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"Alsek River Rafting
by Sharon Kapple
Sharon's raft trip down the
Alsek River was an adventure into one of North America's
wild and untamed places. The Alsek River originates in the Kluane National Park Reserve. The river flows approximately
200 miles across the Yukon Territory, the northern tip of
British Columbia and the Alaskan panhandle, emptying into
the Pacific Ocean at Dry Bay, Alaska. The river is formed by
the ice melt from one of the world's largest sub-polar ice
fields of the St. Elias Mountain range.
National Park Reserve.
The convergence of the Alsek
and Tatshenshini rivers forms the second largest river
flowing into the Pacific Ocean. Sharon's adventure was
highlighted by breathtaking scenery, class IV rapids, a heli-portage
over Turnback Canyon, walking on glaciers, paddling among
icebergs, and camping in fields of vibrant wildflowers.
rapids were at the out flow of Alsek Lake.
Before coming to Los Alamos in
1999, Sharon's forays into hiking consisted of completing 23
of the "50 Hikes" in Western New York, and several trails in
the Adirondacks. Shortly after joining the LA Mountaineers,
she had her first and very memorable Mountaineering
adventure camping in a mosquito infested swamp that almost
flooded during a hard rain and leaving the Bano on the other
side of a patch of quick sand. She has also been on several
less memorable Mountaineering day hikes and one Bluff trip.
Her other adventures include scuba diving in Curacao,
kayaking the slower parts of the Klamath River, trekking on
the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and the Ausangate Circuit in
Peru. She has also hiked in Utah's Glenn Canyon, Grand
Staircase/Escalante, and Arches National Parks, plus
Colorado's Grand Junction area and Death Valley in
California. She also discovered that Yellowstone blanketed
in snow is breathtaking as well as intimidating for a
beginning cross-country skier trying to traverse a steep
slope, the bottom of which requires a sharp turn onto a
foot-bridge that if missed will see you knee deep in very
cold water several miles from the lodge. While she's
attempted scuba-diving, kayaking, cross-country skiing, and
skiing across water, hiking is her number one activity.