Friday, July 13, 2012

6/8-9/12 Packrafting on the Denali Highway - Seattle Creek & Clearwater Creek



The plan was to float Brushkana Creek (off the Denali Highway) and Windy Creek near Cantwell, but when we arrived to the Brushkana Campground the creek looked like a raging torrent; not the splashy class II boulder dodging we'd heard about. We scouted about a mile of the creek and found a high volume of powerful water, big waves, and no places to eddy out. The creek was muddy tan and the rocks were mostly covered. It seems the rain over the past couple weeks made the creeks more than we bargained for, so as a plan B we floated Seattle Creek. It had some fun waves at first, but mellowed out quick. We took time to scout, as there were several strainers. It was mostly flat water once we reached the Nenana, so we had to drink a couple beers to bring the fun level up. We figured Windy Creek would look similar to the Brushkana so we scrapped that float.

I was curious to drive the rest of the Denali Highway and check out future packrafting possibilities. I hadn't been down the whole road before. There was some amazing scenery and I can't wait to get back. Itching to raft some more, I hiked up Clearwater Creek 4 miles and did a solo float back to the bridge. It was mostly class I with a couple class II waves. 

The Brushkana looks scary.

 Seattle Creek doesn't.




 Help! *merly a dramatization



 The Nenana









 Highway on an esker...cool!

 Esker


 A calf began following me...

 Clearwater Creek





 MacLaren River






 Tangle Lakes area



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