Rafting the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers (Days 4-6) 13/25-Aug-2018

Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska

DAY 4: Sediments Creek to Alkie Creek

The plan for the day after the big hike to Goat Ridge was for a leisurely (and short) float to a camp at Alkie Creek. After dragging our sore carcasses out of our Bags of Decadence, we tottered over for another varied and filling breakfast before packing-up and loading the rafts. We were graced with yet another mild (for almost 60º north latitude) and sunny day for our scenic float to Alkie Creek.  Once there, we pitched camp, napped, and/or wandered around (but not too far because of the bears) looking at the landscape. Where we live, creek usually means a waterbody that we can (except during the Spring runoff) either step across or easily wade across.  Here creek is really a river – usually a cold, swift, turbulent, cloudy one that you’d try to cross at your peril.

Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Morning at Sediments Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Almost ready to leave Sediments Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
On the river toward Alkie Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
On the river toward Alkie Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
On the river toward Alkie Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
On the river toward Alkie Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
On the river toward Alkie Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Unloading the rafts at Alkie Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Looking toward camp from Alkie Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
A field of Old Man’s Beard at Alkie Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Alkie Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
A cloudy, turbulent, cold Alkie Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Karen, Jock, and Kim hanging-out at Alkie Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Moonrise at Alkie Creek
DAY 5: Alkie Creek to Melt Creek

Today we made the long float (about 45 km / 28 miles) from Alkie Creek to Melt Creek and our last campsite and lay-over day on the Tatshenshini.  The day started out overcast and cold but got progressively better as we floated along.  We bounced through one rapid (Monkey Wrench) before passing the mouths of the O’Connor and Tkpoe Rivers, whose contributions noticeably swelled the volume of the Tatshenshini.  Below the O’Connor, the Tat starts to bend westward and is flowing due west when it reaches its confluence with the Alsek.  We stopped for lunch between Tomahnous and Towagh Creeks and reached Melt Creek in the afternoon.  The waters of Melt Creek (really a river) nearly double the volume of the Tatshenshini just before it joins the Alsek. Because the creek and the river had rearranged the landscape a bit at Melt Creek (something they are always doing), landing there took a lot of paddling, pushing, and scraping. Our reward was the excellent campsites at Melt Creek, which are situated on a large sparsely vegetated, outwash plain that’s easy to pitch tents on and also easy to wander around on (but not too far owing to the bears).

Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Sunrise at Alkie Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Loading the rafts at Alkie Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Floating toward Melt Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
The sun struggles to make an appearance
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Passing the Alsek Ranges
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Lunch along the river
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Looking northeast from our lunch stop
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Clouds
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Floating toward Melt Creek after lunch
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Glaciers started to become more obvious as we floated along
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Glaciers
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
A tricky landing at Melt Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Unloading at Melt Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Camping at Melt Creek, with sunset on the Noisy Range
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Camping at Melt Creek, in the shadow of the Melbern Glacier
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
End of day at Melt Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Sunset at Melt Creek
DAY 6: Melt Creek

What was magical about camping at Melt Creek was the sense (and the reality) that we were nestled in a bowl, surrounded by spectacular mountain ranges, many with large glaciers. To the north the Noisy Range, to the east the Alsek Ranges, to the south the Fairweather Ranges, and to the west, the Icefield Ranges. These magical aspects were enhanced by the weather, which was almost “desert” warm and sunny for the two days we were at Melt Creek. Campers started to appear in shorts and sandals – not knowing that this was angering the weather Morlocks, who would soon issue us several days of “corrective” (not sunny or warm or dry) weather. But that was in the future, so our days at Melt Creek were spent frolicking in the fields, lounging around camp, and catching up on our float & bloat eating (think Eloi in The Time Machine). We did manage a short hike until we reached the nearly impenetrable vegetation not far from camp – and saw the fresh grizzly tracks along the creek. Our days here were second only to the hike in terms of wonderfulness. Sigh…

Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Sunrise at Melt Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Brian leads our short hike at Melt Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Followed by the rest of the crew
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
And The LovedOne
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Fresh grizzly bear tracks – why going hiking alone here IS NOT a good idea
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Along the banks of Melt Creek
Tatshenshini River Alsek River Yukon Territory Canada Glacier Bay National Park Alaska
Brian, the Noisy Ranges, and Melt Creek on a perfect day in summer

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2 thoughts on “Rafting the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers (Days 4-6) 13/25-Aug-2018

  1. My sister lives in Alaska and has talked about doing this trip someday. Your beautiful photos make me see why she wants to do it!

    Like

    1. You should do this trip if at all possible as this river system is a wonderous place. You take your chances with the weather, but when the sun comes out it’s amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

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