A GRIZZLY, A BALD EAGLE AND DEBRIS FROM THE JOKULHLAUPS
An annual event along the Salmon River on the border of Alaska and BC is the Jokulhlaups (pronounced simply ‘yuk-a-loops’) which is an Icelandic word meaning “outburst flood event of glacial origin”. About 25 miles up and 3,000 feet highter in the mountains from this point is the toe of the Salmon Glacier. A bit farther up the mountain is 300-foot deep Summit Lake, filled with melt water. This is a self-dumping lake that drains under the glacier, usually around the first of August, creating an immense rooster tail of water to shoot out of the glacier's toe and flooding the river below with glistening, turquouise ice-bergs and sweeping huge trees, boulders, whatever is in its path, down the long canyon. The river is sometimes raised to catastrophic heights and the freezing water and ice create an eerie fog when it meets the warmer water at the lower altitude. The course of the almost mile-wide river is changed each year as sand, sediment and debris are moved around by the fast-flowing water. Around the first of July, friendly bets are placed on the day the flood will commence - and anyone who decides to drive up to the summit in late July is urged to carry, at the least, water and granola bars in case the road is washed out, as has happened some years. It takes several days for the river to return to its quiet, meandering self and we're left with the altered vista, massive piles of immense up-rooted trees and a few melting, blue-crystal chunks of ice bobbing about or stacked along the river bank.