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Thread: willow float

  1. #1
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    Default willow float

    I am new to the area and dont know the rivers yet. I was thinking about the nice weather and the fact that I strapped the frame to my raft last night. I would like to float the willow from the parks hyw to the big Su on Saturday. Does anyone know if the ice is gone? Are there any major hazards (i.e. sweeper, log jams) to worry about. I want to get my 8y/o grand daughter on the river and introduce her to the outdoors. I am not looking to fish, just spend a few hours floating. Any advice would be great. Thanks so much.

  2. #2
    Member Legospam's Avatar
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    Default

    I've been wondering if the ice was gone yet on Willow Creek too. I'd like to take the one-man out next week when I get back from the slope.

  3. #3

    Default Willow

    The gage came up this morning showing no ice, however this does not mean there are not ice ledges on the sides. I am kayaking the upper section this weekend, i can give you better info. What i can say right now is, the creek is running at 700cfs which is a normal medium flow. The flow for this early in the year is high, i am expecting a brownish tint to the water.
    I just boated moose creek and it was high and mud brown, and fun.
    For the lower lower section of Willow, watch for wood, the flood of 06 made a mess out of the creek but it is still rather safe. Expect with continued hot weather for the creek to spike into the 1000's, it becomes much more powerful, but still fun.
    Enjoy MO

  4. #4
    Member power drifter's Avatar
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    Default

    Sorry to say I don't know for sure if it's open but you know what I want to take a drive so I'll run up from wasilla and look it over and I'll post my findings in a couple hrs.I will say that do watch out in the lower end. It does have some timber to get hung up in. How do I know? Right after the big flood I was floating it the first time and The water was pretty low in July. Thinking this will be easy. After making it around a number of stumps and trees I had to pick real fast what braid to take. It was flowing the same so I picked right well just a little more into the corner I see a big pile of trees all the way across the channel. I tried to back stroke like crazy,but the water than was only a few inches deep. With in a sec or two my oar grabbed and was taken from my hand as if I wasn't even hanging on. Well not wanting to loose a almost new carbon fiber $ oar I was half getting out and half falling out to get it back real fast. I was in good chest waders with a belt so wasn't afraid of getting wet. As fast as I got it in my hands while hanging onto the raft the water depth went to 10ft and I was stuck into the logs. Luckily the raft was stable and the flow wasn't so strong as in that moment and it happens fast I could have been in trouble. It took some thinking and a circus act but I got us out of it and went on down the left braid. I knew there was a log jam to look out for ,but soon saw that that was a different one. Its all good just have lots of fun and float safe. Wear your PFD. Remember to release all rainbows from bridge down.
    Andrew

  5. #5
    Member Bear Necessities's Avatar
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    Default Good Reminder

    Power Drifer,

    Thanks, that is a good reminder to all of us; to remain as safe as possible. Iím fairly new to rafting and just can not wait to get into it this year. I really wanted to get on one of the Parkís Highway stream these weekend, but your posting reminded me to keep my hear in the game. If someone has run the rivers in the Wasilla Area, please let us know what you have run into.

    Thanks.

  6. #6
    Member power drifter's Avatar
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    Default willow creek

    Well from my trip this evening I can see no problem in floating. There is no ice coming down at the mouth and just a few ice chunks flowing in the Big Sue
    I was the only one there for almost 1 hr took some photos and swatted lots of the flying blood suckers. They are out in full force so bring along some bug dope for sure. maybe some suntan lotion It is so nice out! Man now I want to go float and I just pulled out all my stuff into the yard to work on the shed this weekend. It's float time! Andrew
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  7. #7
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    Default it is open

    Me, the wife and grand daughter did the parks to the Big Su on Saturday. What a great float. One section was bit nasty due to dead falls and strainers but for the most part we had a great trip 4.5 hours with hot dogs cooked on the bank. We saw 4 river otters and a bunch of eagles. the water is a little high and brown. I will be looking for a new section of river next weekend. I am new to the raft so nothing over class II. Any suggestions would be great.

    As i was sitting on the bank and watching an eagle fly in an arch over head, I told my wife this is why we came to Alaska! The suntan did not hurt either.

  8. #8

    Default Little Willow

    Sounds like a hoot BorderBlue1... Wish I was out there, and you definitely picked the right weather to break in the new floaters.

    The next creek up the highway is the Little Willow. It's also a nice, easy float and has less downed trees along the banks. You can take out at the same place as the Willow, so you already have half the logistics figured out!

    Rob

  9. #9
    Member jasen001's Avatar
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    Default Willow from Shirley Town Bridge

    A few friends and myself floated from Shirley town bridge to the highway on Sunday.
    The ice is gone but the water is high and fast. This is not a beginer float right now. The log jam has to be portaged, and several spots should be lined unless you're very confident.
    It was a very, very fun float, but not what I thought I was getting into, so be careful and be ready to scout certain areas.
    By the way I made a very stupid mistake and a life jacket got lost by someone (me) on my boat, it was left on a gravel bar upstream of the log jam. I'm putting a $100 reward plus the cash in the wallet that is in the front left pocket.
    PM me if you find it.
    Thanks to everyone for your help, and remember to recheck your gear before putting in every time.

  10. #10
    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    Default

    Someone mentioned floating the little willow down to the mouth of the Willow...

    FYI, the east channel of the Big Su came up almost 4' in 2 hours on sunday and was still running really high and strong this morning. Lots of logs and LARGE ice pans moving very fast. I would strongly not recommend getting into the Big Su right now unless you are absolutely sure of what youre getting into.

  11. #11
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    Default Little-Su

    There are also quite a few day trips you can do on the little su and not the 3 day Burma run.

    From Susannah road on Shrock, you can do float there to the other bridge on Shrock, took me about 3 hours, 2 log jams had to portage across though.

    Also from that second bridge you can go to the Parks Highway, a few log jams on that one too, and swifter water then the Burma run. Also a few log jams on that sections also, and it takes more like 8 hours.

  12. #12

    Default Willow

    Willow creek is pumping, right now is a super fun flow for rafts in the redgate section. I boated this at 1200 cfs last year and even the boulder gardens were rapids. A splashy day trip.
    MO

  13. #13

    Default Float

    I would love to paddle team the guardrail section. Anybody with a super Puma or of like interested? It would take a narrow fast raft,and is something i have to do. We went in to kayak it last year and a group of firemen were taking a S. Puma down, I was jealous, it looked way fun.
    MO

  14. #14
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    Default

    Where is the Guardrail section? I have a SD Puma.

  15. #15
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    Default Gaurdrail

    Been there, never floated it. Above Shirley town (takeout) continue up the road a ways. Going up the hill the trail to the put-in is/was marked on the rail, as I recall the right shoulder of the road is wide and paved. You start of quite a ways from the river but I don't recall the walk to be too tough, even if caring a fairly heavy load.

  16. #16
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    Default

    The guardrail used to be marked with a big block of red duct tape. Not sure it's still there though. Steep 1/2 mile trail runs down to the end of the class V canyon section. Pretty much class III+/IV from there to the Red Gate section. Class II+/III from there to Shirleytown Road. It's a very fun place in a small boat.

  17. #17

    Default SD Puma

    Would work good for the run. This weekend is out and next weekend I fly out to Sheep Creek. Go look at the put in and see if its your style, then maybe we can get something going.
    yippee MO

  18. #18
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    Default

    Thanks, I'll take a look and see if I can find it.

  19. #19

    Default redgate rafting

    A family rafting trip on the redgate section of Willow creek. The bottom of the first rapid and the kids by the great cottonwood tree about half way down.
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