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  • Float trip pictures

    This was a float trip I went on last year. I was sort of hunting for bears, but mainly I just wanted to float a remote river and see some nice scenery. It was a chance to spend some time to myself before I deployed and it was a great trip so I thought I'd share these photos.


    Mark from Hayes River Lodge, a good, safe pilot, dropped me off at the headwaters of the Skwentna River.
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  • #2
    Day 2, floating the river...

    I inflated the raft, went for a short hike the first evening and then crawled into my tent. The next morning I shoved off as I was eager to get on the water. In hindsight, I wish I would have spent more time up above treeline at the headwaters hiking and exploring, but I was excited to see what was down river.
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    • #3
      Day 2 continued...

      Spectacular scenery all throughout the valley. I stopped to hike up a side stream and took some pictures. Again, I wish I had more time to spend hiking and exploring.

      The river goes from shallow braided channels and becomes one channel with some rapids as the valley narrows. The rapids are classified as class 3, and they kept me busy. They aren't too bad, but they last for quite a while. I was worn out by the end of the day. I don't have any pictures of the rapids, as I was busy with the oars.
      Attached Files

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      • #4
        Day 2...

        It was a long day on the water, lots of fun though. I stopped to take some pictures after I was out of the rapids. Time to set up camp for the evening, get dinner going and build a fire, which took a while since it had been raining for a few days.
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        • #5
          day 2

          More pictures from the second day floating down the river.
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          • #6
            Glad you did the trip...

            Originally posted by bobblehead View Post
            Spectacular scenery all throughout the valley. I stopped to hike up a side stream and took some pictures. Again, I wish I had more time to spend hiking and exploring.

            The river goes from shallow braided channels and becomes one channel with some rapids as the valley narrows. The rapids are classified as class 3, and they kept me busy. They aren't too bad, but they last for quite a while. I was worn out by the end of the day. I don't have any pictures of the rapids, as I was busy with the oars.
            You are right... the upper section has some reasonably good hiking. Having two days is about right before floating. I run the Happy at least about one trip a season. Once you get past this point there is no hiking for sure, and the riverside brush (other than bear trails or horse paths) is a little thick.

            Did you take out just below the Tal confluence, at Skwentna, or the gravel bar strip near the butte?

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            • #7
              Day 3

              The river gets bigger as it is fed by side streams. The canyon is spectacular, with walls that show the sedimentary layers of the crust and then buckling and tilting from plate tectonics, I'm no geologist, but you get the idea, it looks cool.
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              • #8
                Day 3 still...

                Camp on the last night.

                Went for a little hike that day trying to find some salmon. I can't remember the name of the creek that feeds in from the north, but it was very swollen so impossible to fish. I did find half of a salmon flopping around on a gravel bar as I floated by, kind of funny, the eagle caught my attention, and as I floated up to it, there it was, nicely colored, a good looking fish except it was missing it's front half.

                I went off to do some business before crawling into my sleeping bag and as I was walking back to my tent I saw a brown bear come out of the main channel and approach me. He saw me, and wasn't sure what I was, I probably looked like a moose calf in my polypro tops and bottoms. But, as soon as he ended up downwind he figured it out and high tailed it out of there.
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                • #9
                  Last day

                  Happy River, thats what it is...and yes, the hiking is a little rough except for the bear trails. Ran into some beaver ponds back near the Iditarod trail, was looking for some ruins that were depicted on my topo map, wondered what they were. Anyone know?

                  Here's an interesting obstacle in the river.

                  The river really opens up and turns into a huge maze of channels and logjams. It was actually a more difficult portion to float than the rapids up valley. I had to look quite a ways ahead to find the main channel and maneuver around logs, keeping an eye out for sleepers and such.

                  I took out at the Hayes River Lodge which is just above the confluence of the Hayes River. I deflated the raft, and hiked up to let Mark know I was back. We hung out for a bit, ate some lunch and shared stories and pictures, and then we flew back to Anchorage.

                  It was a great trip, I'd like to do it again with some more time for hiking and fishing. I'd spend several days up high just exploring and then stop at the feeder streams on the way down and fish.
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                  • #10
                    Nice

                    Thank you for sharring.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for the trip report and pictures. Always good to see how other folks trips went. Thanks for sharing man.
                      The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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                      • #12
                        Nice pics and story.

                        Thanks for sharing and thanks for your service!

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                        • #13
                          good times

                          i have yet to go on a float trip it is on my to do list for this season though hopefully i can get a moose that way

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                          • #14
                            I agree! Amazing pictures! Thanks for sharing!
                            Lurker.

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                            • #15
                              Time of year

                              Wow - looks like a great trip - thanks for sharing!

                              What was the date of your trip? I am planning to fly into Chakachamna Lake and then hike to the Skwentna. It is about 18 miles to where the Skwentna comes out of the South Twin Glacier.

                              My concerns are

                              1) can I start floating right where the river comes out of the glacier, or will I have to hike another 20 some miles?
                              and
                              2) How rough the water will get downriver; I'll be in a packraft. We're planning the trip for mid June.

                              Any input would be great - thanks!

                              Kyle

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