Photos and reflections from 260 miles down the Yukon River. 10 sunny days and 1 day of rain. Temps reached into the 80s, forest fires built on the horizon and an orange haze filled the river valley and on our only rainy day the rainwater tasted like smoke. Our camps ranged from classic Yukon river wooded camps where travelers have beat down dirt platforms near old log cabins, to large open islands with cobblestone beaches and back channels of stagnant warm water and mud that invited children to shed clothes and bathe. ( Read more... )
Photos from a mid June float from Kenai Lake to Skilak Lake. ( Read more... )
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... )