GUIDED ALASKA Custom

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VIEW AVAILABLE TRIPS A custom trip begins with a dream. Yours. Perhaps it is your desire to camp amongst the great herds of caribou in the Arctic. To climb high into the Arrigetch Peaks, to photograph bears in Katmai National Park…the options in Alaska are exquisite and limitless. For the wilderness traveler there is no better destination. We take designing your custom wilderness trip seriously. With decades of experience, exhaustive knowledge of the landscape and wildlife, and an extensive network of pilots, boat captains, luxury lodges, and guides, each itinerary is tailored exactly to your specific dreams. The process starts with your desires, the size of your group or family, your expectations, your budget and your abilities. Our role is to advise, inspire, listen, and finally to transform your dreams into reality. We can share with you what is possible and help you craft the ultimate Alaska adventure. All of our trips are "off the beaten path", true wilderness expeditions. A custom trip can be one of our scheduled trips on dates of your choosing and exclusive to your group, or an entirely new and unique itinerary just for you. We work with groups from 1 person to 10 people but 4 to 6 is often the best. Browse through the list of custom trips we have done in the past or give us a call and tell us about your big Alaska dreams. We can help make them happen. From a family friendly base camp to true exploration in the farthest reaches of Alaska. Wildlife trips: Our experienced guides can help you find wildlife whether it be caribou, polar bears, blue-throats, grey-headed chickadees, or musk oxen. Photography trips: Wildlife photography, landscape photography, film or art. We have worked with professional and amateur photographers from around the world. Let us help you get the shot. Film or Science Support: In addition to "fun trips" we also provided guide services and logistical support for field projects big and small. Skills training: Need to improve your wilderness skills? We can provide field courses, skill specific classes in Fairbanks or a combination of the two. Rafting or canoeing workshops, navigation seminars, wilderness safety.... the list goes on. We have the experience to teach you. Family and youth trips: We love seeing young people enjoying the wilderness. Though we haven't had any clients under the age of 7, we take our own toddlers to the Brooks Range regularly. We can plan a trip that will be safe and fun for people of any age.

Glaciers and Fjords

From the rugged glaciers of the Chilkat Range to the calm waters of our local fjord we’ll explore the beauty and contrasts of northern Southeast Alaska with this combination rafting, hiking and kayaking trip near Haines.

calendar

DATES

TBD
region

REGION

Southeast Alaska
price

TRIP COST

$$

TRIP DETAILS

In a tangle of mountains at the end of the famed Inside Passage lies the small fishing town of Haines Alaska, population 2,200. With North America’s longest and deepest fjord in the front yard and some of America’s tallest peaks out-back, Haines is an ideal place to base our adventures.

Adventure #1 takes you to the foot of a glacier deep in the Chilkat Range where we plan on backpacking, day-hiking and rafting for 3 days. The trip starts with a ride in a 2 person bush-plane; just you and the pilot soaring low over the forests and rivers searching for moose and bear. You’ll land by a grey glacial lake just a stone’s throw from the DeBlondeau Glacier which pours out of Glacier Bay National Park just to the south. After setting-up camp in this spectacular location we spend the afternoon scrambling on the rocks and exploring around the glacier. The gray of the lake dotted by floating icebergs, blue of the glacier and the green of the trees makes outstanding scene. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for mountain goats in the rocks, moose in the willows and wolves on the gravel flats.

With this good start we explore deeper into the mountains into country too rugged to allow airplane access. The narrow valley and braided channels of the river beckon us to explore to the very head of the valley where the Tsirku Glacier creates an icy wall. If conditions permit we may be able to skirt the edge of the glacier and climb high into the alpine areas for endless vistas of mountains, river and glaciers stretching to the horizon. It is a spectacular kingdom of rock and ice and we have a full day to explore the mountains or relax in camp.

On our third day we inflate the raft and negotiate a small rapid. Once past the rapids, we enter the forested portion of the watershed, tundra gives way to lush coastal rain forest and the river gains size. The valley widens the trees grow enormous and after rounding “Devils Elbow” we find the first spring-fed river of the trip. Stow your paddle and grab your fishing rod. The deep gravels of the Little Salmon River provide spawning habitat for salmon among other fish. We’ll definitely be on the lookout for bears here as they like to fish even more than we do. Below the Little Salmon River we enter the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve and we can expect to see lots of eagles perched on driftwood along the river. After a day on the river we return to the road

Adventure #2 Starts just 25 miles away but in a world apart. The austere ice-scraped mountains loom above the the great northern rain-forest with 5 ft diameter spruce and moss several feet thick. Our highway through this forest is the cold and rich Chilkat Inlet, thousands of feet deep and part of an extensive fjord. Sea kayaks provide a good balance of intimacy with the ocean and safety from it. The weather dictates our movements and we can elect to set up a base camp on the beach and do day trips from there, or load the kayaks each day and explore into the next cove and around the next point.

