Until today I had still not gotten my raft wet this year. I was in Colorado last week for work and was able to get a half-day trip down the class III/IV (although at low flow) Royal Gorge section of the Arkansas River. All that trip did was make we want to get back on the water in AK. Soooo....I tried to give myself a fix on the "Extreme class I" of Portage Creek. lol
I didn't have alot of time, the easy logistics, and the fact I'd never floated this nearby creek made Portage a good choice. My boys didn't want to give up their summer vacation sleep for Portage Creek and my wife had an appointment in town which prevented her from coming along. Although, my wife did agree to driving another car down to help with the shuttle (this would have been an easy 3 mile bike shuttle if she hadn't wanted to make the beautiful drive down the Turnagain Arm anyways)
You can drive to the water's edge at the put-in just under the bridge near the Begich Boggs Visitor Center.
You can take out a little over 3 miles downstream at an unmarked road that leads to the water's edge (just south of Moose Flat Day Use area) or continue to the mouth with the Turnagain Arm. The latter choice will will add another hour and require you to carry your gear up to the parking lot.
The lake is still covered by rotten ice and typical for Portage Valley the weather was cloudy, cool, and breezy although thankfully blowing downstream.
I just picked up much shorter side rails (42") vs. my regular NRS Bighorn II rails (88") for my frame. This allowed me to take a simple 4 piece frame. I like this option when it's just the dogs and I or if minimal gear is desireable like the AK Railroad to Spencer Glacier with a Placer River float back to the highway trip. I installed the thwarts, but probably didn't need them for stiffness, but they would provide seating if anyone else had come along.
The water was still low this early in the year and the first mile or so is the most challenging due to the boulder garden just downstream from the bridge. There was some wood in the last mile, but it was easily manuevered around.
This trip still didn't fill the fix I needed. I guess I'll just have to keep boating until I finally decide I've had enough.