Kennicot/ Nizina rivers
This was a great trip in 80 degree weather, it was great from start to finish. My family, Casey, and I loaded up the camper and headed for McCarthy. When we arrived I noticed the Kennicot looked to have close to the same volume as the Matanuska had when we drove by. After talking about the flow in Nizina canyon, down the trail, we decided it should be good. My wife and kids were going to explore Kennicot mine and hike, then meet us back in Chitna for a feast. Casey and I, put our boats in the eddy above the bridge, in the washout which met the river. The eddy was extremely powerful and it took Casey four tries to escape, and away we went.
The Kennicot was better than I expected, there were no rocks, just waves and some of them were exploding, and were about five feet tall. (Everything could be maneuvered around). The river waves were like the Chickaloon section of the Matanuska, at 12,000 cfs, only more frequent.
When we hit the Nizina ,I shook, it was a huge muddy brown river with no high water marks visible on the walls. We stopped and discussed our strategy before entering the canyon, and what we might face, based on previous reports concerning high water. There were some sizable waves in sections which were hard to run without scouting, because you could not see over the tops of them, to see if holes were present. We did skirt a few wave sections because of this but upon passing by on the edges, we found out they were clean, and were about five foot tall wave trains. There was however, two holes that would have been awful to accidentally drop into. I think I saw two rocks the entire trip and maybe a couple of pourovers, the rest was waves and eddylines.
The canyon itself has friendly walls, is full of sharp turns, but is simple, if you start your ferry angle to the inside as soon as you see the water plowing into a wall. At the flow we did this at the water pillowed off of the walls, which would keeps rafts from flipping if they hit the walls. The whirlpools were swirly and fun, not scary, I never felt threatened.Basically you have to make a few long ferries, deal with powerful eddylines, and watch for a few holes on the outside bends. Great scenery, and I would take the family in a raft.
When the Nizina met with the Chitna it looked bigger than the Chitna, and I was surprised again. The Chitna was almost totally full, had three foot wave trains, a mile long sometimes, and was cookin right along. I was never bored, like last year, and found a few sections where I sat up in my seat and paid attention. Anyway, we camped below the Gilahina and finished the trip by two PM the next day, which added up to thirteen hours boating, including breaks.
Easy for a kayaker as a one night ultra marathon trip, three nights in a raft, or so. Not bad!!!! In sunny weather. If you are a solid class III boater and know how to pack your gear, go.
I don't know anything about the river flows over there, beside what I read and see, so use your own information gathering, it's a long walk out
I'll post some pics soon
sounds great, thanks for the post, yours are always informative and knowledgeable. ill be doing the chitistone/nizina/chitina run this summer, can't wait.