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Come to the Yukon and take this 10-day Tatshenshini River rafting journey through the Ice Age: glaciers, icebergs, wildflowers, and wildlife! If you're looking to experience the true beauty of the Great Canadian North, this is the trip for you! This is a perfect river expedition for all ages and skill levels and is one of Canadian Rafting Adventures' all-time favorites.
During the tour, you will stay in tents shared between two guests. State-of-the-art expedition equipment including an all-season tent, sleeping bag, Thermarest air mattress, safety equipment, and waterproof bags for your personal belongings will be provided.
Named the number one river trip in the world in National Geographic’s “Journeys of a Lifetime”, the Tatshenshini River will impress even the most seasoned explorer. Starting in the Yukon, this wilderness rafting trip takes you through Northern British Columbia all the way to Southern Alaska.
As the world’s largest bio-preserve, the area around the Tatshenshini River has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to some of the largest and most spectacular glaciers in the world and huge populations of grizzly bears, caribou, and Dall's sheep. Enjoy the best of everything the Yukon has to offer!
You’ll start your amazing rafting journey on a small river winding through the thick forest and beautiful canyons of the Yukon. As you raft downstream into Northern British Columbia, the landscape opens up exposing you to breathtaking scenery of mountains and huge glaciers.
You’ll view countless wildlife, hike to sub-alpine meadows densely populated with a variety of wildflowers, walk on glaciers, and paddle around icebergs as the trip climaxes at the stunning Alsek Lake in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. At the end of the day, you can relax on the river bank with a glass of wine or beer while camp and delicious meals are prepared for you.
You will need to be in Whitehorse the evening before the rafting begins. The guides will give you an overview of the trip and will make sure any last minute questions you have will be answered. You will also receive your personal dry bags and rafting gear for use on the trip.
The journey begins at 8:00 a.m. when Canadian Rafting Adventures pick you up from your hotel in Whitehorse and head out on the Alaskan Highway. Your first stop is Haines Junction on the doorstep of the Kluane National Park and Reserve. Here you’ll have the opportunity to visit The Kluane National Park Visitor Center and pick up some delicious treats at the renowned local bakery.
After clearing customs, you’ll head to Dalton Post to meet up with the other guides who have been rigging the rafts in preparation for your journey. After enjoying a delicious dinner by the campfire, you’ll experience your first night of camping by the Tatshenshini River.
The day begins as every river day does, with a serving of coffee, tea, fruit juice, as well as granola and fruit salad. You will also be served a hearty warm breakfast like eggs benny, banana nut pancakes with maple syrup, or scrambled eggs with freshly baked bread. After breaking down camp and a thorough safety briefing, you set off down river deep into the canyons of the Saint Elias Mountains.
On day three, you’ll experience a more relaxed Tathshenshini River. You will see panoramic mountain vistas and with a keen eye it is possible to spot moose, trumpeter swans, and the bald eagles who call this area home. You’ll end the day camping at Sediments Creek.
On day four, you’ll have the option of relaxing at camp or joining a hike to an open ridge where you’ll see great views of the meandering river and the surrounding area. A short hike along the ridge takes you to an alpine meadow full of wildflowers bursting with color.
Downstream the scenery becomes increasingly more spectacular as the valley broadens. This allows you to see glaciers hanging from the mountainsides all around. On day six, the river becomes more braided, filled with sediment from the surrounding glaciers.
The river is so wide that by the time you meet the confluence with the mighty Alsek, you’ll find it difficult to determine which way the river is flowing and in which direction you are heading. When you reach your camp at Melt Creek you may find yourself suffering from stiff necks, eye strain, and full memory cards - the classic symptoms of SOS (scenic overdose syndrome).
On day seven, you’ll head off down the Alsek, reaching the dramatic views of Walker Glacier in a few relaxing hours. After enjoying your lunch, you can accompany your guide for a hike near the glacier and see this majestic landscape up close. From here, you can hear ice falls crashing through the night. On day eight, you’ll leave Walker Glacier behind and head to Alsek Lake.
Alsek Lake is the climax of the trip and is filled with floating icebergs. The icebergs are a result of huge chunks of ice carving off from the two enormous glaciers that feed the lake: the Alsek and the Grand Plateau. You’ll row through the lake, keeping a respectful distance from the bergs for a once in a lifetime experience that you’ll never forget.
After breaking camp for the last time, you’ll float the last few miles down to the airstrip at Dry Bay, Alaska, near the shores of the Pacific Ocean. You’ll arrive back in Whitehorse in just over an hour and you’ll be taken to your hotel for a well-deserved hot shower. Tonight, you’ll get together for your farewell dinner, raise your glasses for a last toast to the Tatshenshini, and start planning your next adventure.
The Tatshenshini / Alsek River trip has a Class II classification, although much of the trip is an easy-going Class I. This is a perfect river for all ages and skill levels and Canadian Rafting Adventures have to admit it's one of their favorites.
Of the 10 river days, you spend eight of them rafting, and the other two laying over at the camp. You spend three to four hours on the water on rafting days, mostly on Class I or II rapids - a gentle, bobbing current. You will encounter a stretch of Class III rapids on the second day only.
You walk daily near your campsites, exploring the local flora and fauna or stopping on the river to check out points of interest. On layover days, there are longer hikes available, some of them quite serious scrambles, into the alpine tundra zone. All hikes are optional and a guide accompanies you at all times. A highlight is the glacier hike where you walk on the glacier.
The valley of the Tatshenshini is a fantastic area for viewing wildlife such as grizzly, black bear, moose, Dall’s sheep, mountain goats, and wolves. Indigenous species also include coyote, lynx, marten, and red fox. Feeding on the spawning salmon are many breeding pairs of bald eagles. The occasional golden eagle can also be seen soaring over the canyons of the upper Tatshenshini.
A variety of hawks and the rare peregrine falcon also call this river valley home. Canada geese and the fish-eating merganser are found along the river. Gulls and arctic terns may be seen, as well. During your hikes you may come across ptarmigan and many varieties of songbirds. You'll experience all the nature northern Canada has to offer on this rafting trip of a lifetime.
The giant spring or king salmon, coho, sockeye, and chum salmon all spawn in the Tatshenshini and its tributaries, while rainbow trout and char populate the upper river. The mountain slopes are forested with hemlock, fir, and spruce.
Balsam, poplar, and cottonwood are found on the alluvial fans and river terraces, while wildflowers such as dwarf fireweed and cinquefoil grace the river’s edge. The alpine meadows are covered with wildflowers such as moss campion and spotted saxifrage.
During the tour, you will be provided with all on-trip meals and beverages, including a selection of vintage wines, spirits, local and imported beers, non-alcoholic drinks, and fresh water. The day begins with a serving of coffee, tea, fruit juice, as well as granola and fruit salad. You will also be served a hearty warm breakfast like eggs benny, banana nut pancakes with maple syrup, or scrambled eggs with freshly baked bread.
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