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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Cont., Tatshenshini by Robert Glenn Ketchum

Continued,
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild by Robert Glenn Ketchum

In 1990, I was invited on a 10-day float down the Tatshenshini, a huge river system flowing from Western Canada to the Pacific Ocean that literally divides two of North America's largest national parks, Canada's Kluane National Park and Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park. A gold mine was being proposed mid-river. I broke the story in LIFE magazine. There were many other articles and a book. The mine was never developed and the river is now a wilderness corridor. This is a conservation SUCCESS story!




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Due to the size and quality of the photos included in this blog, and as too many photos tend to slow a blog down, we have opted to host these previous entries on a separate post in order to best optimize your reading experience. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015


TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #51
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #51:  There is only so much you can do to control a big, heavy, rubber float boat in a strong current; it tends to go where it wants. This caused us to get up-close-and-personal with some pretty dramatic ice involuntarily! Fortunately no harm was done. Some of us continued to help paddle, while others used their paddles to push off threatening pieces of ice. Thankfully, as we floated ever further into the lake, the current subsided and we began to drift amongst some colossal icebergs. In the warmth of the sun, I closed my eyes and listened to the myriad sounds of tinkling ice, and dripping water. The boats grew quiet, and everyone zoned out in this spectacle of big ice, and even bigger mountains.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015


TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #50
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #50:  Some low clouds still clung to the #Canadian side of #AlsekLake, as it was more interior, however where the ranges faced the coast directly, it was dazzlingly clear. With our last walk-around over, we climbed into the boats and launched our day. We were on the #river and were being carried along by the strength of the current, but when we entered the lake there was still considerable current pushing us, so as this loomed up, our oarsman / guide suggested that we all JOIN IN on the paddle. Rather suddenly this clumsy, heavy, rubber raft thing took on a whole new light as we watched big bergs collide and grind into each other, sometimes rolling over, and always bristling with sharp points of ice that we surely did NOT want to brush against!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015


TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #49
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #49:  We were all up early because the skies had cleared considerably, and the sun was shining and warm. After a quick breakfast, we broke camp and loaded the boats. The spit was such a spectacular view, once the boats were loaded everybody took one more “tour” of the bay and the driftwood beach before we pushed off. The bay was sparkling, the big icebergs were calling to us, and #CeliaHunter was getting a few last shots before we began our day of floating. This is one of my last shots of Celia, an amazing women I feel privileged to have known. And yes, that is an official "floaters' wardrobe featuring the signature southeastern Alaska shoewear: #GoodyearXtraTough boots (LOL).
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015


TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #48
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #48:  The moonglow did not appear through the clouds on the #Mt.Hayes side of the lake, but there was so much radiance from #Mt.Fairweather and its surrounding summits, the aura actually bounced off of them, went under the clouds, and lit up the bay behind our camp. The illumination provided enough light that people were walking around without any flashlights, enjoying this last, and somewhat unusual night. With a bit of luck, and a break in the weather, we hope to float around and between these puppies tomorrow.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015


TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #47
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #47:  The stunning arena upon whose edge we were camped placed us closest to the #glacier and supportive summits rising to #Mt.Hayes (13, 832-feet). Turning to the right, across the lake expanse we will paddle tomorrow, is #GlacierBayNationalPark and Preserve. The 15,325-foot summit to the left is #Mt.Fairweather (little #Alaskan joke there). The #FairweatherGlacier (middle, right of the peak) is well over a mile away and it is 5-miles wide. The weather seemed to be clearing and we were all still up walking about and enjoying our last night before flying out, when, somewhat unexpectedly, the full moon came up. Brilliant, but shining through various cloud layers, it cast glowing, luminous tones across the #landscape that were even brighter than the sunset. We all took it as a good omen.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #46
