Good Morning fellow Rafters!
I have been getting LOTS of calls about the upper section of the Gulkana River from Paxon to Sourdough.
I spoke with Heath Emmons who runs the River Crew for the BLM Field Office in Glennallen and he tells me that the Lake is still ice covered but there are open leads and a fair amount of open water on the edges. The BLM is planning their first upper river trip next Tues/Wednesday June 12th ish. Heath feels that the lake will rot out or break up this week. This is along the same lines that I have been telling folks and we have our first upper river trips planned for late next week as well.
Word of Caution!
The water flow gauge at the outlet of Paxon Lake is showing LOTS of volume headed down the river which will make the Canyon a challenge. I have found that the Canyon is easier to run when it is high rather than low but with this volume rafters need to take a long hard look at the Canyon and their skills. Last year all of us had many rafts get in trouble in the Canyon in Mid-June. We lost oars and had a few rafts get flipped and wrapped. When in doubt-scout and don't be afraid of lining your raft down the canyon and falls. If you choose to run the canyon always portage your gear around. An empty boat is much easier to maneuver than a full boat. Have someone stationed in the canyon with a throw bag when you run it. I have always found that having someone below the falls is a good idea as well. If you line your raft be sure that you have a good bow and stern line on your raft so you can direct your raft through the canyon and remember the Picket Fence is best run to river right or river center. River left is a suckers bet.
Have a good repair bag with you and don't go without an extra oar strapped tightly to your frame!
Ok...Now that I have nagged you a bit lets get out there, have some fun but keep it safe!
Gulkana River Raft Rentals
Walt as always thank you for the update and after looking at it this weekend I have moved my first trip back a few days so instead of this Thurs more than likely head down Sunday.
That being said as appreciated is the advise. One thing I would like to remind people is that No one cares how many times you have gotten away with leaving all your gear in the boat and running the Canyon. As a Min take your food and sleeping gear out and walk the distance to ensure if something does go wrong and it often does at least you will have some essentials to get by until you can recover your gear if you happen to make a mistake.
I actually got hung in the middle directly below the fence 100 % my fault and it took me about 20 minutes to get off the rock directly below the fence back right up on it! First time since 1995 I have even come close to hanging a boat in there. Considering I use to run it about 8 times per year I guess my number came up!
Any who! Best wishes to all and stay safe! BUGS! BUGS! BUGS!