This is a photo dump from a recent trip down Desolation and Gray Canyons on the Green River. 10 of us flew down from Anchorage and spent a week on the river. We had 6 adults and 4 kids ages 3-6. We crowded into 2 16' rafts and brought a packraft as an extra boat. We had perfect weather (7 days of 70 degree sun) and low flows (3000cfs) which meant the majority of the rapids were mere ripples (but also meant that travel was slow). It was the perfect October escape from Anchorage which can be dreary before the snow arrives. ( Read more... )
For the 4th of July we packed up the kids, rafts and dogs and headed north to Talkeetna to float the Susitna River from Gold Creek to Talkeetna. This stretch of river is 40 miles of mellow class I with nice gravel bars and islands for camping and an easy take out that's within 1 mile of where you leave your vehicle. The best part? You approach by train. And not just any train - but the last true flag-stop train in America. ( Read more... )
Photos and notes from a 5 day kid float down Meander Canyon - the mellow 51 mile stretch of the Colorado River from Potash to Spanish Bottom. ( Read more... )
Photos from a Memorial Day weekend float on the Upper Nenana River from mile 17 of the Denali Park road to the Parks Highway (20 river miles). This is a totally mellow Class I float that, in my opinion, is perhaps the best kid's river in Southcentral AK. ( Read more... )
Swimming big water is kind of like falling. If you don't anticipate the moment it's not so bad. One second you're tipping (death grip on the paddle), the next second you're gulping, the third second you remember to cup your mouth to keep the spray out. By the fifth second you’re struggling to figure out which way is upstream and which way is downstream. Then you’re out of the waves, bouncing downriver and you automatically start kicking to shore. ( Read more... )
In July I spent a week floating the Talachulitna River in Western Cook Inlet with my father-in-law, Alain. We took our time and enjoyed the fishing - spending around 10 hours a day on the water and fishing continuously for trout, dollies, grayling and kings.
We saw Belted Kingfishers, Rusty Blackbirds, Bonaparte's Gull as well as all the usual suspects like Golden Crown Sparrows, Juncos, Chickadees, Gray Jays and Stellar Jays. We saw lots of moose - but only one bear; a young brown bear that on the second day wandered into our fishing hole and stood his ground as we yelled, screamed and held our bear spray at the ready. Thankfully he wandered off without incident but it was enough to make us hyper-bear-aware for the remainder of the trip.
The river had it all: A fun narrow log chocked creek at the start where we were forced to drag, push and pull our raft. 20 miles of flat water teaming with rolling kings, fat rainbows and hungry grayling. A beautiful Class IV rapid, "Hell's Gate" that I opted to portage after an hour of internal debate. Below Hell's Gate there is a 15 mile canyon with Class III drops into deep dark pools, all capped by a slow float to the mouth through deep green pools teaming with kings. ( Read more... )
Summer in Alaska is for family visitors. Some years no one shows up… Other years they show up in mass – a week here, a week there. Sometimes 2 weeks. Sometimes 3 weeks… sometimes more. Not that I’m complaining… when family visits it’s a chance to show them how you live. And how you live might mean a long rafting trip in torrential rain, a lazy day floating the Kenai without any sign of fish or a brutal slog through dense brush in the middle of Chugach State Park. And even if that summer visitor isn’t ready for what you’re about to give them (like endless fishing in torrential rains) – it really doesn’t matter. We’ve got all of 3 months to pack in a summer (even if that summer is 35 degrees and raining) and the summer visitor is along for the ride whether they like it or not!
So when my brother Charlie and his wife, Liz, showed up we automatically piled them back into the truck and forced them to drive 5 hours north towards the eastern Alaskan Range where we spent 5 days fishing and floating the Gulkana River. ( Read more... )
Birch turning - Upper River Fall 2008
Lingering snow - Upper River Spring 2010
Images from two floats down the Chulitna River - Fall 2008 and Spring 2010. ( Read more... )
The forecast for Virginia during Christmas week called for clear sunny skies with highs in the 50 and 60s so I emailed my brothers and made plans to haul my boats down when I visited for Christmas. John drove down from Philly with three boats and wet suits, I showed up with 2 packrafts and one dry-suit and Charlie, ever the procrastinator, showed up with nothing.
We spent Christmas day and the day after with family eating, running around the farm with the kids and going for hikes at Sugar Hollow. Come Wednesday night my oldest brother John, my youngest brother Charlie and two of John's sons - Matthew (20 and fresh out of boot-camp) and JC a 14-year old kid who discovered kayaking this summer and has perfected his roll and is tackling Class IV rivers - sat around discussing our options and checking flows and forecast. Charlie was a bit apprehensive. He had some long johns and a rain jacket but didn't want to sit in the river knowing that it would be cold should he take a swim. However Charlie is someone you can always cajole into doing something stupid be it tackle 250 lb calves, ski in June, or boat in December; so it took little prodding to get him to agree to join us.
We made plans to get up early and drive to Lynchburg to run Balcony Falls on the James River. River levels were low - around 3 feet - but it was the only river with rapids running within a few hours drive and the forecast was calling for temps in the 50s. ( Read more... )
On Sunday Yvonne and I floated Portage Creek from the Lake to the Seward Highway. The run is about 6 miles and quite mellow. I took my Alpacka Dory and Yvonne took her Yak. Right after the put in there are some mellow rapids - easy enough in a regular packraft by the oars in my dory kept hitting the rocky bottom so I had to change to a kayak paddle to accommodate my poor rowing skills. ( Read more... )