Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Mothership and Baby Aliens: Rafting the Chulitna

Packrafting makes me giggle constantly. I'm not a water or a boating person and it just feels plain silly to float down rivers in little boats, and I love it. In the last 10 days I've helped initiate 5 new people into the 'sport' of floating...others like me that just didn't realize the huge fun potential out there. I'm doubtful everyone I've been out with is a new convert but if at least one or two get the bug....then more fun river trips!!!

Ry, Lynn, Rapheal, Bobbie Jo and I left town late Friday night and drove North to the East Fork of the Chulitna. We put in at about noonish the following day. Ryan, Lynn and I had packrafts and Rapheal and Bobbie Jo were in a 14 foot raft (mothership). This was the most beautiful water I've ever floated on. It was crystal clear. I could see to the bottom everywhere. It was amazing to float over the rocks and see how deep the holes and pools were.

Lynn Coming Down the East Fork of the Chulitna River


After a few hours the West Fork of the Chulitna river merged with the East Fork and there was this striking line where the silty water met the clear. The river volume doubled and there were some really, really, fun wave trains. From this point on it was glacial grey, but the silt was so thick in the river that it made a gently brushing/tinkling sound against the boats.

Paddling is pretty hard work and we needed lots of breaks when it was sunny out : ) The sand bars and beaches were all pretty appealing.

Rapheal, Bobbie Jo, Lynn, and Ryan


The canyon was probably one of the coolest parts of the float, out of nowhere steep rock walls appeared. There were some fun rapids to hit, but nothing scary.

Ryan in the Canyon


The river was pretty mellow after the canyon and so we would all link up together off the big raft in what I liked to call the 'flotilla'. Then Rapheal would steer for all of us, it really was pretty amusing. When a rapid or obstacle came up we would just let go of each other and float off...

The Mothership with the Babies
Photo By: Lynn Peterson

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The float took us two days, and we covered about 64 miles, consumed a box of wine, lots of good food and got stronger abs from laughing so hard.

1 comment:

James said...

Jackson and Emily think this slideshow is cool. I do too!

Jackson says the teeny rafts look weird -- maybe he should try one!