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #46:  Looking back, upriver, I could see the line of coastal peaks and glacial valleys that we had floated past earlier in the day. They, too, were caught-up in the glowing light of the evening. The spit was a great place to be camping as it gave us an unobstructed view of this astounding basin... HOWEVER we were NOT the only ones that thought so. The sand left VERY CLEAR TRACKS and bear prints – BIG coastal brown bear prints – everywhere! If that wasn’t enough, as Celia and I were exploring, we found a “nest” of logs, bear hair, and scat on a grassy nob on one of the highest points on the spit, offering the-best-of-all 360*. Clearly those bear met here regularly to party and enjoy the view. I hope they don’t discover we have beer!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #45
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #45:  At the tip of the spit there was a lot of sand, little vegetation, and spectacular panoramic views. In the time it took us to drift down to our final campsite, the weather opened-up a bit, and some holes of sunlight were illuminating the ranges in #GlacierBay on the opposite shore. The tallest summit looking in this direction is #MtHayes. It is miles away, literally on the Canadian border, and it is obscured by these “lesser” peaks in the foreground. The glacier you see here is fed from Mt. Hayes, AND the surrounding #mountains, and is one of several that terminates in #AlsekLake.  It calved huge #icebergs that we will paddle amidst in the morning. For scale, the face of the #glacier at water's edge can be measured in miles; it is several miles wide!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #44
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #44:   We had come ashore on a gravel bar peninsula that separated the river from #AlsekLake for a mile or two, before the river flowed into the lake. The driftwood-covered beach, the #icebergs floating in the lake -- and the lake itself -- took on an astounding palette of blues and silver under the overcast. The whole landscape seemed to have a glow about it. Perhaps some of that was my subliminal visual reaction to being surrounded by steep walls and a dark green forest for days, however it did seem that the weather would not get worse and the light was getting better and better. Dick Rice wanted to move the boats just a little farther down the spit and camp here for the night/ So we hopped back in, drifted nearly to the end of the spit, and climbed back out on a very sandy beach with an AMAZING view. Stayed tuned for next week!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #43
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #43:   Late in the day, floating in the cooling shadows of the coastal #mountains, the left shoreline of the river began to flatten and open to a view. Over the bushes and the berm of the shore we could see distant mountains, but only just barely. Finally there was a long stretch of sandy shoreline, and our guide, Dick Rice, suggested we pull the boats in so we could get out and “stretch” for a bit. Dick also recommended that we might want to take a short hike up over the berm to “have a look.” Brilliant! Over the berm and through the grasses, we found ourselves on the northern edge of #AlsekLake, looking into #GlacierBayNationalPark and Preserve. The lakeshore was a spectacle of strewn driftwood carried down by #glaciers and #avalanches, and then blown here by prevailing winds. Perfect for a good campfire that evening.  And maybe, just maybe, the #weather would clear because this was quite an impressive amphitheater of #summits and glaciers, and I wanted to see it all!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #42
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #42:   Finally we reached the bend to the left that brought us to the “backside” of the coastal range. Immediately, more and bigger #glaciers appeared on these #summits, fed by the relentless #weather on the western slope where incoming storms from the Gulf of #Alaska, slam into some of the tallest coastal mountains in the world. Steep, glacially carved valleys literally lined-up, one-after-another. on the right side of the #river. Many large meltstreams fed into our flow every mile or so as we drifted ever closer to #AlsekLake. Our excitement grew also as the weather continued to improve and the afternoon was pleasantly warm.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #41
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #41:   In the boats and moving, I was surprised at how far downriver the #summits of the coastal range were. They seemed relatively near the day before, yet the clarity of the air here can make distance deceptive. Still not around the sweeping bend to the left that would take us to #AlsekLake, we were floating past the last of the interior #mountains that formed the #river corridor. This formidable group of summits served for a dramatic “exit” from the interior, however they also reminded us of how much #glacial retreat had been occurring within this range and river system. The immediate foreground is a massive moraine deposit, left by a glacier that actually came to the river’s edge less than 20-years ago. That was also true of the #WalkerGlacier, upon which we had been hiking yesterday.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #40
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #40:   As we progressed through breakfast, the clouds seemed to be lifting. The buzz of breaking camp, and loading the boats, picked up momentum as the day improved. We were all eager to float this last -- supposedly spectacular -- section of the river, before our trip would end. In this picture, #Alaskan Pioneer Women, #GinnyWilliams (left) and #CeliaHunter (right) sit patiently at their boat, “waiting” for the rest of us. Best friends, both pilots, both adventurers, AND business partners (they founded Camp Denali), these two are EXPERIENCED travelers in wild land. Having fine-tuned their techniques and their gear, they were ALWAYS ready before the rest of us, so now they are just “sun-ing.”
