Ok guys...I just pulled off of the Gulkana about 2 hours ago and I though I would give the report from the actual River.....Lets start with the good news! It was a sun shinny day and the River has dropped over a foot in the past 24 hours!
Now the rest of the news...
It is crazy high and no one should be on that river right now! Sailors Pit is a mess and we had to walk the raft down the road because the river is the road. As we pushed off I ended up taking the new channel that use to be the river trail down to the gravel bar. The current was so swift there was no chance to hit the main stem of the river. The river is about 1/2 mile wide at the gravel bar below the campground. It has taken over the far side including the forest.
As we headed down through the forest s curves and approached Gulkana River Ranch's launch (above the Grizzly Hole) there is a huge slide that had dropped enough dirt to fill 2-3 gyms and a huge new channel has formed behind the slide. I almost did not pull away from the current and really feared that we were going to get sucked in to that mess.
Below the Griz Hole there is a new channel that heads into the forest on river left. About 1/3 or the river is headed into that new channel but the kicker is there is no way out because that channel turns into a Cottonwood forest. The normal channel had lots of very cool standing waves and no real problem. As you round the next turn the new channel is pouring through the cottonwoods for about 1/4 of a mile. Now you are approaching the big standing rock that splits the river and has a very nice eddy hole below it. In the summer time my kids spend an hour every trip jumping off of this rock into the river that is about 6 feet below the summit of the rock. Well that rock is about 2+ feet under water right now. That means that we are looking at 7+ feet of extra water in the river today!
We are now down at the 2 big cut banks on river left just before you see the bridge. I have handed the oars over to my son by now and I am working on my suntan. As we round the last big turn all I can see is Haystacks and a 15 year old is at the oars. I hopped on the oars and we took 4-5 big waver over the bow and the haystacks were honestly 6-8 feet tall. I kid you not! It was a ton of fun but not what we are use to for sure. We are approaching the bridge by now and the Glennallen side bridge abutment is a log dump with 10 cords of trees hung up on the abutment. Made it past that and pulled out and rowed up to the dumpster in the lower parking lot.
Pics.. I will attach the pics in the morning because we used a phone and I am not smart enough to know hoe to off load them. I also talked with a local pilot and he tells me that the snow pack is almost gone up the West Fork and he expects we have 5 more days of high water. (McMann)
Stay tuned and the photos will be up when my tec savvy daughter comes home in the morning.
Gulkana River Raft Rentals