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Thread: Chulitna info

  1. #21

    Default Shuttle?

    Does any one in talkeetna offer a shuttle service or does anyone know of someone willing to drive folks back up to the put in point on east fork for a few bucks. Trying to avoid the extra vehicle drive.

    thanks

    Rick

  2. #22
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    BackCountry Safaris does a buss service from Anchorage to Denali, and they shuttle rafters. They don't go into Talkeetna, so you would probably have to make your take-out the Parks Hwy bridge near Sunshine. For a fee the will haul your boat and gear from there to the East Fork put in.

  3. #23
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    Default Shuttle and moose

    I have hitchhiked back and forth from raft to vehicle a few times and that has gone amazingly well considering that most tourists in RV's won't pick you up.
    I hunted moose from East Fork put-in to Princess Lodge take-out a couple years ago. Saw no moose although there were tracks scattered around. Went into some large stands of cottonwoods and was spooked out by the plethora of grizzly trails in those. Talked to a State Park ranger at the take-out and he said that the bears own the bottoms and the moose stay up on the ridges for the most part. Based on what I saw I could not disagree with him.

  4. #24
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    Hello all. Considering this float this summer. I have an 18ft Cataraft. I have floated the Little Sue, Kenai (Upper and Middle a few times), and the middle fork of the Chena. About 8 floats all in all now. Is the east fork to Talkeetna mild enough for my experience level? I'd like to take my father in law and son but would hate to find out in the middle of the float it may be above my experience. And if I was only interested in Fishing for rainbows in the east fork, camping, and motoring to Talkeetna, is 3 days a good amount of time? Appreciate any help.

  5. #25
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    It's been about 5 years since I've made that trip. We did 3 days but took out at the bridge near the Princess Lodge off the Parks Hwy. I don't believe that private land access point is available anymore? 4 days would be a better pace to Talkeetna or to the Sunrise bridge over the Su downstream of Talkeetna.

    The two most challenging aspects of the Chulitna are possible strainers...of epic logjam proportions (I think I saw a trip report from last year reporting that) and not picking a too shallow braid through the middle, braided section. Other then those two concerns, I think you would do just fine. Don't float past a blind corner without scouting first.

    I would figure out how to post a request for beta on Knik Canoe & Kayakers email list server (google it). Someone was recently on there looking for Chulitna info and might be back now.

    We camped at Honolulu Creek the first night, above the braids the second, and took out late on the third day. Once past Honolulu Creek the river is silty. Plan to filter water from the side streams.

  6. #26
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Like Birdstrike it's been a few years since I've been down the Chuli but it a great trip for those with intermediate skills and a fairly nimble boat.

    The East Fork put in at MP186 is straightforward but in the first few miles there are a few tight slots created by boulders, plus sweepers and other wood hazards are PROBABLE, thus the need for a nimble boat. You said you have an 18 footer. If it's an Aire Leopard I would think twice. It's a great boat for the giant loads of a moose hunt on a Class I stream but they're pigs IMO, based on 3 trips in 3 different Leopards. By comparison I have a Jag--16 foot with more rocker to the tubes and very nimble.

    Other than that, 3 days is plenty. Launch in the morning and take your sweet time on the East Fork. Fish the holes, especially the confluence with the Middle Fork. If it's open, the point at the East/West Fork confluence is a great camping spot. There's also a nice beach on river right a bit farther down just before the sweeping left turn at the first palisades (blind corner mentioned above). There are two long braided sections obvious on the map. Camp just before them and run them in the morning before the midday upriver winds pick up--be on the water by 8am most days. Look for mature spruce stands on bends for camping spots.

    As an option, you can also hit the braids in the evening and find camping spots on one of the several treed (cottonwoods) river islands

    After the Parks bridge at MP132 you run a single channel for a few miles and hold hard to river left to navigate the minefield of snags at the Chu/Su/Tal confluence if your take out is Talkeetna. For the Su bridge at MP 105 stick the main current until the bridge comes into sight and work your way to river right.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  7. #27
    Member BrowningLeverAction's Avatar
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    We make the Chulitna a yearly float and it is a lot of fun. I echo the previous comments about the narrow East Fork. I run a 16' Sotar round raft and there are several areas where I set myself up the best I can, pull in the oars, and let the river carry me through. We bring a chainsaw for sweepers and river-wide logjams, and probably use it about half our trips. Once the East Fork joins the main river it gets much bigger and silty and space isn't a factor. We have run the braids several times through the early afternoon without upstream wind being an issue, but it is something to be aware of. Route-picking in the braids takes some experience to avoid grounding in shallow spots, and it can sometimes be difficult to find good spots to land. The beaches can be deceptive at high water; they can look like gradual sandy beaches, but 2 inches below the surface there is a 3 foot cutbank (ask me how I know). We do it in four leisurely days from the Mile 186 put-in to the Sunshine Bridge take-out, but could easily do it in three. We camp above the first big braids (upstream of the Fountain River) the first day, toward the bottom of the big braids the second day, and in the canyon below the Mile 132 bridge the third day. Going to Sunshine (Parks Hwy Bridge) only adds 2-3 hours and is logistically much easier than Talkeetna since beach vehicle access has been cut off there. It is not a difficult river as long as you pay attention and pick your route carefully through the logjam forest in the braids. You will likely be dragging your raft a bit in a big boat like you have.

  8. #28
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    We floated Thursday to Saturday, three rafts and a sw cat. My GPS tracked 65 river miles during our route. There was a strainer we had to slide rafts over on the east fork. Everyone got stuck dragging 50 feet or so on gravel bars, but nothing bad, make sure you pick the right braid!
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  9. #29
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    I don't have too much to add that wasn't already covered, but would reiterate being very heads up on the east fork and carefully choosing the right braid. 3 days to Talkeetna is easily doable, but the Parks Hwy Princess bridge is another good option for takeout that makes the timeline more comfortable. Haven't been up there yet this year, but last year you could back a truck down the hill beside the highway on the downstream-east side of the road at the Princess bridge and get pretty much all the way underneath it. NOTE if you go for this option you still have a short steep gear schlepp from the water to underneath the bridge. Easily doable though IMO. Gives another option for take-out without too much hassle and I think it's all located within highway ROW.

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