Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Copper River Adventure, Day Four

         Hot tea, delivered to our doorway at 6:30 a.m., kick-started the fourth day of the raft trip.  Tim and I sipped the brew from our warm mugs, shook the sleep from our tired bones, and emerged from the tent refreshed and ready for another day on the water.

The Copper River rewarded us with easy paddling again this morning and we drifted along until we reached an area called “The Dunes”.  Formed by winds blowing pulverized glacial silt, the dunes seemed out of place in the Alaskan woodland wilderness.  We climbed the sandy hills while munching a pre-lunch snack of crackers and cheese.

The Dunes on an overcast day.  This area reminded me
of coastal Washington or Oregon.

Leave your inner fashionista at home when rafting in Alaska.
I'm sporting the latest in raft-wear—a decidedly unfashionable (but waterproof)
outfit of rubber pants with suspenders, topped by a rubber coat.
        Back in the rafts we caught a good current which whisked us to Shell Creek where we stopped for lunch.  Kate and Guide Tim prepared pasta salad, fruit and bagels while Husband Tim strung up his fly rod for a little casting.  No luck.
Winds picked up this afternoon and we had a tough go of it, fighting head winds all the way to our fourth night’s camp along the Wernicke River at the head of Baird Canyon. 
After making camp Husband Tim fished the Wernicke where it spills from the mountains to meet the Copper.  Again, no luck.  We later learned that the Copper River is among the most silty and turbid rivers in the world due to glacial run-off—rendering fly-fishing a thankless task.

Tim fishes the braided channels near
The Peninsula.  Beautiful spot.
No fish to be had.

The turbulent Wernicke near our campsite.
The fish weren't biting.
         We retired soon after dinner this evening, knowing we would need our rest to face tomorrow’s long day of paddling and our run through the Abercrombie rapids.

Fourth night's camp near the mouth of Baird Canyon.


          Much to Husband Tim’s dismay, the Copper River was not well-suited for either trout or for fly-fishing.  Steelhead Trout do live in the Copper River and they're prized for their salmon-like coloring and taste.  However, the prime catch on the Copper River and its tributaries are King, Silver and Sockeye Salmon.  Native Alaskans employed fish wheels to catch salmon, and the wheels are still in use on the river.  Alaska residents may also use dip nets to catch fish in the Copper (seasonal restrictions apply).  Most tourists who want to fish in Alaska sign on with a guide or charter service.  Maybe next time!

         Read about our other adventures on the Copper River Raft Trip by clicking on the links below:


  1. Its always a pleasure to read about your travels and the pictures!

    Say hello to Tim, will you

  2. And it's always a pleasure to receive and read your comments, Soumyendu!

    I'll pass along your "hello" to Tim.

    Thanks for following!

  3. Well, first of all, it's very apparent that you chose a great tour group for your Alaskan adventure. The places to which you were taken are awesome and unique!

    Thanks for the link regarding the fish wheel. What an ingenious device. Did Tim resist the urge to construct one for personal use!? :-)

    Any idea as to the identity of those flowering plants in your third photo?


    1. Hi John,

      To answer your questions: No, Tim was not at all tempted to construct a fish wheel! Those wheels didn't look nearly as fun to use as a fly rod!
      I think the flowers in the third photo are Alaskan Fireweed. If anyone knows any differently, let me know.

      You're right—we certainly had plenty of unique experiences in the Alaskan wilderness.

      As always, thanks for your comments and questions!

  4. Hi Rita,

    Was especially looking forward to this episode to learn of Tim's fishing adventures - felt very sorry for him! :( Though he did give you a good photo among the fireweed.

    The silt content of the river had me imagining the salmon and trout wearing swim goggles, just to make their way back to the spawning grounds!

    Loved learning about what you need to wear while paddling - it may be low fashion, but I'm sure it kept you warm and dry on the river - and seeing the photos of The Dunes. What amazing territory - loving this series!

    1. Hi Vickie,

      I loved your image of the salmon and trout wearing swim goggles. Not a bad idea!
      In the far north a "float trip" involves wearing all the heavy, waterproof gear you're seeing in this series—it's definitely not a swim-suits-and-sunscreen type trip! (At least ours wasn't.)
      I'm happy that you are loving this series. Stay tuned for the exciting 5th day!
      Thanks again for your kind comments!