June 15 and 16, is the planned Reindeer Hills overnight trip on the Nenana River. We float the section of the Nenana between 18 mile Denali Hwy and the “Windy Bridge” on the Parks Highway a few miles north of Cantwell, starting on Saturday morning, spending the night on the river and taking out late Sunday afternoon.
Here’s a description of the river and the trip: The put-in is on the Denali Highway, about 18 miles east of Cantwell. The river parallels the road for a few miles, then cuts north behind the Reindeer Hills, returning to the take-out on the Parks Highway at “Windy Bridge”. It is a fast-moving, glacial-fed river requiring maneuvering and river reading skills. This section is class 1-2. A set of rapids, perhaps a mile (or three?) long starts near where the river turns away from the Denali Highway. They are straightforward with waves up to two feet high but no large obstacles. However, there are a few large rocks near the waterline lurking near the tail end of the rapidy section so those must be watched for. There are sweepers and strainers as on most interior rivers. It is definitely a step up from the upper Chena, but not as challenging as lower sections of the Nenana. If you are comfortable on the upper Chena and are looking for a little more challenge, this may be the trip for you. It is beautiful, scenery-wise, especially after the river leaves the road and goes into the hills. We camp at one of a couple of places: there’s the Brushkasna Creek site, and there are a couple of islands and a site on river left above Brushkasna Creek that make good campsites too. We should get off the river Sunday afternoon at around 4 or 5 p.m.
We could easily have some rain on the trip and the nights can be quite chilly, sometimes even freezing. The river water is extremely cold. A drysuit and fleece layering would be nice; rain gear and extra clothes are a must. I’ll bring the club tarp which will provide some shelter for cooking if it rains. Participants should be current members of the club. I’ll have membership forms on hand for those who need them.
Food: Everyone should bring their own lunches. I’ll bring some sort of breakfast for Sunday. We’ll try to coordinate dinner for Saturday night. Maybe we can all bring a little something to share.
Participants should be current members of the club. Membership forms will be available for those who need them.
For more information contact Dana Thomas (dlthomas [at] alaska.edu), Nick Dallman (nicholas.dallman [at] alaska.gov) or Alan Batten (alanbatten [at] acsalaska.net or 488-3205).
All paddlers interested in this trip to either email or call Alan (488-3205) by Thursday evening, June 13 (please include a telephone number in your email).