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #39
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #39:   By dawn, the #Pacific had exerted its influence on the river, and the dazzling vistas of the day before disappeared. It wasn't raining, however, and the cloud cover seemed more like morning fog than bad weather. Later in the day we left the #TatshenshiniRiver corridor and floated into #AlsekLake, a large body of water fed by the river and many large glaciers that descend into it from #GlacierBayNationalPark (@glacierbaynps). Our next camp was on a broad western beach of the lake, looking west across the coastal plain towards the Pacific, and immediately adjacent the outlet where the #AlsekRiver (actually the Alsek and Tatshenshini combined) begins its run to the sea. The steep glacier-clad shorelines we were floating past were gone. Alsek Lake, HOWEVER, lies at the foot of some of the tallest summits in Glacier Bay, and many huge glaciers and icebergs would be visible, in, on, or across the lake, so we were all hoping the weather would clear.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #38
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #38:   Before all #light was lost, I wanted one last look “into-the-future” downriver, so I walked away from the buzz of dinner prep and “cocktails” and wandered down to the edge of the Tat. In the morning our float would swing briefly to the right, around the dark promontory, and then take a sweeping turn to the left directly under the peaks of the coastal #mountains, which are looking pretty dramatic this evening. After such an amazing, sunny day, would our luck continue tomorrow, or would we wake to find ourselves immersed once again weather from the #Gulf?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #37
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #37:   Finally back in camp, and with dinner prep beginning, the last rays of sunlight kissed the peaks above the #Walker glacier with #Alpenglow. The summit in the middle of this shot is the same as in previous post #35, just from a very different perspective. The clouds that were seen pressing against the coastal range from our lunch viewpoint were creeping into the river valley, and a chilly wind was rising. All of which prompted a lot of activity in camp as people once again hauled out their fleece and windshell layers so we could retreat into our comfy little techno-suits (thank you, @Patagonia) and enjoy the evening.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #36
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #36:   I began to navigate through the #meltwater #streams on the #glacial surface in order to get to the left side of the #Walker and into the moraine field and outwash plain that would eventually take us back to our camp. Previous posts have shown views downriver – where we would go tomorrow – so this view is upriver (to the right). The two bright dots at the treeline in the middle foreground are two of our tents. You can also see the large eddy “bay” that we pulled into when we beached our boats. Once again, scale is everything and you are lucky to even see those tents as there are eight others down their somewhere, and four large colorful rafts, none of which are visible despite this rather encompassing perspective.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #35
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #35:   When the afternoon began to cool down, and the long shadows of the setting sun started to crawl across our amazing view, it was time for us to give up our perch and head down. The warmth of the day had intensified melting on the #glacial surface, so now there were newer, bigger rivers of water everywhere. Ultimately we would walk to the right side of the glacier to get to our camp. For part of the descent, however, I stayed to the left, as close to the icefall and vertical summits as I could safely get because it offered yet another amazing perspective of this dynamic #geology.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #34
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #34:   Our trip was nearly over, and looking down-valley we felt we could “see-the-future.” Tomorrow the #river would bend to the left and carry us directly in front of the coastal #range. The #GulfofAlaska and the #Pacific were just on the other side of the background #summits, and at this moment you can see the first signs of incoming #weather / #fog collecting around the peaks. Our encampment was on the right side of this picture, presently out-of-site from our rocky lunch mound.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #33
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #33:   From our viewpoint, looking up the #WalkerGlacier valley revealed a world that disappeared beneath the #ice. ACTUALLY, there used to be much more ice here. and this #glacier is in retreat, so technically we are viewing a world EMERGING from beneath the ice. Either way, it appeared cold and not particularly inviting. An ever-cooler afternoon breeze was also flowing over the ice mass, and how you shielded yourself from it made all the difference in the world to your comfort zone. Our knoll was perfectly situated as its slope and the scrub brush behind us served as our windbreak. And the view we faced was not only grand, BUT directly into the sun. Cheers, another beer, and then....
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #32
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #32:   After a final photo-op in front of the #ice wall, we scrambled into the #rocks and scrub brush and followed a game #trail up-slope to an outcrop offering a spectacular view. This was a perfect spot for lunch, a few beers, and some great semi-naked sun-bathing. Once we were off the ice, we were also out of the cold #katabatic flow of air, so it was truly hot. Our view down-valley revealed a #lake at the toe of the #glacier facing our camp. The more we stared into this vast #landscape, the more it mesmerized us. Interestingly, as we all studied it the less we spoke. We slipped into quiet contemplation as the enormous energy of the place seeped into us at a primal level for which no words are needed....
