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Thread: Nenana River

  1. #1
    Member LindenTree's Avatar
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    Default Nenana River

    I solo paddled down the Nenana River from the Old Denali Hwy, to the bridge on the Parks Hwy North of Cantwell last week 8/7/16.

    The book I got said that the river was class I the whole stretch of what I paddled, a local buddy told me there was a small section of class II. The river was really up and I was apprehensive since I had never floated this river at all.
    I have an Old Town Pack.
    Right before entering the Reindeer hills I got into two 100 yard stretches of 3 foot waves and maybe a little higher, I had to plow right through them.

    It scared the crap out of me, not so much the waves alone, but not knowing what lay ahead, I knew if they got any higher I would likely swamp and loose my canoe and all my gear even though it was tied in the canoe. I was wearing a quality life jacket with ditch kit inside and a SPOT Locater.

    Does anyone have knowledge of this stretch of river? I am curious, I do not know classes of rapids well, but do these 3+ foot waves qualify as Class III rapids? I realize there are a lot of factors in Rapids Classification.

    I could not turn back, and my float plan was with a local law enforcement officer that dropped me off. If I did not arrive back at her house at 8:00pm and she still saw my car parked at the bridge, it would have set off quite a search and rescue for me.
    May the rivers be crooked and winding, and the portages lonesome, leading to the most "Amazing View".

  2. #2
    Member AK DUCKMAN's Avatar
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    Ran up the Nenana last year for a moose, caribou hunt. Made it up to Lily creek I believe. I too am not sure on the classification but yeah there seemed to be a little bit of some sketchy water that for a jet boat not so bad but a canoe a lot of fun. I would think some of that has to be class II. I know up past wells creek the river is flat and calm at least up to Lily creek anyway. My buddy and I talked about it, he didn't think it was worse then Class II if that. He has a bit more experience on that kind of stuff then I do. Have to add, the river was down a bit. We had to struggle a little to get the boats off the trailers.

  3. #3
    Member mit's Avatar
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    For Christ sake people been doing that part of the river for ever, my first time in the late 70's or early 80's nothing big there!
    Tim

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    At high water, stretches of that section can be Class 2 (bigger waves as you describe) although I would say that it is barely Class 2.
    The primary difference between 2 and 3 is Class 3 requires a lot of maneuvering where Class 2 is typically just run through however you like.

    It is a great section to gain experience in a canoe. If you happen to spill out, there is little potential for further trouble, unless one of the commercial jet boats runs you over. After all, it is "their" river (at least in their mind).

  5. #5
    Member LindenTree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mit View Post
    For Christ sake people been doing that part of the river for ever, my first time in the late 70's or early 80's nothing big there!
    Tasted it, and spit it out, I'm not taking the bait.

    Thanks to everyone else, who offered quality information about paddling the Nenana.

    Linden
    May the rivers be crooked and winding, and the portages lonesome, leading to the most "Amazing View".

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindenTree View Post
    Tasted it, and spit it out, I'm not taking the bait.

    Thanks to everyone else, who offered quality information about paddling the Nenana.

    Linden
    All rivers can change classification depending on flow rates! This is class one water unless it isn't... Like Tim said people have been canoeing that stretch for quite-a-while. Common sense really, if you see really fast-high water where it normally isn't, go ride your bike instead...

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