With a 25 ft tidal range the beaches can stretch long and broad at low-tide and when the tide is in we can paddle underneath the drooping hemlock branches. Grassy flats, sandy beaches, cobbles, cliffs and the big tree forests offer a great variety of areas to explore and camp. We’ll loaf in the sunny meadows when the weather allows and seek the comfort of the woods when needed.

Wildlife is unpredictable but the fjord’s rich waters feed salmon, halibut, cod and a host of other fish, which in-turn feed, humpback whales, harbor porpoise, and stellar’s sea-lions in the water and bears, wolves, fox and eagles on land.

A sturdy and warm camp, blazing beach-fire, and food fresh from the sea make a perfect end to a day exploring on the water and in the woods.

 

This trip is operated in cooperation with Haines Rafting Company and SEAK Expeditions

ITINERARY

What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.

Day 0:

Meet your guide for a pre-trip meeting at your hotel in Haines at 5 pm. Lodging included.

Day 1:

Weather permitting we fly, one at a time into the Upper Tsirku and land next to the glacier. Set up camp and let the fun begin!

Day 2:

A full day to hike in the upper Tsirku. We could hike to the very head of the valley and day-hike into the peaks above the glacier. Or stay closer to camp and paddle around in the glacial lake or scamper on the ice. It is dramatic and challenging country and there is no end to the adventures we can invent.

Day 3:

Down the River. We’ll paddle and row our raft captained by your guide through the initial rapids and down through the braids. Once we pass the rapids we enter the forest and tundra gives way to lush greenery on the banks. If water levels and time permit we’ll have a chance to explore and fish in the Little Salmon River before paddling the remaining miles to the Chilkat River and the road. We spend this night at a local B&B in Haines. Lodging included.

Day 4:

Showered and with clean clothes ready for the next adventure, we load our gear into the water-taxi for a 1/2 hour boat ride across the inlet and south of Haines to our favorite campsite. We’ll pitch our tents above the tide-line in the grass near a small river, protected from the south-wind and with an amazing view of the mountains and ocean. Welcome to paradise! We’ll have the afternoon to collect driftwood, hike the beach or kayak along the shore in search of wildlife.

Day 5 and 6:

Tide and wind are our masters. We can paddle into quiet coves, or kayak across the broad grey sea. We can climb to the top of an island for views up and down the fjord, fish for halibut, or walk in the green woods. No matter where we go we’ll scan the beach for bears and the water for whales. Or if you’d prefer to hike inland, we can trek up the river dwarfed by 1,000 ft cliffs to the glacier. It is a challenging hike to a spectacular destination. There is no end to the adventures we can have on the wild and rocky shores of this northern fjord. With long days we can probably do a bit of everything!

Day 7:

All good things must come to an end. We’ll spend the morning packing-up, hiking and paddling. Mid-day we meet our water taxi for the ride back to Haines. If the weather permits, we’ll ask the captain to swing past a big rookery of sealions on the way back to town. We may miss the quiet of the woods and the rhythm of the tide but Haines is a fun town to end a trip in. Lodging included.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

3 nights lodging in Haines

2 nights camping on the Tsirku River

3 nights camping along Lynn Canal

Boating, camping and safety equipment

Food while in the field

Professional Guide Service

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

Transportation to Haines

Food in Haines

Lodging beyond the 3 nights included in the itinerary

Alcoholic beverages

Personal clothing and gear per our Equipment List

Gratuity for guides

WEATHER & BUGS

The weather in Southeast Alaska is highly variable. It can be almost summery with temperatures up to 18C with sunshine or we can be visited by powerful storms with heavy rain and temperatures closer to 10 degrees celsius. The weather inland tends to be drier and cooler with the coast a bit warmer and damp. Each year is different and each day will be different. Pack for the cold and wet, but bring a short-sleeve shirt in case summer is lovely this year. Weather data is available at here.

RECOMMENDED READING

Jimmy Bluefeather, Kim Heacox; Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss; Across the Shaman’s River, Dan Henry.