North to Alaska - Mountain Buzz

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Old 04-06-2010   #1
Fairbanks, Alaska
Paddling Since: 3
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 3
North to Alaska

I know that most of the people here paddle in and around CO but if anyone has paddled up in the frozen north land of Alaska I would like to hear about it. What was your favorite river, Raft, canoe, or kayak?

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Old 04-07-2010   #2
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
Ran the Aniakchak in a small cat raft. Scariest things were rock fall during the mandatory portage, and grizzly bears fishing in the river we were trying to run. Rain and snowed almost the entire time (mid-August). Runs from a volcanic crater to the Pacifc Ocean.

My childhood dog's name was Nenana - someday I will honor her by visiting that river too.
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Old 04-07-2010   #3
Ft. Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 56
Depends on what you're into/what part of the state you're in. There's tons of creeking to do in Southcentral, highlights include the Upper Upper Willow and Ingram Creek. Six Mile is the classic IV/V- run of the area, runs April-November, there's a bunch of creeks near it too. For big water, there's the Lion's Head section of the Matanuska, class IV, good cat/raft run. Also a bunch of higher-flow stuff down by Valdez and up in the Wrangell's, the Lowe (class III play run), the Tsaina (Class III-V), Kotsina (V), and Kuskulana (III/IV, in a gorgeous but very committing tight, sheer-walled gorge). Nenana's fun III/IV play/raft day run as well, great festival there every summer.

For more float-trippy stuff, there's a bunch of fun multi-day stretches of the Copper River, the Gulkana, and the Matanuska. The Talkeetna's a classic three-day III/IV raft trip, fly in, lots of bears. There's a few long stretches of the Yukon with fairly easy (no flying) logistics, easy to put together a 10-day canoe/raft trip, no permits. And then there's the whole Brooks Range for ultra-remote fly-ins.

But I digress. Favorite Creek: Upper Upper Willow Creek; Big Water Float: Yukon River (or Alsek/Tatshenshini?). Raft Fly-in: Talkeetna River.

There's two good AK guidebooks, the old-school Fast and Cold by Andrew Embick, not sure if it's in print any more but you can probably find a copy around somewhere, it's got everything from I-V, small and big rivers, some epic tales too. Then there's the new Alaska Whitewater and Creeks by Tim Johnson, focuses on creeks in Southcentral, but has a bunch of other runs as well.

Anyhow. Alaska's awesome, have fun up there. Drop me a PM if you want any specific river beta.
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alaska, bears, north, raft, kayaking

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