Mountain Slough

An Alaska raft-packing trip

Last Spring my friend 'Wilder' Ryan and I decided to go on an over-night pack rafting trip. We threw things together last minute, borrowing paddles, a GPS, and some local knowledge. We had heard there was a fixed up old cannery building at Crystal Falls, sounded like a good camp spot to me!

The Route: Paddle down the Eyak River and Mountain Slough. Camp at the abandoned Crystal Falls cannery. Paddle the ocean to Sunny Bay. Hike back to the pickup at Heartney Bay.

We started paddling down the Eyak after noon, figuring we had a short float down the river and tidal slough.

Unfortunately when we got to the point where the Mountain Slough connected we found it dry. Whoops, didn't think to plan that part with the tides. (A Slough is a part of a river that fills up with the high tides) We hydrated, packed up and started walking, hoping to catch up with the tide further down the slough.

Eventually we gave up on finding enough water and started cutting corners. Good thing for long Alaska days, it was just starting to get dark when we reached the cannery.

The Crystal Falls cannery was abandoned after the 1964 earthquake raised the local elevation, leaving the cannery high and dry and a little crooked.

We found the fixed up building after checking out the other creepy buildings. It was even stocked with firewood and candles!

The next morning we set out on the incoming tide for the land of distortion.

"Land of distortion, the intertidal now short green grass, flat and stretching to the mountains, sun reflecting on the glassy sea, blue cloudless sky and birds everywhere, loving it, their noise carrying, amplifying? Bears 7, no 8 of them playing in the grass, or are those geese? "No those are bears" I insist, before they fly away."

Wilder Ryan

Once we reached the ocean it was a long slow paddle to Sunny Bay, but the weather couldn't be better.

We stopped for lunch and a fire at sunny bay. Lunch with Wilder Ryan almost always involves foraging on whatever is around.

Apparently this stuff is edible.

The hike back was exhausting. First pushing our way through willows, then navigating the Devils club clad shores of a couple lakes.

I was exhausted when we finally made it to Hartney Bay where a friend picked us up.

#goexplore #stellerverse #action #creative #places

Share This Story


get the app