Forty Mile low water float From Taylor Hwy mp 112 Bridge to Eagle July 30 – Aug 2nd
Sorry it’s taken so long to post this trip report. Hopefully it’ll make for good winter reading.
The Forty Mile River to Yukon River to Eagle has been on my list of “must do” floats for some time now. All of the rafters I have talked to who that have done it previously have all said it was one of their favorites. Many thanks to those that have previously posted trip reports on here - especially Jim Strutz. Here’s a link to AmericanWhitewater’s description: http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/18
I called Canadian Customs in Whitehorse (867)667-3965, provided our trip itinerary, passport details, etc. to pre-clear crossing the border which would happen on day two of the float. US Customs was even simpler. When you reach the boat ramp in Eagle there is a big sign instructing you to go to the general store and use the dedicated phone that connects you directly to the border crossing on the AK Hwy. Just provide your passport info, wait for them to clear you on their computer, and you’re good to go.
This trip was planned for late July/early August due to other commitments earlier in the summer. I knew we’d probably be facing low water unless there was persistent rain. The Forty Mile is rain fed after the snow melt and it can rise several feet overnight and go from low water to flood stage quickly. I was ready to row in low water. However, I was also a bit worried about Canyon Rapid turning viscous and having to run it between whole trees getting launched vertically from the big lateral wave that can form on river left as some of our friends had. As it turned out I wish we’d had more water. One of the BLM rangers advised that above 75’ is high water, 74'-72' average, 72'-70' low, and below 70’ “you’ll be dragging”. I think we had about 71’.
As most of these trips go we left Anchorage a little later than planned after finishing last minute stops. I’d hoped to make the entire 11-12 hour drive in one day. We ended up calling it a night at the BLM’s Walker Fork campground (TaylorHwy mp82) about an hour prior to the planned put-in. The BLM instructs not to camp at the MP 112 bridge so this worked well for us. As most BLM facilities, this was a nice clean campground with “the nicest outhouse I’ve ever seen” according to my wife.