Quick Floats Close to Anchorage?
OK- Again thanks for all the help about 1 1/2 months ago. I decided to go with that AIRE Jag. I am chompin' at the bit to get it out, but am going out of town next week and don't have much time off till then. Question- Is the short little stretch from the Eagle river campground and upstream about a mile or so (?) runable this time of year? I floated it in a 9 foot Avon about six years ago in July.
There was a post on KCK's list server about someone doing this last weekend. He said that Campground Rapids barely had enough water to do it in the boat he was using - something smaller than a cataraft. The rest of this section is nearly always runable if you don't mind scraping bottom in a few places. If you're loaded lightly, you can usually dodge rocks to get through, but if you miss you will likely be pulling your boat some.
I have done this at very low water, and just portaged over the top of Campground. Not too bad if your boat's not loaded with anything. This section is going so slow right now there isn't much danger involved. Just stay out of the right side until there is enough water to get through it. It's easier to portage on the left anyway.
Glacial rivers are very slow to come up in the spring, and Eagle River is pretty normal in that regard. Another not too far away spot to consider is Granite and East Fork Creek (upper Sixmile). You can float from Granite Creek Campground to the normal put-in for Sixmile Creek. It's all mellow class I with some avoidable sweepers. The water is probably a bit low there too, but it comes up earlier than the glacial rivers. This is about a 65 mile drive south of Anchorage to the put in.
The Matanuska can be a fun float this time of year.