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Thread: Valley Floats

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    Default Valley Floats

    Any other rivers out in the Mat-Su that would make a good overnight float/canoe trip besides the Lil Su. Iv'e done that one plenty, not looking for anything much more challenging just a change of scenery.

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    Any section of the Matanuska below Lion's Head is fairly easy in a raft. No so much in a canoe. Any section of the Big Su, below Devil's Canyon is also eminently floatable. The section of the Chulitna from Denali Princess to Talkeetna too. These are all bigger rivers, but are easy to paddle and have plenty of campsites on gravel bars.

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    Do any of those routes have good pickup/drop off points? Also we have a mixture of canoes and pontoon rafts, so I don't think the canoe people will be down for some of those.

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    If you want a longer trip you might consider the Deshka. You can drive to the put in but will need to get someone to carry you from the mouth to Deshka landing.
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    Unless the canoers are good white water paddlers, I would forgo the Matanuska. Chulitna & Big Susitna are easy flat water though.

    For the Chulitna put in: Upstream north side of Chulitna River bridge at Denali Princes Lodge is an easy place to start, and if you keep left as it merges with the Big Su, you can take out on the beach in front of Talkeetna in one day, or continue on down to the Parks Highway bridge a little after Sunshine Creek. The take out is on river right just after the bridge. You can drive right to it from a pull off on the north side of the bridge.

    There are several places to start & stop on the Big Su, I'm only familiar with Talkeetna & Sunshine, described above, as places to access w/o a power boat. I believe there are others though. At one time you could get to Deshka Landing in a raft, but I have heard that the upstream channel is now clogged, so you have to power up the exit side to get there. Maybe someone else has better info. Also, I've heard talk about a road access to the mouth of Willow Creek, or perhaps it was another stream in the area.

    Another option is to take the train above Talkeetna and put in on the Big Su at the whistle stop (who's name escapes my memory). This can be a 1-2 day float back to Talkeetna.

    If you were to use only rafts and inflatable kayaks/canoes, you could do Moose - Kroto - Deshka for a 3-4 day trip. I'm not sure how a hard shell canoe would do in there. Access is from the Petersville Road and Deshka Landing, but a power boat is generally used to fetch you above the slow water of the lower Deshka.

    As far as that goes, if you were to include a boat pick-up or drop off, you could have someone drop you off high up on the Talkeetna, and float back to town. Getting as far as Iron Creek should be easy, but above there you find some minor rapids that might give the canoers heartburn. It should be possible to get as far up as the end of the Talkeetna Canyon. Not sure what the cost would be though.

    Easiest of all these options would be the Chulitna (Denali Princess) to Susitna (Sunshine bridge). Two days, or three if you drag an anchor.

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    Default Talkeetna?

    I'd forgo the Tal with canoes. Did it from the Sheep river- jetboated up and floated back. It's flat, but fast and braided. Problem is, you'll have trouble knowing which braid to take. If you make the wrong choice, you can wind up coming around a blind corner floating toward a log jam with no way out (and there's a lot of obstructed braids). At least with an oared raft you can really power stroke your way to shore/island, but the canoer is in for a rough ride. Take it from me. I learned my lesson- some would say the hard way, but I'm still alive and kickin', so I'd like to think it was an "easy" lesson.

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    I've been down it several times in rafts, and they have the same issues related to blocked side channels. Plenty of rafts, power boats, canoes and kayaks have flipped and gotten strained going through a log jam on many rivers. Quite a number of deaths this way too. Unless you know the river well, just stay in the main current and there won't be a problem on the Talkeetna.

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