Backpacking and Rafting in Canada
July 11, 2013
On the Fourth of July we departed Southeast Alaska and began our journey into Canada. We crossed the boarder into British Columbia for our backpacking adventure. With the sun shining, our packs adjusted and boots snug we hiked into the tundra of the Tatshenshini Wilderness. The terrain was filled with vibrant wildflowers, some including alpine forget me nots, fireweed, bluebells, arctic lupine and western columbine. On the first day we saw Willow Ptarmigan birds and their little chicks moving quickly on the ground.
The mountains were still snow capped, and some of the snow was lower in elevation. Isaac was excited to play in the snow with a big smile on his face. Our second day Brice was leader of the day and carved a great path for us while in route to Samuel’s Glacier. Although we just saw it from a distance it was amazing to see this vast glacier that has carved some of the land around us. That night Brice crafted some of the tastiest pizza pitas, oozing cheese and crispy crust, very delicious.
The following day we hiked through the valley to the south west. We were all eager and excited to see the change in terrain from hundreds of wildflowers to very short shrubs and a mossy landscape. We ended our day at Mineral Lakes, two lakes at 3,500 feet of elevation. We explored more of the area by climbing high up to a saddle, which is an area lying between two peaks. Ray was able to find our tents in the distance and pointed out how tiny they looked. That night Ray cooked up a delicious chili dinner.
Our hike out to our pick up spot was quite interesting. We were moving through taller brush consisting of Bebb Willow. We must have gotten too close to Willow Ptarmigan birds nesting area and they began going crazy, even their little chicks were making a ruckus. This moment created a new appreciation for nature and how even a small bird is protective of their home.
Once we were picked up at the trail head, we continued on to our rafting adventure. We began rafting on the Blanchard River and continued on the Tatshenshini River when they met. We lost track of which country we were in from the beginning. Everyone was amazed at the confluence of the two rivers joining because of the colors coming together. The Blanchard River consists of snow melt and is crystal clear while the Tatshenshini River is glacial melt and is quite dark and brown from the silt. When the two rivers meet there is a fine line in the color scheme separating the two. The rafting was truly a highlight for everyone. It was some people’s first time rafting and we all loved it. Adam sat in the front of the raft like a champ, he continued to set the pace and paddle even through the toughest rapids. Brice and Adam informed everyone that this rafting was way better than east coast rafting.
After an energized day on the river we headed back to Haines to organize gear and get back on the ferry to Juneau. Although our fast paced, adventurous trip is coming to an end we are excited for our banquet dinner tomorrow night in Juneau and a little more exploration of the capital of “The Last Frontier”.