminars since the mid-1980’s.

Jimmy will instruct trip participants on a very informal basis and you will gain insights into how to bring home more refined photographic images.

He is passionate about sharing his love of rivers, photography, his culinary creations, and humorous tales. On all three departures, Jimmy will help facilitate discussions and readings of Tlingit Tales, travel stories of the indigenous peoples, and wilderness literature around the campfire.

On our July 28-August 9 departure, an expert anthropologist will facilitate the trip by lecturing on Tlingit culture, folklore, migrations and their age-old ways as subsistence hunters and gatherers.

Our guest anthropologist, Daniel Monteith, Ph.D, will help facilitate discussions and readings of Tlingit Tales, travel stories of the indigenous peoples, and wilderness literature. Reading Tlingit oral narrative from Dick and Nora Dauenhauer's highly acclaimed book, "Haa Shuka, Our Ancestors: Tlingit Oral Narratives," and about travel, aboriginal oral traditions, colonial expedition narratives as described in Julie Cruikshank's “Do Glaciers Listen; Local Knowledge, Colonial Encounters, and Social Imagination,” will give trip participants a firm grasp on the impact that glaciers have had on the recent human history of the land through which we are traveling, The impact of glaciers on human history lies not simply in their immense physical presence but also in their imaginative force.

On all departures the guides facilitate by leading adventurous hikes on layover days and spinning tales of the North country around the campfire.

*Note that if there are any changes in faculty, you can get the latest updates by going to our website and referring to Special Trips or Guides and Facilitators.

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WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE, CAMPING LOGISTICS, QUALIFICATIONS, & PERSONAL CHALLENGES
The Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers of the Yukon Territory, British Columbia and Southeast Alaska are undammed and glacially fed. The Tatshenshini-Alsek has the distinction of offering both exhilarating Class III+ (intermediate to advanced-intermediate) rapids alternating with a 5-7 MPH current.


At our put-in at Dalton Post, flows are usually around 1,000-3,000 c.f.s. (cubic feet/second). As we move downstream and other tributaries kick in additional water, the river increases tremendously in volume. After the Alsek conflues with the Tatshenshini, the flows may vary from 100,000 to 750,000 c.f.s.
The upper part of the river has challenging Class III-III+ (intermediate to advanced intermediate) rapids that are continuous for 8 miles. Our June trips experience higher water (the snowmelt) in the upper stretches of the river while our July and August trips will usually have lower water in the upper section but increased flows (due to the secondary glacial melt) in the braided lower sections of the river. One of the most unique attractions of this river is that it is ceaselessly changing. Due to the river's speed we are usually able to have unhurried days and spend, on an average, little more than four to five hours on the river each day. Due to our North latitude and the available light on hand, trip participants will have a great deal of time for optional hikes, photography, journal writing, and sketching. River running is mildly strenuous to strenuous in a paddleboat and easy to mildly strenuous if assisting the oarsman in a paddle-assisted oarboat. On layover days, we will be hiking up onto ridges above the river and walking on glacial morraines. The hiking is as strenuous as you desire and often our groups break up into three-four hiking groups. The crewmembers lead most of the hiking forays and one can find the right pace for one's inclinations.Since this a total wilderness experience, the group will be entirely self-sufficient. We will carry all our food, cooking gear, clothes, tents, and sleeping bags in the boats.

The Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers is a challenging trip and although exuberance increases with each passing day, this trip is a true adventure. Therefore, to derive the greatest pleasure from this trip, one should have a sense of humor, a flexible personality, and an open and curious mind. We welcome individuals who are 14 years of age or older (please consult with us if your child is less than 14) who want to partake in the spirit of a true adventure, sharing with others the joys of wilderness living and river travel. Please note that our day to day itinerary on the river is flexible, and will depend upon river levels, weather, and the inclination of participants. The itinerary, as published, is not literal and the number of layover days, river days, and campsites utilized vary slightly from trip to trip. The total trip will remain the same. Final determination of the river itinerary is made by the trip leader.

CLIMATE AND WEATHER
We have planned these trips for late June through mid-September, as they are the most temperate months in Southeastern Alaska. It is usually warm-approaching 60-70 degrees and sunny. However, there is always the possibility of rain on the trip. One should also note that the famous Alaskan mosquito has little presence on a river which has little standing water and strong breezes.

FOOD
Fresh food will be available at all meals with international camp cookery filling the whetted appetites. Our Meals are incomparable!
See Meals.

MEDICAL AND HEALTH INFORMATION
James Henry River Journeys will have a complete first-aid kit and carries a SAT phone for emergencies.

Good health and good physical condition are prerequisites for this trip. Participants will be sent a medical history questionnaire to be signed by you and to be signed by your physician if you are 65 or older or have a medical condition that would require an examination and approval by your doctor prior to your departure. People who are not in good health or have serious chronic pre-existing medical conditions, could potentially create unfortunate situations by being present and are not encouraged to join this type of journey. When in doubt about one’s ability, please consult with our office; if in doubt about your medical condition, please consult with your primary-care physician before signing up.

See Medical and Health details.

EQUIPMENT: WHAT JAMES HENRY RIVER JOURNEYS PROVIDES
On each trip there are from two to five boats, with a high participant to guide ratio of three and occasionally, four to one. We row all of the gear in 18-foot and 16-foot Avons. We provide paddles for participants in all the oar boats and one can assist the guide who is rowing the boat.

We will be supplying Northface "VE 24/VE-25" 2-person tents (based on double occupancy) on this trip. If you are traveling alone and prefer to bring your own tent, you may do so. See What Equipment JHRJ Provides.

PERSONAL EQUIPMENT
A complete equipment checklist will be sent to all trip members upon registration.

Warm garments, completely waterproof raingear, and above the mid-calf rubber boots are necessary for a truly enjoyable experience. Sleeping bags, pads, rain gear, rubber boots, and daypacks are to be provided by participants.

PHOTOGRAPHY
The Tatshenshini-Alsek offers the photographer a tremendous opportunity to photograph some of the most spectacular snow-clad mountain vistas, cascades, sculpted ice flows, wildflowers, and rock formations in Alaska. If we are extremely fortunate, we may be able to grab shots of bald eagles or a grizzly family standing on its haunches as we shoot by on our rafts.
Tatshenshini-Alsek Photography Workshop Details

FISHING
In July-August, the Chinook, sockeye, and Coho salmon are running upstream, but usually the river is laden with silt and consequently poor for fishing. It is also very important that as many salmon as possible make it to their upstream spawning grounds in order to sustain the numbers of “wild salmon” in the watershed. In accordance with this philosophy, National Park Service regulations disallow fishing for salmon along the Alsek River within Glacier Bay National Park by river outfitters and their trip particpants.

CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS
(See Cancellations-Terms and Conditions)

INSURANCE
(See Insurance-Terms and Conditions)

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

Return to Tatshenshini Trip Profile.

© 2011. All Rights Reserved. Revised Dec., 2016
James Henry River Journeys

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