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #31
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #31:   Close proximity to these big #ice #spires is a breathless moment. As if the scale, shape, and color are not enough, the ice is amazingly audible. The sound of water dripping and flowing is everywhere and changes constantly as you move past individual #pinnacles and #crevasses. The ice also creaks and pops. Occasionally, somewhere else up-valley, we would hear the rumble of a much larger ice shift or an #avalanche from a sidewall. As the day warmed up, more and more of that occurred. I had the sense of walking on the dynamic skin of the #planet – the glacier was alive... moving, breathing, flowing, carving – and the extreme vertical rock summits surrounding us now were a testament to that carving power.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #30
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #30:  After the photo-stop, we approached the crush of #ice as close as was safely possible. The jumble of jagged towers just grew larger and larger as we walked toward them. Water flowed around us everywhere, and in the midday light, the blue glow coming from the “deep” ice was luminous. Because there were so many water rivulets, some quite deep, getting around required some strategy. Here Ginny Williams, Dick Rice, and another of the guides, survey the direction the walk will take. Some of the tallest, bluest #seracs -- pinnacles or ridges of ice on the surface of a glacier -- were near the point we would leave the ice, so we were eager to pass by them before scrambling into the rocks.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #29
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #29:  A good distance up the #glacial valley and a considerable gain in #elevation, we finally reached an area of #seracs that were unnavigable. It would soon be time to eat and warm up in the sun, OFF of the ice. We would walk on this ice terrace to a rocky outcrop to the left of this image, but first everyone stopped to take pictures and enjoy the view. Ice-blue #meltwater flowing off the #glacier had created a considerable “bottomless” #moulin - a DEEP sinkhole/tunnel into the heart of the sub-glacier river system. One of our troupe wanted THE shot, but standing near the edge is tricky business, so lead guide, Dick Rice, and others provided appropriate protection. I DO NOT even like looking down into these from a safe distance!!! Hail to my ILCP colleague, #JamesBalog, who descends into giant moulins in the #Greenland icecap to shoot pictures!  You could NOT PAY ME enough to do that!!!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #28
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #28:  The day was truly sunny, warm, and beautiful, but a #glacial valley always has cool, #katabatic air flow down-valley that may not be strong, but it is constantly chilling, SO fashion of the day was the ever-attractive swimsuits/shorts-over-capilene-longjohns, capped off with your fleece vest and rain shell. Most of us were also sporting our knee-high rubber rain boots. Navigating on the #glacier was determined by steepness of terrain as no one had crampons or carried an ice ax, but the broad glacial tongue had few crevasses and was laced with dazzling rivers and pools of crystal clear, pale blue #water. With all the reflected sunlight, dark glasses were required, and looking through my viewfinder without them often caused my eyes to water. We probably could have all gotten nice tans if we weren't covered from head-to-toe!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #27
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #27:  The next morning dawned crystal clear and quickly warmed up. Everyone slept well and after a great breakfast, there was a flurry of activity around making lunches and organizing daypacks because we were all eager to walk on the #glacier. With the picture-perfect day, there was a great vibe going in camp.  Our head guide, Dick Rice, was talking with #Alaskan Pioneer Women #CeliaWoods and #Ginny Williams by the boats with a beautiful backdrop of the #river, so I asked to take a picture. In the first two or three shots, the three were very formal and stiff, so I goaded them all a bit to be “creative,” at which point Dick simply picked both women up. These were two amazing women I had the privilege to know well, and this is one of my favorite shots. NICE boots, Ginny!!!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #26
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #26:  These two #summits and their hanging #glaciers were directly above our #river campsite. To the left, ever-taller and more ice-clad peaks form the right hand side of the #WalkerGlacier’s valley as it retreats from the shore of the #Tatshenshini-Alsek, back into the heart of #GlacierBayNationalPark and Preserve. We will walk in that direction tomorrow. For the moment, during dinner last light in the river corridor brings #alpenglow to the imposing rock and ice faces before us. In the silence of the evening you can hear water flowing everywhere, punctuated by an occasional boulder or ice slide echoing from somewhere up the valley.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #25
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #25:  As the boats drifted around a bend in the #river, our view UP the glacial valley aligned. The hills out of view to the left are green, south-facing slopes covered with dense brush and forest. The #WalkerGlacier is descending a valley between those slopes and the northern side of some much larger #summits that you see here. Those summits accumulate #snow and all of them have generated small #glaciers that are feeding into the Walker on the valley floor. As ragged as the glacier looks, weather permitting, we will walk on it for a good bit of the next day. Moments later a small #cove in the #river appeared and we eddied in to a nice beach in quiet water. The fine glacial silt in the dry, runoff streambeds of the glacier is going to make for some very comfortable sleeping tonight, and the #streambeds would serve as our pathways of approach to the glacier in the morning.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #24
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #24:  As the day wore on, the #weather didn't clear, however it didn't rain on us, and we had numerous sunny breaks. Following a late lunch stop, we drifted for several more hours in search of a very specific #beach that would give us access to walking on a #glacier. It was getting late and the angle of the sun was low, slipping under some clouds and highlighting a very stark landscape. We were floating by an edge of terminal #moraine, left by a retreating glacier that previously came all the way to the #river. The glacier that reached the river and deposited this moraine was fed by several others, all of which were coming down from the numerous summits in the distance, into a valley that lies between the green hills and the peaks beyond. Soon the river would swing us to the left, around this deposit and a small #cove would appear in which to eddy-out and set-up camp. We would sleep within a short walk to the "tongue" of the #WalkerGlacier.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #23
