Flowstate Episode 5: Struggles in Alaska: The Tiekel and Beyond

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Exploring whitewater in the Copper River Valley has been Brendan’s dream for years. Despite the Tiekel River’s easy access and seemingly classic late-season characteristics, few groups have explored it or the other major tributaries in its watershed. From the little beta Brendan and Parker could gather, it sounded like the Tiekel was good to go at super low flows. Little did they know, low water was just the beginning of their struggles trying to tie together three rivers in one trip.

Despite the endless portages and GPS locator failures, the duo lucked out with pleasant—yet strange—fall-in-Alaska weather for a whitewater-turned-wilderness trip. Instead of rapids, they filled their extra days with glacier exploration, delicious open-fire meals and basking in the Copper River’s solitude. Like most of their Alaskan adventures, they took-out with lessons learned and goals unaccomplished which only means they’ll be back next season to try again.

Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out the other episodes in the series: Koktuli Wild, The Chakachamna River: A New Alaskan Classic, Class V Fly Fishing & Surfing the Bore Tide.