From Headwaters to Confluence


I recently had a chance to do something I have never done on a river before. I floated a river from its headwaters to it’s confluence in one trip.The Kiseralik River in western Alaska is roughly 110 miles long depending on what braids you float. It rises out of Kiseralik Lake and meets the Kuskokwim River about 30 miles south of Bethel, AK. In its upper section it follows a steep grade passing several class III-IV rapid sections which are pretty scary because of the remote location and icy cold water. After it leaves the mountains, the river widens and becomes a series of braids. The trout fishing also picks up. In fact “picks up” is not quite right. It transitions from trout fishing to trout catching.

My wife thinks I am crazy because I spend all my work days doing my best to protect rivers and then when I get a chance to go on a trip of a lifetime (or any trip for that matter) I spend it on a river. I guess I am lucky that my personal life inspires my professional life (and visa versa). Have you ever floated, paddled, or traveled an entire river either in one trip or over the course of time? Let me know I need to start planning another “trip of a lifetime”. I can almost hear my wife sigh.