— White River Backpack, Float and Fly —
The Ultimate Multi-sport
For someone looking for an epic historical adventure, this trip would start with a flight, progress by foot, and end in a packraft, having covered nearly a hundred miles, starting in the United States and ending in Canada.
To start this trip, we’ll hop into a bush plane, which will fly us over a few ridgelines from McCarthy to Nizina Lake. We’ll blow up the packrafts, crossing Nizina lake and floating with the icebergs at the end of the glacier, until we reach the eastern side. After deflating our packrafts, we’ll backpack up to Wolverine Pass, where we’ll connect with the historical Goat Trail. Don’t let the name fool you, the “trail” is faint in many places and rugged, a track left by gold stampeders nearly a century ago. We’ll follow this track up and over Chitistone Pass, where we’ll see the Russell Glacier down below. Blowing up the packrafts again, we’ll cross Skolai Lake, before continuing on foot beside the Russell Glacier. This point represents a huge watershed divide; the rivers before drained through the Wrangells to the Copper River, but from here on, all water eventually leads to the mighty Yukon, traversing many thousands of miles across Alaska before reaching the ocean.
From here we’ll traverse along the Russell Glacier until the terminus, using our packrafts to cross several smaller creeks on our way to the mighty White River. Upon reaching the White River, we’ll blow up the packrafts again, keeping them inflated for the 60 mile float. After working hard for days, we’ll let the river do the work for us, floating through the braids and canyons of the class II White River. The border between the US and Canada will pass unmarked and insignificant in this wild land. Finally, after many days we’ll see our first evidence of modern man, a bridge spanning the White River, marking our takeout. This is the famous Alaska Highway: from here a traveler could head back to Alaska or continue on to explore the Yukon Territory.
“A fantastic experience — wild Alaska at its best!”
Click on the markers below to view important points along your trip. Check out that zoom feature!