The Tat's upper reaches offer great hiking and wildlife viewing. Only a few accessible trails, originally bear trails, lead you into the high alpine country. From the top of the mountain you can see glaciers and snowfields - and, possibly, mountain goats grazing on the steep mountainside. Breathtaking! Just off the main river are miles and miles of wetland habitat with beaver ponds and perfect nesting grounds for many species of birds. As the river gains volume, the Tatshenshini transforms into many braided channels as major tributaries enter the river. Around the sixth day of this 11day trip we join the Alsek River. In a panoramic view of the Tat/Alsek confluence you see over 27 glaciers.
There is more great hiking in this area, and the chance to walk on the ancient ice of a glacier, not far from the river. The real highlight of the trip is often Alsek Lake, where massive glaciers calve off huge chunks of ice. We'll have the opportunity to paddle around beautiful icebergs and watch the glaciers calve. The last night's camp has and incredible view of the lake, and you fall asleep to the sounds of the ice.
Day before the trip: Arrive in Haines, Alaska. Please make reservations at the Halsingland Hotel in Haines. That evening we will get together to distribute gear and answer any last minute questions.
Day 1: Drive about three hours north, into British Columbia and then the Yukon. We’ll have lunch and rig the boats at Dalton Post, an abandoned trading station on the banks of the river. After lunch we’ll begin our float. Soon we will enter a narrow canyon for a series of class III and IV rapids.
Days 2 - Day 7: During the next few days the mountains will continue to grow around us. We will pass large gravel deltas created by glacial streams. The river will grow dramatically in size as these major tributaries add their water to the Tat. We will stay in the same camp for two nights on one or two occasions to do full day hikes at Sediments Creek, the Nose, or the Stairway to Heaven. On about the 6th day we will join the Alsek and the river will double in size.
Day 8: We will camp in the vicinity of Walker Glacier and take the opportunity to walk on this massive river of ice.
Day 9: Today we float past the Novatak Glacier, one of the largest along the river. In the afternoon we will reach Alsek Lake and camp on its shore.
Day 10: We’ll spend today paddling among the icebergs floating in the lake. We may paddle across to watch the glaciers calve. Our last night is spent near the outlet of the lake, where icebergs can be heard rolling and crashing.
Day 11: Today will be an early start and a nice float to Dry Bay. You will fly to Yakutat in mid-afternoon and catch the 6pmM Alaska Airlines flight to Juneau where you will spend the evening.
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USA Alaska Outdoor: Water Drifter Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting
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