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Thread: Chulitna Troubles

  1. #1
    Member ruckus's Avatar
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    Default Chulitna Troubles

    I am looking for information on the Chulitna River. I am planning a float hunt from the East fork to Princess lodge or possibly Talkeetna. I know there are several hunting regulation changes along the route for bears and moose. What I am most concearned about is any major rafting troubles. I feel confident in my abilities, but I may be taking a second boat with less skilled oarsman. What are the major charcter of the river? Sweepers, obstructions, places to stay to one side or the other? Just looking for a little float info?

    Thanks in advance.
    Ruckus
    "Next time you feel important, try telling someone elses Chesapeake to do something"-- anonymous

  2. #2
    Member ruckus's Avatar
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    Default gear clarification

    If we take two boats it will be just my dad and I in a 14 foot self bailer. Otherwise three of us will take two 12 foot self bailers.

    Ruckus
    "Next time you feel important, try telling someone elses Chesapeake to do something"-- anonymous

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    Default

    It's a fairly easy river to negotiate at most water levels, but at very low water it can get rather boney near the RR bridge, and at high water the same section will be class III or more. Also at high water, some of the canyon sections can have some large wave trains, and you can get pushed into the wall in a couple of spots. With the right attitude all this can be a lot of fun.

    Here's my write up on it: http://paddling.jimstrutz.com/page46.html

    Lot of diversity in this trip. East Fork starts as a small, swift, clear water stream, and gradually becomes a large, swift, glacial river. It alternates between wide braided sections where you're looking for a channel, and steep walled canyon sections where you're trying to keep off the walls. For a mellow whitewater trip it pretty much has it all.

    I have led others down the Chulitna that had almost no river experience at all, and as long as they knew the basics of rowing they did alright. Just be sure to they know to keep their bow pointed at the outside walls in the canyon sections, and always be ready to row away from the rocks.

    I always see bears on the Chulitna, but I don't see many moose. But then, I don't get out and hike around a lot either, and that's when you are more likely to find them.

  4. #4

    Default question

    I read an article that claimed the point where the fountain river enters is full of root balls from washed out trees is this section hairy? I am interested in a family float with minor thrills.

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    Been a couple years since I've run this, but I didn't find anything difficult about that section at all. But I usually run the left side of the river through there (away from where Fountain River joins) as I generally plan on camping directly across the river. I wouldn't know if a recent flood deposited a bunch of debris though.

  6. #6

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    i've run it each of the last 4 summers. in sept. of last year it didn't seem to have unusually high amounts of debris. however, there is a lot of wood on that river, period. any broad, glacially influenced river like the chulitna is going to have a shyte load of debris in the middle and lower sections. and yes, take it easy in the canyon areas. easy reads, but shear walls, nonetheless. the toughest water to read on the whole trip is around the tokositna confluence, imo. wide, shallow and confusing. tons of micro channels, some of them with happy endings, some of them with no water and long distance drags to a decent channel. one more thing, i've heard from reliable sources that the owner of the mile 132 bridge access area is talking about shutting it down to any and all users. litter, human waste, rutted out road are the concerns. surprise, surprise. take care, abel6wt

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    Yeah, it's been shut down before too. Don't know if it was the same owner though. Once we packed all boats and gear up the steep hill on the downstream side of the bridge. That was a drag -- quite literally. We hooked up a pulley system anchored to the guard rail. Several heavy guys would walk the opposite end of the rope down the hill, as the rest of us just kept the boat off the ground as much as possible. It worked, but what a pain!

    I vote for being as nice as possible to the owner of the access driveway. Of course most of the complaints are probably due to non boaters who just drive by looking for a pit stop. The general public can be real pigs at times.

  8. #8
    Member ruckus's Avatar
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    Default Helpful advice

    Jim,

    The website is a wealth of knowledge. I will be sure to take a couple drives up there to meet the property owners at the take out. Should be a great trip. I will keep you guys and possibly the hunting forum up to date on the trip.

    Ruckus
    "Next time you feel important, try telling someone elses Chesapeake to do something"-- anonymous

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    If that takeout isn't available, you can try for Talkeetna. It's easier to miss than you might think though. I prefer to float to the Parks Highway bridge at Sunshine. River right, just after the bridge is a nice spot that you can drive right to. Adds another day of floating, but I like that anyway.

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