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #23:  An upside of the rain-prone #environment was a constant display of spectacular #waterfalls. Virtually everything that could flow WAS flowing.  All day long we drifted from #glacial display, to vertical #forests alive with the sound of cascading #water. We stopped for lunch on the #alluvial fan of one of these cascades. It was nothing more than a rocky beach surrounded by scrub, HOWEVER it was graced by flow from the stream that built it.  Needless to say, we enjoyed the water as much as the food!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #22
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #22:  The early morning sun and the allusion of breaking #weather in such an astounding setting, followed by a good breakfast, made us hopeful for the long day ahead which seemed to be trying to clear-off. Our now very-large-river-of-conveyance, the #Tatshenshini-Alsek was rolling along with an increasing volume and speed because of the rain and the many, MANY rivers, streams, and glaciers feeding into the system. Dramatic cascades of glacial ice would plunge down valley-after-valley, seemingly coming out of the clouds because of the still-low sky. The verdancy of the southeast #rainforest was asserting itself, and what wasn't covered by ice was clad in dense vegetation and equally dense forests floors.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #21
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #21:  As you see from the last two posts, the view from my tent site was quite nice and I followed the sunrise on the nearby #summit. From there, however, I could not see the #river, BUT I could smell breakfast, so I grabbed my #camera / tripod and walked that way. As I came through the thicket of scrub trees onto the bank where we brought the boats in, THIS was my morning view downriver. At the end of this project, this image would be a print given to Senator Al Gore (@algore) and Canadian Premier of British Columbia Mike Harcourt for the “partnership” they formed to protect this river corridor.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #20
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #20:  As we floated evermore into the coastal ranges, there were #glaciers everywhere. Many, as two in this picture, have been created by snow accumulation in cirques. However, these #summits are really ONLY THE FOOTHILLS of the central peaks in the two national parks, and the #glacier to the far right is NOT born from a cirque, but rather it is coming from a much larger snowfield ABOVE this #summit. We will have an AMAZING overview of this when we fly out, as from this position it seems hard to believe that most of this mountain and summits behind it under snowfields.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #19
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #19:  We finally found an approachable beach and a very “woodsy” area behind it to make camp. After all the drama of the day and the irregular weather, everyone was tired, hungry, and then ready for bed, so it was an early evening. However, as I was settling into my tent and sleeping bag, I could hear the rustle of wind in the trees around us and there was actually a warming in the air. THAT was the promise of some clearing the next day, which dawned with few clouds left in the sky, and those that were there were clearly lifting.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #18
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #18:  Back in the boats after lunch, we were moving along at a considerable rate-of-flow, following huge meanders the #river would take. Big water vistas over wide sections would suddenly change, as we turned a narrowing corner, picking-up speed, and sweeping under 8,000-foot peaks raining down glacier! Sand bars in the distance would appear covered with debris twigs, and then we would come up on them and the “twigs” would be massive cottonwood trunks and branches. The #Tatshenshini-Alsek is so “active” and constantly changing flow-course, that it takes out some substantial vegetation which ends-up in the water with you and your INFLATABLE RUBBER boat! As we approached one bend in the river, we heard an explosive pop. We then came around the corner to see a second tree falling, as the two had been undercut just before our arrival and that noise was the first one hitting the water! It was a good thing we were on the opposite side from all the action, and it was quite amazing to watch.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #17
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #17:  After our morning "adventure," the remainder of the day was pretty benign. It warmed-up, everyone dried out, and although we were a little behind schedule, we reached our lunch spot around 2pm.  We dined at the "confluence camp" where a stunning maze of #sandbars and #braids marks the juncture of the #Tatshenshini with the massive #Alsek #river system coming off the backside of Mt. St. Elias. We also entered US territory, and will be following the river along the backside of the coastal mountains between #GlacierBay National Park and Preserve and #Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. During lunch we enjoyed a stunning display of 26 visible #glaciers from our "kitchen" table. Sometimes groups camp on these bars, but today we are going to move a little farther downriver after lunch.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #16
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #16:  We could see a large #eddy pool #downriver, and it looked like Celia swam into it, keeping her from being swept further away. I had gone to the back to the boat and was trying to pull our drowning guide out from under the raft, to no avail as water force made it impossible. I did say previously however, that the older gentleman had been a Colorado river guide in his younger days, and without missing a beat he stepped up into the guide chair as if he had never left, took the oars and steered us into that eddy as well. Amazingly, Celia was up on a big sandbar completely NAKED, wringing out her wet clothes. As the current and our oarsman pushed our nose into the same bar, the guide trapped beneath the boat went feet-first into the shallowing sand, and because she was holding the rope, it popped her up a like cork, standing in waist-deep water behind us, gasping for air. The next raft to catch up was the almost-stranded cargo carrier. Caught off-guard by all of this in VERY fast water, the third boat could NOT get close enough to the upstream sandbar to pick-up the stranded teenager. That is EXACTLY why head guide, Dick Rice, wanted to be sweep. With a dramatic leap on her part, and a vest-grab on his, she was now back with us as well. Someone said we should start a fire to warm Celia, the guide, and dry clothes. Both Celia and the guides response was, "we have a big day ahead and a long way to go, let's just get back into our damp, wrung-out gear and paddle ourselves dry." So, we were off....
