August 17, 2019 - Alsek I

We just got home from rafting the Alsek River, spending twelve days camping and paddling through UNESCO World Heritage site wilderness. The river runs through the southeast corner of an international park system that encompasses the world’s largest non-polar icefield, which stretches from Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains through provincial park zones in the Yukon and British Columbia, and back through Southeast Alaska to pour into the Gulf just south of Yakutat.

If you’re curious about what makes it worth visiting, a quick scan of its “Outstanding Universal Value” criteria boils it down to this: “The parks demonstrate some of the best examples of glaciation and modification of landscape by glacial action in a region still tectonically active, spectacularly beautiful, and where natural processes prevail.. . . .This is one of the few places remaining in the world where ecological processes are governed by natural stresses and the evolutionary changes in a glacial and ecological continuum.”

A Youtube video of the unpaddle-able section of the river, which must be portaged . . . by helicopter . . . to the Ride of the Valkyries . . . is also probably worth a study break.

I’ll be posting photos from our trip over the next few days. Happy 72nd birthday, Charlie!