Kicking Horse Re-Visited

Winter is a great time of year for exploring local wilderness generally too out of reach during summer months. Some of the local watersheds and glacial valleys become severely overgrown with dense thickets of Alder and Devil’s Club, essentially turning these locations into Alaskan Jungles

I’ve been up the Kicking Horse River on several occasions during the ¬†winter months in past years and this year is no exception… The Chilkat River is covered in anywhere from 4-10 inches of solid ice, making acces to the confluence of the Kicking Horse a simple matter. In summertime, a packraft or other vessel is neccesary to cross the raging highwater torrent. Not today; an easy (if slippery) stroll to the other side from 7 mile Haines Highway sees Angela and I snowshoeing up the Kicking Horse (also mostly frozen, making for easy travel) and all the way to the base of Mt Emmerich.¬†

One day before winter ends, I would like very much to ski or snowshoe all the way to the Garrison Glacier for an overnighter.

Today is an exemplary day; crystal clear blue skies, plenty of snow on the ground, and temps in the mid 20’s beckons a long day out. Once reaching the Sitka Spruce at the base of The Cathedrals and Mt Emmerich, we eat a snack, take in this special and not often visited place, and happily agree to come back for a closer look before the snow melts.

Kicking Horse Snowshoe-1
Frozen Chilkat
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Mt Emmerich and The Cathedrals

Kicking Horse Snowshoe-3

Kicking Horse Snowshoe-4
The Skeleton Forest

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Kicking Horse Snowshoe-6
Crystals

Kicking Horse Snowshoe-7

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Angela doing some “snowshoeing” across an open spot on the Kicking Horse River
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Entering the upper valley

Kicking Horse Snowshoe-10

Chilkat Spindrift Sunset

Out on the Chikat River ice after work today sees the sun dipping behind the omnipotent peaks of the mighty Chilkat Range and spindfift blasting from it’s summits. The wind must have been over 60 mph up there. Out there on the frozen river, the temps were close to zero with the windchill. Alaska in winter is spectacular to say the least…