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Where Eagles Soar

Chilkat river refection sup 2

Chilkat River

Cold wind blows down from glaciers that separate jagged peaks surrounding the Chilkat River. We zip up and seal the gaps in our clothing during a brisk walk along the only river in Alaska that does not totally freeze solid, due to a glacial sediment alluvial fan.Eagles on the Chilkat RiverThis stretch of unfrozen water provides spawning ground for the final salmon run on the north American continent. That’s why an estimated 3,000 bald eagles converge here annually for a final feed every November, in Haines, Alaska.Eagles on the Chilkat RiverMarilynn and I have volunteered as caretakers at the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve in Haines for two separate summers (Eagle Caretakers), and have seen many of the 400 resident bald eagles, but we have never witnessed the November convergence.  C’mon, 3,000 eagles? We’re skeptical, and expect that this phenomenon is probably over-hyped.EaglesHigh-pitched screeches in the distance call for us to pick up the pace, and break free of the woods obstructing our view. Viola! There be eagles, hordes of them!EagleSome soar down to the river to snatch a swimming fish with their talons, while others line up along dead-end channels that trap Coho and Chum.EaglesMany eagles perch in the trees to rest, or wait for an opportunity to steal another’s catch. Perhaps they conduct business in a language we cannot understand.Eagles on the Chilkat RiverThe eagles have arrived at their annual convention/feed. I’m not sure exactly how many have come. How can you count them all?Chilkat River during eagle festivalOutside of a few serious photographers, this week we have the place to ourselves. A handful of hearty humans shall arrive next week to enjoy this amazing event, and participate in the Bald Eagle Festival activities in Haines Borough for a final economic boon before winter.eagle eating and refelction 3We experience the gathering of eagles in one of the most pristine settings on planet earth. If anything, this phenomenon is under-hyped.Eagles on the Chilkat RiverThe cold wind blows down from glacial separated jagged mountains, and we seal the gaps in our clothing, looking forward to stoking up the wood burner back at the cabin.Chilkat River

Thank you Abundant Universe!


16 Comments Post a comment
  1. Colleen Puderbaugh #

    Ron….just “WOW”, I’m so happy that you and Marilynn have the opportunity to witness the amazing event. Amazing photo’s one of these day’s I’m going to experience it for myself. Enjoy…..and thank you for sharing your adventures.

    On Mon, Nov 6, 2017 at 12:48 PM, Ron Mitchell’s Adventure Blog wrote:

    > ronmitchelladventure posted: ” Cold wind blows down from glaciers that > separate jagged peaks surrounding the Chilkat River. We zip up and seal the > gaps in our clothing during a brisk walk along the only river in Alaska > that does not totally freeze solid, due to a glacial sediment all” >

    November 6, 2017
    • Thank you, Colleen. We had a great time together when you visited. “Santa Claus” is still pining for you!

      November 6, 2017
  2. Julie and Ron #


    November 6, 2017
  3. I am glad you could witness this annual event. Because Haines is a bit of the beaten track and the event takes place at a time of unpredictable weather only the most hardy souls make the gathering. The shores and mountains of Alaska have been places of mass gatherings (arctic foxes, caribou, whales etc.) and their numbers have dwindled. Too see that many eagles concentrated in one spot feels like a glimpse into the past. Thanks for sharing.

    November 6, 2017
    • Thank you, Bearly, and you’re welcome. You are correct, and the good news here is that the eagle estimated count has been going up for the past two years!

      November 6, 2017
  4. Skip Redpath #

    UNFREAKINBELIEVABLE!!! You two have experienced what millions will never get to see… Fantastic trips, adventures, travels.. Thanks for sharing!!

    November 6, 2017
  5. Fantastic! The photos are stunning and as always the prose are full of character and entertaining. Hope to cross paths again!

    November 6, 2017
  6. This is a special time to be in Haines. The seas are at 12 feet though, and ferry has been cancelled!

    November 7, 2017
  7. Mary Anne Legarski #

    As always, I am touched by the words and photos. Bravo my friends! Love you.

    November 7, 2017
  8. Alice G Chambers #

    You have some amazing pictures- the one with the eagle’s reflection in the water is a sure prize winner in some photo contest.

    November 7, 2017
  9. Phenomenal! Thanks for sharing your experience. Hope to get there to see this someday!

    November 8, 2017

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