Alaska Flotilla: Leg 2, Day 4 – Wrangell Lay Day | NW Explorations


Alaska Flotilla: Leg 2, Day 4 – Wrangell Lay Day

Another great day in SE Alaska, I’d say. The Stikine River has plenty of food running through its icy glacier waters near Wrangell. Leander and Mike from Change of Latitude went fishing with the crew of Discovery, Lee and John, hosted by Marlin Benedict’s charter. John caught a sizable halibut while Jim and Leander found two king salmon on the ends of their lines. It was a great day on the water near Wrangell, despite light rain and overcast skies.

Breakaway Adventures led seven of us up the Stikine River as he talked about the rich history of the river valley. There were biologists sampling king salmon as they swam up the entrance of the river on their annual run of these waters. One of the state’s biologist had caught a 35lb coho, the biggest I’ve seen. After some quick measurements declaring a clean bill of health, the fish was released back into the wild with a radio tag to gather data on the local fish populations. Many of the returns have been lacking in the recent years, so this data is essential to protect the five species of salmon that call Alaska home.

Further upstream the group spotted icebergs and growlers hinting to a glacier close by. As my eyes scanned the high walls of granite,  I saw snow-capped peaks offering millions of gallons of water to the watershed in a series of high, cascading falls that braid the tall rocky cliffs like a veil of white lace inside the misty fjords.

Soon the tour boat rounded the next bend to a massive glacier meeting our gaze with brilliant colors of deep blue ice against an impressive high-mountain cirque. On top of the glacier, rock debris littered the surface as lateral moraines become median moraines with different ice flows blending together. The ice, approximately 60 feet thick, terminated into an emerald lake shy of a thousand feet deep leaving bare bedrock in its place. It was a gorgeous setting of Mother Nature transforming into a sculpted masterpiece of rock and ice, soon to be consumed by mosses, sedges, and Sitka spruces.

All in all a great day of exploring for the river-goers as well as the fishermen in our group!

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