Upper- Upper Little Susitna River Packrafting

mark oathout

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This is a run we have been wanting to do for a couple of years, and we finally made the effort to do it this week. The flow was about 500cfs, which makes you think low water, but it is not for that section, which is only about half the water that the gauge reads lower down the river. We walked about 4 miles up Gold Mint trail, scouting here and there, and thought it looked pretty darn fun,which it was.

We had watched a video by Paul Schauer who ran it a couple of years ago at 430cfs, but he did not have video of the good part because his batteries died. Long story short, it was not the creek we saw on our hike up, the whole section that moves away from the trail became very steep and convoluted, solid class IV-IV+ the rapids were extremely long and stacked in there back to back, we figure it was in the 300ft per mile range in the steep part. I was actually winded in a couple of places from paddling so hard, it was a handful, much more water and it would be class V, and very serious.

My 14 year old son was with us, I almost walked him out, but we had a strong team of four boaters and he was nailing the drops with style. In the end we had no real swims, a couple of pins, but nothing threatening.

Here's a couple pics of the top and bottom of a typical rapid, notice how far below me the boat is in such a short distance.
 

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mark oathout

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The crew

The crew

Here's a couple more pics
 

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