The Kanektok River, our home at Alaska West, is what we often call a ‘low-gradient’ river. Flipping through the Deneki photo archives this week, we came across this picture that does a pretty cool job explaining what that means.
Down in the left quarter of the picture you can barely make out our camp – that collection of tents and buildings you see on the far bank of the closest bend in the river. Off in the distance you see ‘the mountains’, about 30 miles away.
We fish the bottom 18 miles of the Kanektok, and around our part of the river the landscape is flat – it’s wide open coastal tundra. The river meanders back and forth a lot, because there’s not a lot of elevation loss per river mile.
The river has a ‘historical channel’ that it rarely leaves year over year, but inside that big channel, it bounces around a lot. What was a gravel bar last year might be underwater this year, and vice versa. New braids and channels split off, merge, form out of nothing, go away…every year!
That’s one of the reasons we love our home river – she’s an incredible resource, but a little bit different every year, and we like it like that.