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #15
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #15: The boat was too large for the small #eddy and kept getting pulled into the flowing #channel. Our guide was using her oars, as the older gentleman and I were using paddles, trying to hold us in, but it was not enough. In a simultaneous split-second reaction, three people decided to do something: our guide left the oar chair, scrambled to the back of the boat and wrapped her arms around the huge snag log, trying to hold the boat with her leg and arm strength. Celia Hunter stood up and stepped out of the boat onto the top of the sandbar bluff, intending to hold the boat from there with the lead rope. The teenager from Juneau jumped out to help Celia, however his jump pushed the boat away from the bank and out into the current. Celia fell beneath the boat into the ice-cold waters of the Tat, and was swept under the boat, coming up downstream and flowing quickly away (at 70yrs of age)!!! The force of the river pulled the boat away from our guide, with her legs flipped over the side as she clung to the snag tree. Trying to save her boat and not be separated from it, she lunged for a rope at the back tube and went into the water! For a second or two she could hold position on the round inflated-rubber hull, but before anyone could get to her and pull her in, she was swept under the boat and pinned against the raft bottom by the force of the current, while still holding on to the rope. Quickly we were picking up speed with no one in the oar chair, one in the water, one left standing on the sandbar, and one pinned under the boat drowning. Gooooood Morning, Alaska !
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #14
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #14: In spite of passing weather, the morning seemed off to a good start as you can see from #CeliaHunter's beaming face (right, foreground). Our party had four boats: leading today was a novice guide, with the laden cargo boat and no passengers. Then came the boat with Celia, the teenager from #Juneau, and the older man, who like Celia was in his 70's. Behind them were the other two boats, with lead guide Dick Rice as "sweep." The current was really flowing and it took some work to navigate through braids and around sandbars. At one point, the cargo boat swung too wide on a turn because of its weight, and began to drift into the wrong braid channel. Getting separated in this maze would be disastrous, so to prevent getting pulled into the channel, the guide grounded the boat on the bar, and got out to push it back into the main channel. Celia's boat blew by, headed downriver. Not wanting to get separated either, they started looking for an eddy where they could 'hold ground' until the cargo boat was back with the group. They found a SMALL eddy in front of a big sand bar with a steep embankment, and there was a vertical tree trunk buried solidly in river mud sticking up several feet out of the water at the shore of the bar.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #13
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #13: It rained on-and-off throughout the night, and was still doing so at breakfast. Every once-in-a-while some sun would break through. In this shot you can see the risk of floating this part of the river quite clearly:  sand bars littered with dangerous log snags are everywhere! Regardless of the #weather, we were all warm in our gear and from our breakfast, so we broke camp, loaded up our little 800lbs freight boats and shoved off. To this point the trip had been amazing and also flawless, without any mishaps such as forgotten gear, leaking tents, or damaged boats.  But NO ONE goes to #Alaska without having a uniquely Alaskan experience... and sometimes those experiences can be sudden, challenging, and less pleasant than you may have hoped. On this day, the most novice of the #river guides was rowing the heaviest "cargo" boat; no passengers, just coolers and gear. Seventy year-old Alaskan Pioneer Woman, #CeliaHunter, was in another boat that had a top female guide at the oars, a teenager from Juneau, and an elderly man who had been a river guide on the #Colorado. Dick Rice, lead guide of this trip, was last boat when we shoved off as he wanted to be river "sweep" - the last boat to help if something happened to the others. A good guide is prescient...
