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Thread: Fly-in FLoat Back To The Road Trips

  1. #1
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    Default Fly-in FLoat Back To The Road Trips

    I've flown into the Ivishak in the Brooks Range each of the last two summers and then floated back to the Haul Road. It's a great trip, especially the first few days in the mountains. The advantage to a trip like this is it cuts your flight expenses in half.

    I'm just curious what other trips are available like this along the limited road system we have? The river should be suitable for a family float with no more than class III or easier IV's (whitewater is not a trip requirement).

    I'm familiar with the Talkeetna River trip, but that might be bigger whitewater than I care for especially if it's a single boat trip. I've looked at Clear Creek also out of Talkeetna, but it seems as if that would require a helicopter ride in due to the limited landing stips. I've yet to get a respeonse from the one helo guy I called in Talkeetna.

    What else is out there?

  2. #2
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    I think 40 mile air services a river or two that meet your criteria.

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    Yes, some sections of Fortymile River are great fly-in float-out trips. They are usually 7+ day trips though. Another option might be Chickaloon. I think it's like class III or III+ depending on water level. I've never done it but have always wanted to. Talkeetna is no more than class III at low water. Hard to predict when that will be though. Too bad there is no way to fly into the lower end of the canyon and float out from there.

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    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. Trips to ponder during the winter.

  5. #5

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    One river I've wondered about (but have put little thought into and no research) is the Koyokuk River with the idea of floating from Coldfoot to Bettles. Then having someone like Coyote Air picking you up in Bettles and bring you back to Coldfoot. However, I have no idea how long such a trip would take, what river conditions are like, etc. In that same area, one might be able to float the South Fork Koyokuk from the Dalton Hwy downstream. IF, and that's a big if as I know nothing of the area, one could get a float plane pick-up on or near the SF Koyokuk you could be transported back to Grayling Lake just south of the SF Koyokuk put-in (and hitch hike back to your vehicle I guess).

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    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Upper Chena call Quick Silver Air in Fairbanks 4-8 days family friendly however sweepers. It is a nice float if they can get you high enough depending on water conditions.

    Upper Salcha is also nice same as the Chena nice family float sweepers would be your main concern and water levels sometimes it is a drag up high.

    Beaver Creek Mellow Mellow most of the time float in from the road picked up by Wright Air back to Sqaure Banks.

    Road to Road and a nice float is Birch Creek.

    Another option in our back yard is the fly in to Dickey Lake and float out to Sourdough Landing 5-6 days lots of rock hoping and dragging some years and of course some nice class II pocket water below the canyon. You will not see many people if any at all the first two days.

    I know it is not the North Slope concerning option but all will offer a qaulity faimly float.

    Tight Lines and best of luck of your choice eh.

  7. #7
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    Anybody ever fly-in and float the West Fork of the Chulitna back to the main stem? I've only floated the East Fork down to the Princess Lodge.

  8. #8
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    Birdstrike,

    Do you have Jettmar's book? there are a few others in there.
    Nabesna you can do road to road, but it sounds tricky and it's easier as a flyout/float back.
    Bremmer, with two distance options. I'm thinking of trying the shorter one this summer, anyone have any experience on it?
    West/middle forks of the gulkana.

    I like what Blue Moose threw out there too.

  9. #9
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Here are a few for you:

    Fortymile: Bridge to bridge float

    Deshka: Put in at Petersville road (Moose or Kroto creek), take out via jet boat

    Gulkana: Put in at Paxson and take out at Sourdough

    Upper Susitna: Put in at Maclaren on the Denali Hwy and take out at Tyone River via power boat to Susitna Lake

    Wild River: Fly in to Wild Lake and float to Bettles. Fly commercial from Bettles back to Fairbanks.

    You might also look at our Master River Chart for the names of others, and print and DVD resources on them. Scroll to the bottom of that page for the chart. We are working on some other river resources for you, but they are not currently ready yet. I will announce when they are ready.

    Hope it helps!

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  10. #10
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the replys so far. Gives me something to look forward to when the H2O turns liquid again.

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    Default Chickaloon

    You had better be good with the sticks to float the Chickaloon. At low water there are lots of rocks to avoid, and at higher water it smokes, nearly class IV. The Chickaloon, from 16 mile to the road, never lets up at higher water, and the gradient is about 140fpm for a good bit of the whitewater. If you have smaller kids I would not advise this trip, unless you are a confident rafter under pressure, it does have a few tricky sections.
    On the flipside, at higher water, it is the best class III river I have done.

    Although not a flyout, the Kennicot is a good 4 day trip back to Chitna, which takes you through some scenic backcountry, and is not overly dangerous or difficult. The Nizina canyon, which you pass through, is cool, and has some good camping spots in the canyon itself. There is some fishing at the mouths of clear streams, which enter the Chitna, but you will also find bears there.

  12. #12
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    "Although not a flyout, the Kennicot is..." --- You can always make it a flying between Chitina and McCarthy. Actually, it's not a bad way to do the return portion of the shuttle.

    Another option to this is to fly out from McCarthy (or Chitina) to the upper stretches of the Nizina. You get the more interesting section of the Nizina Canyon that from what I hear. Personally, I'm too cheap to fly most of the time.

    Another creek to float is the Happy, but it's fly out and fly back. Another I've never done, but wish I could.

  13. #13
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    Who do you guys fly with in the chitina area?

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