Today most of the glaciers of the Alsek Valley are retreating. In their wake has sprung a wide variety of life. Wild flowers bloom all summer, berries carpet the hillsides and mushrooms abound in the forests of alder, birch, evergreens, and cottonwood. On the steep hillsides, mountain goat and dall sheep feed on lush grass. Brown bear, wolves, lynx, wolverine, and black bear flourish in the pristine valley. Moose, ducks, geese, and swans, share marshes and ponds. Eagles, falcons, and a variety of hawks, soar in search of small prey. Kingfishers, jeagers, and arctic terns hover and dive for fingerlings in the river. Salmon battle the swift current of the river to return to the same spawning grounds in which they were born.
The trip reaches its full crescendo at Alsek Lake, where the Gran Plateau and Alsek Glaciers create a face of ice nearly 8 miles wide, encircling a deep lake filled with huge icebergs. To see a massive piece of the glacier break off and thunder into the lake is one of those sights you will never forget. To top it all off, towering 15,000 feet above our camp, is the ice capped summit of Mt. Fairweather, the crown jewel of the Alaska coast.
Which trip to choose? The Tatshenshini River trip covers about 140 miles in 9 days. The Alsek takes 13 days and covers about 190 miles. Both trips spend 4 or 5 days below the rivers' confluence, but their difference lies above. The Tatshenshini River valley is more lush and forested, while the Alsek is more barren and glaciated. The Tatshenshini has more moose, the Alsek more bears. The Alsek carries a much larger volume of water. The Alsek is more remote and unexplored, one step deeper into the ice age. The Tatshenshini feels more alive, the clutch of the ice further in the past. The Tatshenshini served as fishing and hunting grounds and a travel corridor for the Tlinget Natives for centuries, while the Alsek was locked away by glaciers.
Prices start at $3495 per person
June 3 - 15
July 21 - 8/2