Wrangell St Elias National Park Canoe Trip Day 3.5

After lunch on our third day the weather was perfect and we cruised along.

Nice Weather

Throughout the trip the river would occasionally toss us some small swells or whirl pools, nothing really that scary. In fact up to this point we would occasionally aim for them as they would relieve the boredom of just trying to stay in the channels to avoid grounding. But right after a smaller river merged we turned a bend and got completely blind sided by a huge wave and flipped our canoe right over.

Now… for anyone else that takes this trip, this is not a situation you want to find yourself in. The river at this point was at times only waist deep but was moving so fast you could not maintain footing. We spent a good 15 minutes in this 40 degree water.

Jake's bar incident

If felt like 30 seconds and hours all at the same time. Tried as we may we couldn’t swim to a place to gain footing. Luckily we managed to hold onto the canoe. Close to the end I almost had to let go as I had lost all feeling in my hands. Finally we managed to get caught in an eddy close to Jake’s bar, at this point I was utterly exhausted. Each time I kicked, it came with a mouth full of water. I could barely breath and was choking. Somehow managed to get to shore.

I really have to thank Dave for some how getting a fire started, finding me dry clothes and putting a hot cup of water in my hands. Though I was able to get dressed and undressed, I was pretty much purple and shaking so bad I could barely unbutton my pants. Even my speech was severely hampered. Just now 4 months after the fact, I think I’ve finally regained all the feeling in my finger tips. So to make a long story short… be careful, while most of this river is calm there are very rough and dangerous areas, and you do NOT want to find yourself in the same position as us.

Recovery Camp Site

We spent the night here, and the entire next day. The bugs were absolutely horrible at this site across from Jake’s bar. To quote a friend “Mosquitoes… very troublesome”.

Nature's Drier

Nature’s Clothes Drier

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