Chad, Jim and I floated the Happy from July 17th to July 20th using IK's from Sheep lake to Skwentna(89 miles) . We used Willow air, were allowed 800lbs for weight in a Bushawk plane including our bodies, and came in at 799lbs.
Embick did a great job in his report, believe it. Fun whitewater, we saw bears on two occasions, had king salmon bumping our boats, eagles everywhere and world class scenery, yep!!!!!! somebody had to go.
We floated the river at a supposed low water level(no Gage, everything else is lower) but some of the glacial tributaries were pumping.
At high water the canyon could be a factor of concern, but I guarantee the boulder garden section would be serious. The boulders covered in this steep section would surely create a minefield of holes to maneuver around or punch through in kayaks.
The lower canyon initially reminds me of the guardrail section of willow creek, as far as the canyon goes, but the rapids are not as steep. What you will find are some sharp turns with the river plowing into low canyon walls creating holes,waves, /fun stuff. (Think of yellow brick road, or three knuckle rock on Willow creek) At first we thought we entered the real canyon and was disappointed thinking the walls would be more massive. We soon found out the lower canyon is fantastic,we were very happy with the Happy canyon.
The Skwentna has two canyons and is interesting all the way to the town of Skwentna.The canyons are beautiful and the rest of the river is braids but is swift and full of trees from flood destruction.
Although the Happy is only of moderate difficulty it is not a place to learn, it's just to far away, and alot of it is in a really deep gorge. My spot messenger failed twice, so unless you hike up to higher ground to send your out of the loop.
4 days 3 nights, 340.00 per person with Air boat pickup in Skwentna
Happy boating MO