FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2017
Wednesday, 18 September, 2013 04:40

An Adventure On The Stikine River ….

A Day In Anchorage ….
We woke up to rain on our day in Anchorage so after breakfast headed to the museum.   For a town of only 300,000 people they have an excellent museum covering the history of Alaska and the Indian and Eskimo tribes that live here.  The building, the exhibits and the displays are all first rate and should not be missed if you are visiting.  We came out of the museum 3 hours later to a nice sunny day and spent the aftenoon exploring the town.

Anchorage Museum.  The history of Alaska on display.

Anchorage Museum. The history of Alaska on display.

An Eskimo coat made from various animal skins.  Truly a work of art.

An Eskimo coat made from various animal skins. Truly a work of art.

A Great Find On Urbanspoon ….

A search of Urbanspoon and we selected a place for dinner a short distance from the hotel and this turned out to be a real treat.  It was a tiny little Japanese restaurant with limited seating and hand written menus hanging from the walls.  It was run by a Japanese chef and his mother who must have been at least 85 years old.  With only limited seating we were at the same table as a couple of delightful Anchorage girls and we quickly struck up a conversation.  By the end of the night it almost turned into a family dinner.  We were talking to everyone in the restaurant, helping the little old lady clean up the tables and laughing our way through the meal.

Our new friends at the Japanese restaurant.

Our new friends at the Japanese restaurant.

A Milk Run ….
Next morning we checked out of our hotel and headed for the island of Wrangell for our 3 day river safari. The flight was a milk run on a Boeing 737 jet stopping at Juneau, Petersburg and finally Wrangell, our destination. There was a bit of excitement when we stopped at Petersburg and 2 prisoners in chains were escorted onto the plane. We also had our shortest ever flight on a jet, 9 minutes from Petersburg to Wrangell. Wrangell was our starting point for the Stikine River Safari.

Our jet for the milk run to Wrangell.  Note the filled in windows at the front of the plane.  This was also a cargo plane.

Our jet for the milk run to Wrangell. Note the filled in windows at the front of the plane. This was also a cargo plane.

An Expedition Up The Stikine River ….
Up early the next morning and we joined 3 other couples for our adventure up the Stikine River. The program was to travel 260 km up the river to Telegraph Creek which is an historic gold mining ghost town. The trip was in a very comfortable jet boat powered by two 355hp Cummins diesel engines with a top speed of 84 kph. It was fully equipped with indoor and outdoor areas and a full marine toilet. A very comfortable boat for our trip.

The jet boat for our river safari.

The jet boat for our river safari.

We Become Illegal Boat People ….
The trip up was fascinating as there are over 28 glaciers feeding the Stikine River along its full path of 539 km. It is one of the fastest flowing rivers in the United States but its headwaters start well into Canada. The first 64 km are in the United States and then you cross the border into Canada. The easiest border crossing we have ever made. No customs, no immigration and no border guards, just total wilderness. The standing joke by our skipper Jim Leslie, as we crossed the border was he was required to perform a strip search starting with the ladies first.

One of the 28 glaciers feeding the Stikine River.

One of the 28 glaciers feeding the Stikine River.

Spectacular Scenery ….
Around every bend in the river we were greeted by spectacular scenery: snow capped mountains, glaciers and numerous creeks and rivers flowing into the Stikine. This is a true wilderness area and apart from a few hunting cabins and floating cabins there is nothing else on this 260 km stretch of river. We even watched a moose and her calves in the fast flowing river, clamber up the bank and disappear into the wilderness. About 160 km up we stopped for a great barbeque lunch on the banks of the river complete with an open fire, tables and chairs and plenty of food.

Moose crossing the river.

Moose crossing the river.

A BBQ lunch on the banks of the Stikine River.

A BBQ lunch on the banks of the Stikine River.

We Reach Telegraph Creek ….
After lunch we travelled the last 100 km to reach Telegraph Creek around 4:00 PM. We were then transferred by van to our accommodation, a hunting lodge located about 6 km from the town on a property owned by Dionne & Miles Samson. Dionne was our host for the 3 days and prepared our wholesome lunches and dinners from home grown and local produce and served this in her own home with assistance from her mum. The lodge, although basic, was very warm and comfortable and we enjoyed our two nights stay.  A special treat for us was to have afternoon tea at Nancy Ball’s house.  Nancy, now in her 80’s, is a local icon in Telegraph Creek and it was a real treat to spend time with her in her house with magnificent flower baskets on display.

Our lodge for the two night stay in Telegraph Creek.  Warm and comfortable.

Our lodge for the two night stay in Telegraph Creek. Warm and comfortable.

Nancy Ball (centre) with our hosts Jim and Wilma Leslie during our afternoon tea at her house in Telegraph Creek.

Nancy Ball (centre) with our hosts Jim and Wilma Leslie during our afternoon tea at her house in Telegraph Creek.

Nancy Ball's log cabin covered with colourful hanging baskets.

Nancy Ball’s log cabin covered with colourful hanging baskets.

Exploring The Town ….
For our second day we visited the Grand Canyon of Canada, a spectacular canyon on the Stikine River, returned for lunch then spent the afternoon exploring the ghost town of Telegraph Creek. There are only a few people still living in the old town and it was fascinating to walk around this town and see all the old buildings in various states of disrepair but still standing. Further up the hill a couple of miles away there is the Tahltan Indian Village with about 250 residents. These villagers still retain their traditional ways of hunting and fishing and have summer fishing huts and smoke houses along the river for catching and smoking salmon during the salmon run.

One of the many empty buildings in the ghost town of Telegraph Creek.

One of the many empty buildings in the ghost town of Telegraph Creek.

St Aidens Church in Telegraph Creek.  Still used occasionally.

St Aidens Church in Telegraph Creek. Still used occasionally.

A local in the ghost town, a chipmunk.

A local in the ghost town, a chipmunk.

A Faster Slower Trip Down The River ….
Because the river is so fast flowing our boat speed down the river was much quicker but we made more stops so our total travel time was the same. We visited an old riverboat refueling stop from the early 1900’s, just a cabin now in disrepair. We stopped for lunch on an island in the river and went exploring for wildlife tracks. We saw plenty of tracks and our guide Scott explained how old they were, the type of animal and the direction they were headed. It is interesting that we were not allowed in the bush by ourselves and at all times Scott carried a rifle for protection against animal attacks.

Exploring the bush.  Our guide Scott complete with rifle in case of bear or moose attack.

Exploring the bush. Our guide Scott complete with rifle in case of bear or moose attack.

Liz at the abandoned riverboat refueling station.

Liz at the abandoned riverboat refueling station.

And On To Prince Rupert in Canada ….
Next morning up early for a look around Wrangell. This is a very neat and tidy town and looks very much like the set of a western movie. Once again not on the main tourist trail with the cruise boats so devoid of gift shops. Early aftenoon down to the Alaska Marine Highway ferry terminal for our overnight trip to Prince Rupert in Canada for the next leg of our journey, the Skeena train to Jasper.

Alaska Marine Highway Ferry for our trip to Prince Rupert, Canada

Alaska Marine Highway Ferry for our trip to Prince Rupert, Canada

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