Alaska River Beta
Sorry for the delay in chiming in. I've done the Talkeetna, the Firth, the S Nahanni, the Kogukut (2 times), the Alsek, the Tat and many other less remote rivers in Alaska in my boating career. The Talkeetna is a wonderful trip with some good whitewater. We hit it at a medium flow and it was a lot of fun. I just remember some big holes that were difficult to see from the river. We did it self supported out of the back of Dancers (that is how long ago it was). We used Cliff Hudson's company who used a float plane to land in Stephans Lake (I think that is correct). Paddled Prairie Creek to access the Talkeetna. It was cheaper than using a Super Cub to land on a gravel bar on the actual river. The salmon were migrating to the lake so it was literally a bear gauntlet (mid July). 13 grizzlies in 3 hours. Not good hiking due to the brush and bears. I would highly recommend this river trip. The jet boats down low were not too much of a nuisance at that time.
The Firth I would HIGHLY recommend. It basically has 4 different sections…one being deep in a canyon with fairly consistent class III to IV- whitewater for approx. 14 miles (I think). Nothing overwhelming. We did it self supported out of SOARS canoes for 18 days. AMAZING scenery to the Beaufort Sea. Incredible hiking!! 36 non-natives visited Ivvaick (sp) Park that year. We were one of three river trips for the year and the other two flew out half way because the river was flooding and they were right on top of the canyon. I would be very interested in doing the Firth again so if you have an interest, contact me. The logistics have gotten more difficult after 9/11 and Beaudell Air getting shut down out of Inuvik however.
The Nahanni is another wonderful wilderness trip but not a whole lot of whitewater. We did a 100 mile class III-IV entrance into the S Nahanni on a river called the Little Nahanni. Came into the S Nahanni below the Moose Ponds. The Flat River flows the other direction than the Little Nahanni and is supposed to be class IV-V with some portages (if I remember correctly).
The Kogukut is a beautiful small volume river in ANWR flowing into the Beaufort Sea. Not much whitewater but great hiking! Basically a backpacking trip by boat. Kayaked it the first time and brought a 16 ft SOAR the second time. The Hula Hula I've never done but hear it is a nice float. Some whitewater but not continuous or difficult.
Always looking for folks to do remote Alaska boating trips. Seems like everyone wants to go until its time to make the financial and/or time commitment. Contact me if you like to put together a trip in the future. The Jago is on my radar, as well as, the Noatat from the Gates of the Arctic NP. This is a 400 mile trip. Like I said before would love to do the Firth again. By the way…Kurt Sweetzer of Yukon Air is a wonderful resource and pilot. Out of Ft. Yukon and flies extensively in the North Slope/Brooks Range. He has a lot of beta on rivers in that area. Good luck in your planning!