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #12
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #12: After those fleeting rays of nearly horizontal last light lit up the proposed #Windy-Craggy mine site, the #Tatshenshini river corridor and our camp dropped into the shade of the coming night. Looking downriver I could see the glaciated summits of the #CoastalRange - some of the tallest coastal mountains in the world - and I knew in the morning we would float toward them! Sometime during the next day's travel we expected to be joined by the huge #Alsek River coming out of #Kluane National Park and Preserve on the Canadian side, but also fed by the eastern snowfields of one of America's largest national parks, #Wrangell-St.Elias. Mt. St. Elias is one of the steepest vertical displacements in the world, rising 18,000-feet from its shoreline base. Because it faces directly into the Gulf of Alaska and horrific weather, the 13.2 million acres of the national park support a huge complex of snowfields and watershed, a part of which we will soon meet. Where the two rivers come together, thousands of sand bars have been created, and hopefully one of those will be our next home, referred to by the guides as 'The Confluence Camp'.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #11
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #11: We hit the beach and everyone knew these were critical moments of #weather and visibility. Rather than set up camp, I threw my gear on the shore, grabbed my #cameras and wandered out onto the accessible sandbars to get as good a view as possible of the summit where the Windy-Craggy mine was proposed. It was NOT raining nor was it too windy, all in my favor. Now it would just depend on what would happen before we lost the light, and if the view would open through the clouds. Minutes skipped by, as did numerous clouds forms and small rain squalls - it was getting late and we were about to loose the sun. With about 15 minutes to go before it would set, the passing weather broke off revealing a great bit of the mountain, and some where to the west, the last rays of sunlight poured in. This shot was to become a double-page spread in #LIFE magazine, when I broke the story protesting this mine in the American press.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #10
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #10: When we came to the mouth of the #creek that led up a #valley to where the #WindyCraggy #mine site was proposed, you could see nothing but trees and the lesser foothills, so we decided to continue the float until the main guide, Dick Rice, and I could find a suitable beach-with-a-view. It was a tricky proposition because we were in heavy boats being carried by fast currents, and you could not easily maneuver with any great speed. There were also lots of confusing braids, sandbars, and driftwood dams. In addition, it was possible that we could float too far, and lose view-sight, and it would be impossible to come back. My fear that the view might also be obscured by weather was playing out as well.  Then suddenly, a break in the clouds brought sun, and the summit above the Windy-Craggy site poked through. Simultaneously, our guide Dick Rice found a break in the braids, with a big eddy, and a gravel shore. We found a home for the night and the weather was momentarily in my favor!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #9
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #9: As the hours progressed and we floated further towards southeast #Alaska, the weather got serious. Bouts of cold wind and rain came down all morning. Our intended destination for the night was a camp with a view of the valley and summit that was to be the site of the proposed #WindyCraggy #mine. Unfortunately, that beach is somewhere downriver, around the bend of dark trees to the left, and right into the ever-lowering skies. As the summits disappear, I worry that we might not see the mine site at all. On another note, thank you manufacturers one and all for the GREAT gear that has allowed me to do things like this throughout my entire career (45-years) in complete comfort: PATAGONIA (apparel); HELLY-HANSEN (rainsuit); NORTH FACE (sleeping bags); ALPINE DESIGNS (tent)!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #8
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #8: Rested after a day off the #river, the next morning we launched downstream once again. As we float ever closer to #Alaska, there are many changes. On the day the trip started, the put-in was so shallow you could nearly walk across the river. That first day floaters encounter some Class-3 #whitewater as well, but after that, the river just gets broader and faster with every confluence. When we reach the junction with the massive #Alsek River flowing out of #Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, our water volume will more than double, and sections of the co-joined flow will be over 2-miles wide. Getting closer to southeast Alaska also means we are much closer to the influences of the Pacific.  Ahead of us, today, we could see some of that rolling in....
