Planing ahead: Unit 12, Chisana or Nabesna rivers
Does anybody have any first hand experience with Chisana or Nabesna Rivers? Fall (September) water levels?
From the Chisana landing strip to the highway is there enough water in September to float an 18' cataraft or would we be losing channels and dragging across the gravel?
Same question for the Nabesna. Is there road access to the river from Devils Mountain Lodge? Or, is it possible to access the river with four wheeler? I am aware that the lodge is private and there may be some private property issues but the river is navigable (I hope) and access should be allowed.
Thanks in advance for your input.
You will be dragging that cataraft a LOT! The rivers really drop in early September. By the middle of September it has REALLY dropped. Chisana river float is LONG. Be ready to row a LOT in the lower river.
Plus there really isn't any good public access that I am aware of to either of these rivers from either of the points you mentioned.
Chisana or Nabesna Rivers
Chisana and Northway,
From your eponyms I gather that you are locals and I hope you will have the information I am seeking. I certainly appreciate your answering my query and I hope you can give me a bit more information. If you do not want to have a discussion on an open forum we can do it via PM.
I have worked as a river guide on some very long rivers so I am not concerned that either river would be a long trip. I understand there is some serious slack water (and the wind always blows upriver) at the lower end of the Chisana but my rig will accomodate an outboard. The outboard can either be flown in at the begining or delivered via Cub on floats (20nm flight)
The Chisana landing strip is listed in the Airport Directory as a public use airstrip so public access to the Chisana should be no problem. I will try to contact the Devils Mountain Lodge to see if the Nabesna can be accessed. That potential access point really had me interested because the trip could potentially be accomplished from the road system with two vehicles and a long shuttle and without airplane charter. The Orange Hill landing strip is an alternative for aircraft access to the Nabesna as are the extensive gravel bars downstream.
For now I can only look at maps. Whether I use aviation sectionals or topographic map I see braided channels on both those rivers. That is both encouraging and problematic for a potential float trip. With many channels and low water finding the right channel and dragging across the gravel is always a royal PITA. But, even at extremely low water there ought to be at least one major channel. Whether it will float a boat in September is a real question and I am not prepared to shuttle heavy loads across river gravel (thirty years ago I might have looked forward to it). That is why I am seeking information from anybody who has seen these rivers first hand.
I guess the real question is whether or not either of these rivers is navigable in September. From your initial responses I gather that there might be problems. I do not mind problems; half the fun is finding a solution to the problems. What do you say? Is either river impossible, possible but with significant problems, or possible but with minor problems.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Some answers to my own questions
I guess I should have used the resources that were available before posting my questions.
Nevertheless I still seek input from anybody who has been there.
I floated the Nebesna in mid Sept this year. We used an NRS Otter and put in at the bridge on Jack Creek. After 11 hours of dragging and brush busting, we made it to the actual Nebesna. From there it did not get much better. Staying in the main channel was difficult at best as each branch "read" about the same. Even though I have substantial river experience, reading the top of this river was not easy and on more than one occasion picked the wrong channel. At one point, we had to drag the raft for about 3 hours through an alder choked shallow plain.
However, the lower river is very slow, 3-4mph. When any breeze would hit us in the face we would not gain any ground. We did take a 5 hp outboard, but even in the deepest parts of the river it would still find the rocky bottom. Not my idea of a "pleasurable" float at all.
Hope this helps...