Matanuska Glacier Float
We floated the "Glacier Run" portion of the Matanuska Saturday, 1 August. The online gauge read just over 3'. The info provided by one of Nova's guides on a Lion's Head trip last month, info provided by Nova the day before by phone, and on the Eddylist all proved accurate. This section is mostly read & run class II+ with one short class III set of waves/holes (depending on flows). Our gps showed 7 miles and about 90 minutes of float time.
We drove into Glacier Park, paid our $15pp ($20 non-residents), and drove out to the glacier for a short hike. The put-in road is adjacent to slow water near the glacier. There is just enough room to backup a trailer for the drive back up the hill to the parking area. If you line the boats around the corner from the put-in there might be enough time to ferry across the moderate current to reach the glacier. We opted for pics of the glacier in the background from the launch side and then headed downriver.
There are numerous holes along this section with some big enough for a potential flip. Most are easily avoided but the boatman must pay attention the entire way. The silty water and sun glare make reading the water challenging at times. There are a few braids, but channel choice is fairly obvious. About half way down this section of the Matanuska the single channel constricts slightly and there is a short, solid class III section of waves and holes. It is possible to sneak along the bank but we just squared up and center punched the waves for a fun ride. Soon after, the East Fork (Lion's Head) section joins from the right and the river doubles in volume and width.
The takeout access road is obvious as you round the last bend and there is currently a shallow channel abeam the parking area making pulling ashore easy. However, the river is currently about 150 yds from the public parking so it requires a short gear hump.
The water is very cold and swims could be long with few eddies. I'd recommend suitable clothing for all boaters. Dress for a swim and rig for a flip on this section of the mighty Matanuska.