Kayaking the Tatshenshini


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Week of December 12-18, 1996
Kayaking the Tatshenshini
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Kayaking the Tatshenshini
Question: Has anyone run the Tatshenshini River in Alaska in an inflatable kayak? If so, can you send me what info you have available?

Ken Fowler
Chico, CA

It’s easy to see why the Tatshenshini is becoming the fashionable river to run

Adventure Adviser: There are two main obstacles you need to be aware of if you’re thinking of running the Tatshenshini in an inflatable kayak. First of all, the 160-mile stretch of glacier-fed river from Dalton Post to Dry Bay on the Gulf of Alaska will take you a good 10 days at least, which means you’ll need plenty of food, supplies, and
gear–a hefty load of provisions that you’ll be hard-pressed to store in a single kayak without the help of a support raft.

Secondly, while half of the river is fast-moving, kayak-friendly Class III rapids, the other half is shoulder-straining flatwater plagued by nightmarish, up-river winds. If you’re not alarmed by the prospect of paddling for a good 80 miles with a boat full of gear, then the Tatshenshini by kayak is the trip for you.

A few things to keep in mind: All private groups must mail away for a river permit before putting in. And since the Tat is fast becoming the fashionable Alaska river to run, you need to put your request in early if you’re on a tight schedule; otherwise, be prepared to pick alternate dates. Permits cost $25 and can be obtained by writing to Glacier Bay National Park, Yakutat
Office, P.O. Box 137, Yakutat, Alaska 99689.

If you opt for a raft-supported kayak trip, Stan Boor in Haines will set you up with a rental raft and he’ll also arrange for a shuttle to the put-in at Dalton Post in the Yukon, at Mile 150 on the Haines Highway (907-766-3307). As for getting out, the only way is by float plane. Call L.A.B. Flying Service at 907-766-2222 to schedule a pick-up. For more details, call
Glacier Bay National Park at 907-784-3295 or their river information line at 907-784-3370.

Your other option, of course, is to sign on with Alaska Discovery’s guided 10-day trip via oar- and paddle-raft. Trips depart out of Haines from June through early September and cost $2,100 per person, not including airfare; call 800-586-1911 for more details.

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