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #7
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #7: We were still in #Canada, but in a very short time the #river had taken us from the #tundra into the #mountains, and for the rest of the trip these #summits would just keep getting larger, more abrupt, and more ice covered. These two #granite #domes are across the river from the #beaver #ponds and quite impressive in scale. Many of the early #ranges we will encounter are without snow or ice and look like they could be "walked-up" above the #forest line - the problem always seemed to be getting through the forest, streams, and rivers just to get to the rock! The select places we would camp were chosen because they allowed us some special access, hike, or view. We would learn that sometimes just finding the spot to land the boats was challenging.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #6
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #6: At the summit of our day-trip hike, we were afforded an expansive view of the Tat's many braids and the entirety of the #beaver #wetland that had been created at the foot of our ridge. This was both a great view and lecture. I had never worked on a #mining project before, and had read that the developer, #GeddesResources, claimed the "footprint" of the #Windy-Craggy #mine would be very small. What I would learn standing here is that footprint ONLY includes the mine site, still some distance away. BUT, to access the mine, store the mine tailings, etc., etc., the footprint will actually be MUCH larger. For instance, the beaver wetland in this view would be transformed into a #tailings "containment pond", whose contents would be kept from the #river by a clay-gravel, earthen #dam 400-feet high. This location and the mine site would be connected back to #DaltonPost (up the valley to the left) by a 60-mile highway requiring ten bridges, all paralleled by a massive pipeline system to remove the #ore. All of this proposed in wilderness.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #5
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #5:  The next morning we left our flower-covered #meadow and floated quite some distance #downriver. As the #river got bigger, the braids and arms became MUCH more complicated and needed to be "read" by the #oarsmen, so the heavy boats would stay in the active #channels with the most water and not become grounded in shallows. After passing one such large complex of swamp and braids, we came ashore near small river confluence and made camp. We would stay here two days, and the next morning we all went for a hike. Our camp is out-of-picture to the right, the edge of the #swamp/braid maze is below us to the left. Even after all these years of work in #Alaska, I am always struck by the scale of this #landscape.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014


TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #4
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #4: After lunch and the hike, we were back into the rafts and floating on past the #river confluence we viewed from the top of the hill. The #mountains around us rose ever higher and more abruptly, and the drier #Canadian #tundra interior gave way to a greening of #trees.  First densely deciduous, and then increasingly large patches of evergreen #forest. At about 4 o'clock in the afternoon we came ashore and began to establish camp in this beautiful #meadow. With all the tents deployed and the kitchen assembled, we were about to begin our first meal in the "wilderness" when a helicopter dropped in on us out-of-the-blue (so to speak). It was Canadian border patrol and because we were such a large and organized party, they knew this was a guided float, so they wanted to check permits and passports. The were very polite, and when all was seen as being in order, they wished us a safe and fun trip, promising we would be amazed. THEY WERE RIGHT!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #3
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #3: Even though it was a warm day, down on the #water there was almost always an #upriver #wind in your face and the breeze can be very chilling over hours of exposure. In our 800-lbs #rafts there were usually 4 guests and a single oar-person paddling from a raised chair in the middle of the #raft. Floating with a VERY FAST #current and the guide simply steering, guests did not HAVE to paddle unless there was need, or we were cold and wanted some exercise to warm up. Stopping occasionally to hike and eat also did that, so on this first day we stopped for lunch at a spot with a short summit trail affording us an overview of the #Tat just before a confluence with another #river. There would be hundreds of these #inflows of various sizes over the next ten days as the scale of the Tat would grow exponentially while we drifted toward the #Pacific Ocean and the glacial-clad coastal ranges.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #2
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #2: This 10-day #river float down the #Tat was not just a casual exploration of a proposed #mine site, this was a cleverly organized trip. Carolyn Muegge-Vaughn (wife of one of Alaska's great adventurers, Col. Norman Vaughn) was, at the time, head of the Alaska Nature Conservancy (@nature_AK), and she clearly foresaw that the proposed Windy Craggy mine in #Canada could threaten #American #parks and #fisheries. She put this float together like a media strategist and we were all her invited guests:  with a purpose.  I was the photographer, and above you see two other remarkable participants, Alaskan Pioneer Women, Celia Hunter (left, rear) and Ginny Woods (left, front). Celia was 71, Ginny was 73, both lived in Fairbanks and together they founded and built Camp Denali. These women were HARDCORE! At the moment, however, we are all just enjoying a VERY sunny, warm day in the Canadian interior.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #1
TATSHENSHINI: Saving a River Wild, #1: This is a new #blog celebrating both a victory over a bad mining idea, and the creation of an amazing #wilderness area. I AM STARTING THIS BLOG TO CELEBRATE THAT THIS YEAR, 2014, IS THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE WILDERNESS ACT. The success of the Tatshenshini campaign helped create the largest contiguous designated wilderness in the world, so it seemed like a perfect time to tell this story, AND for the followers of my NO PEBBLE MINE blog, I hope this inspires you to know that you CAN stop that development! So, to begin - you get to the "Tat" by taking a ferry from Juneau to Haines, Alaska. In Haines, light load cars and trucks haul you and your gear to a riverbank near Dalton Post, Canada. We will start this trip near the border of Kluane National Park Reserve in Canada, passing through both British Columbia and Yukon Territories before turning west toward the Pacific.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2014, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild

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