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Thread: Rafting trip advise.

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    Default Rafting trip advise.

    I am planning a rafting trip this July with 2 friends. I am a rafting guide in upstate NY and am looking for a class 3 to 4 river for a 3-4 day float. We are most interested in scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities without big crouds. Cost for transportation is not a concern. A few options we are considering is Lake Creek, the Tal, the Kahiltna and the Chickaloon. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Todd

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    Default Look North

    Todd

    it is not to say that your possible selections do not offer what your are looking for however 2nd week of July Lake Creek and the Tal will be crowded with fisher type people.

    You might want to look to the North Slope for a more remote float trip without the people and all the wildlife viewing just food for thought. More logistics involved is the down side heading north.


    Blue Moose

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    Default July Rafting

    Thank you, I am concerned about the time required to get to the Brooks range and back. Is the Chickaloon crowded in July?

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    Not a whole lot of Alaskan waters that qualify for both 3-4 days and class 3-4 water. Most trips are longer and flatter, while most white water options are shorter. There are some though.

    The Talkeetna River is an option. Fly in and float out. There is some info here: http://paddling.jimstrutz.com/page12.html

    Happy Creek is another, and so is the Tana River (not Tanana). The Tana is sometimes called the Grand Canyon of AK. The Canyon is short, but has some interesting big water class IV water in it. It empties out into the Chitna which is another option.

    Kennecot to Nizina to Chitina to Copper River is 3-4 days but nothing over a II+ or III- anywhere. You also have to add another day for travel for that one. Beautiful though.

    Chulitna (not to be confused with Chitina) is milder yet and shorter, but makes for a nice scenic 3-4 day float including travel time. Ron Clausen at http://backcountrysafaris.com/ does a daily bus service from Anchorage to both put-in and take-out for that run, but it still feels remote. You are likely to not see anyone else on the river. Same with the rest of these.

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    The Chikaloon is not likely to be crowded any time. Pretty place for the pics I've seen, but it is a short trip. Logistics are easy enough though. Fly in and float out. Used to be you had to take a helicopter in, but now there's a nice strip up there.

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    I think the Talkeetna would be a great choice. The canyon has about 14 miles of class III to IV whitewater, it is an easy float in 5 days, only one plane ride in then float right back to your vehicle, and best of all it gets little pressure, compared to other rivers ie., the Tal and Lake Creek. It also has good opportunity for wildlife.

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    Default Rafting advice

    Jim, Thanks for the great info. I have been looking into the Tana and Nizina and they look like great options. Thanks again
    Todd

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    I agree with you, AK Troutbum, "the Talkeetna would be a great choice." Ive always done it as a three day run, including the drive to and from Anchorage. But those travel days get to be pretty long. The scenery is great, the variety of water is great, and the campsites are plentiful and nice.

    The only issue I have is that at high water it can be a bear. At low to moderate levels you can pick your way along, or just charge straight through it all, and have a blast. At high water the holes get big, the water is pushy, and there is no place to stop. I think the safest thing is still to charge everything head on, but it's an exciting ride. If you flipped at high water, you could have a really long swim in some sections of the canyon. At high water it is a two boat minimum and drysuit kind of place. Last time I did it both boats lost two passengers each, but were recovered quickly. They all got the ride they paid for. The Canyon is only about 3 hour long, so there is a lot more to this river than whitewater thrills.

    On two of the three trips I've done there we saw one other party on the river. Hardly a hot vacation spot, but it sure is a nice place. We've always seen more bear than people. This is a good place to plan a trip, but if the water is high, have a backup destination.

    Here's the river gage.
    http://aprfc.arh.noaa.gov/ahps2/hydr...,1,1,1,1,1,1,1

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    The Talkeetna sounds great, I am concerned about going in with one raft. The guys I am bringing are inexperienced and might get upset about a long swim. Being able to watch the gauge is a big help. It looks like the scenery along the Tana or Nizina may be more impressive from the pictures I have been able to find. Thanks again Jim and Ak Troutbum.
    Todd

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    You're right, the scenery from the Tana or Nizina/Chitina rivers is more impressive than the Talkeetna. The mountains are taller and the valleys wider. Same with the Copper from Chitina to Cordova, but there the dozens of massive waterfalls are the most impressive. Well, perhaps they are not as impressive as the float in front of Child's Glacier when it's calving, but the waterfalls take a strong second place. Copper is a pretty mild mannered float though, and trip length is longer, and the shuttle more convoluted.

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    Jim, it looks as if the Tana is mostly wave trains. Are most of the holes easy to avoid? If you are in the canyon can you scout a line or is it even necessary? Thanks again
    Todd

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    I've not done the Tana myself, just talked to people who have, read their reports, and seen their pretty pictures. What I remember from this is all the talk about "missing the big hole" being a must do move. Evidently, if the water is high, that's not as easy as people first think when they see it. I did talk to one person that went right in and popped right back out, but he figured he was just lucky that day. Some kayakers have said that it gets very sticky at some levels. I have also heard that scouting is difficult after the first set of rapids, but I believe that is where that monster hole is. After that it's a read & run river, with several holes and large wave trains.

    The problem is doing this with only one boat. If you flipped in the upper part of the canyon, people could swim a long time unless there was someone to pull them out.

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    Thanks again Jim for the good info. Todd

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    Try flying into Deadhorse and infil from there. Alaska Air fly's in and out of D-horse, make the appropriate logistical research and you will be experienceing terrrain that most others only dream about.

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