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Thread: east fork chulitna

  1. #1
    Member raoul duke's Avatar
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    Default east fork chulitna

    is this trip possible with an 18 ft cat. while i was working my friends floated chitna to mccarthy on my boat, thats what it can do. can i make it from mp 184 to talkeetna? any experienced input will be appreciated. thanks.
    Fast is fine, but accuracy is final. You need to learn to be slow in a hurry! Wyatt Earp.

  2. #2

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    no prob. i take my 14' cat on this trip every year and know of others that do it in bigger. you will have some dragging on the east fork but will be fine as you get past honolulu cr. some braided sections may require some dragging if you choose the wrong channel, no biggie though. have fun, abel6wt

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    Member RC23's Avatar
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    Default easy

    No problem; we did it last weekend with my 16' cat with 2 adults and 3 kids and lots of gear.

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    Floated a couple of weekends ago from the East Fork to the Princess Lodge in a 15' self-bailer and 18' cat. You may drag in a few thin spots but they will be minor. Pack light.

  5. #5

    Default As of last week when I reached Princess...

    As of last week when I reached Princess, they were locking the gate after each tour bus that took the fat tourists up the hill from the jet boat tours. We landed our rafts and unloaded, expecting to drive down to the water... The Princess employees locked us in there and we ended up having to carry our boats and gear 1/4 mile up the hill to the highway.

    The average age of the participants carrying things up the hill was pushing 65.... so you can imagine how much fun was had by all.

    I ended up talking with a local and it sounds like drunk people partying and liability are what are keeping it locked up. Pretty sad.

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    Member RC23's Avatar
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    Default another option

    I did see another possible take out just after the bridge river right. A pretty good looking road right down to the river. Anyone know more details about this?

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    RC23, that looks like private land and private drive to the river. Would be nice spot if you could get permission though. You could drive right to water's edge. This is on river right about 1/2 mile below the bridge near the Princes Lodge.

    Floated East Fork bridge (about mp 186) to the Parks Hwy bridge below Talkeetna (about mp 103) a couple weeks ago in a 17.5' Aire Cougar (quad tube cat) with no problems except for the log jam 3.1 miles below the put in. It's a short portage on flat ground, and is also a good spot to stop for the night if you get a late start.

    Packing boats up that hill near the Princes Lodge is a killer. I never want to do that again. But then I am kind of a wimp when it comes to hard work.

    We stopped at Talkeetna for some ice cream before continuing on to the take out the next day. A Talkeetna townsite take out is easy to get to, just stay in the main left channel of the Chulitna for the last half mile or so, and then make you way across the Big Susitna when you merge. From there stay left for another half mile or so and you will come to the Talkeetna River junction. You can't really see town, but it's just behind the trees where the river's merge, so get across the Talkeetna ASAP and beach it. There are ways to get a vehicle to the water's edge if you look around.

    I prefer to spend another night on the river and take out at the highway bridge about 14 miles downstream. Shuttle's shorter too.

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    Member RC23's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Jim Strutz;768399]RC23, that looks like private land and private drive to the river. Would be nice spot if you could get permission though. You could drive right to water's edge. This is on river right about 1/2 mile below the bridge near the Princes Lodge.


    I agree Jim; more than likely private land. It would be worth 10-20 bucks though. Anyone got more info on the place?

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    Member raoul duke's Avatar
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    thanks for the input, all, does water level change much later into the summer/fall?
    Fast is fine, but accuracy is final. You need to learn to be slow in a hurry! Wyatt Earp.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by raoul duke View Post
    thanks for the input, all, does water level change much later into the summer/fall?
    Yes. If no major rains, the east fork will continue to drop throughout summer/fall. the chulitna will be pretty stable. Have fun, abel6wt

  11. #11
    alison05
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    Hi,

    Thanks for the great information.

    Wordpress Newsletter Plugin

  12. #12
    Member BrowningLeverAction's Avatar
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    Any recent reports from anyone? Water levels, etc? Is the logjam on the East Fork still there? If it is we may try to remove some of it. We will be doing this float from east fork to Talkeetna next weekend.

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    [QUOTE=RC23;768449]
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Strutz View Post
    RC23, that looks like private land and private drive to the river. Would be nice spot if you could get permission though. You could drive right to water's edge. This is on river right about 1/2 mile below the bridge near the Princes Lodge.


    I agree Jim; more than likely private land. It would be worth 10-20 bucks though. Anyone got more info on the place?
    Several years ago I looked into using that road she only wanted something like $500/year.

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    How did it go? We're heading up tomorrow.

  15. #15
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    Thumbs up trip report

    We went down from the east fork to Talkeetna last weekend and had a blast. The water in the east fork was at the perfect level. It was a little bony in the Honolulu Creek rapid-y area, but not too bad and made for some fun line-picking. The logjam mentioned in a previous thread is still there, but a section has been cut out and we were able to drag our rafts through a trickle to the left of the jam. It is around a left hand bend and the current wants to take you right into it, so keep your eyes open.

    The main river had quite a bit more water than we were used to, as we usually do this float in early September. It made the braided sections much easier to navigate. The river was moving right along at about 7 mph and we did the whole trip in about 20 river hours. We had a thick fog to contend with from the confluence with the Tokositna until we got into the last little braided section. It was a little cold and damp, but a fun time as always. We didn't have our fishing rods with us, but we did see a few spawned out kings in the east fork and some more lively salmon in the main river. All the clear streams coming in were pouring pretty good. One of my buddies saw both a black bear family and a brown bear.

    We got to Talkeetna on day 4 and had a little beach access issue. We had an 18 ft cat and two round rafts with us and so we were planning on bringing the trailer down to the beach to load, but the railroad has locked up all access to the beach except for Talkeetna River Guide's area. We had eight guys so we ended up manhandling everything up the pedestrian access, but be aware there doesn't seem to be any private vehicle access to the beach any more.

    My buddies and I have made this an annual outing and it is a great, mostly mellow float that helps build river reading skills for current, rocks, sweepers, strainers and shoals. We usually try to bring at least one novice along and give them the sticks for awhile to get a feel for the river. It doesn't have too much exciting whitewater (at least for large rafts), but there is enough splashiness to have a little fun, especially in the east fork.

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    Anyone know if the gate is still locked at the takeout on the river-left side of the bridge by the Denali Princess? Trying to decide if I want to pull out there or in Talkeetna this weekend.

    Also, anyone know if there is river access on the west bank of the susitna in trapper creek area?

    Thanks!
    Chris

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    Could a first timer with oars do this trip? Im not a complete idiot when it comes to running rivers though. Would it be best to learn on another river?

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    Quote Originally Posted by duckola View Post
    Could a first timer with oars do this trip? Im not a complete idiot when it comes to running rivers though. Would it be best to learn on another river?
    Answer is yes... several of my rental parties with limited rafting and outdoor skills go up and run different forks of the Chulitna. The Chulitna has great access, good water, with opportunities for fishing, hunting, and camping along the way. That said, the one way fly-out to the Tokositna is a much better choice for inexperienced rafters on a multi-day float trip. Take out options are also same as the Chulitna River trips.

    One of the best 'learning rivers' in Alaska is a bit further north up the road and completely road accessible. This would be the upper Nenana off Denali Highway to the Parks Highway (about 20 miles). For more challenge, may include the stretch to McKinley Village (about 18 more miles). I'd then consider having a commercial operator take ya down the more demanding whitewater from McKinley Village to Healy.

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