2012 July 21 Upper East Fork Chulitna River

The south side of the Alaska Range, the Talkeetnas, the Chugach mountains, the Kenai Peninsula and the Wrangells
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Russell Biggs
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Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:06 pm

2012 July 21 Upper East Fork Chulitna River

Post by Russell Biggs » Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:43 am

After this week's rain, we hiked in by accessing the ATV trail that can be found by following the pullout on the south side of the train tracks where the road crosses in Broad Pass. We hiked up the swampy road and took the left fork of the very visible ATV trail directly up and southeast on the old glacial morain. From there, it was a beautiful, rainy, windy high ridge detour secondary to a family of brown bears that were near the creek. We eventually dropped back down to the creek and continued up and then directly south over the nearest pass, rather than doing the ridge route that Corey described. From there we hiked down southwest down the ridge, class 2 bushwhacked to the low brush by the unnamed but easily visible creek and then headed south again. A beaver lodge has a created a swampy crossing to what should have been an easy transition to the river. You won't be able to see where the swamp is until you gain the high ground - head more southeast and you can get around and through it without too much grief. All told, we hiked about 6 hours, an hour of which was less elegant. I am assuming the rain had made the river rise a bit and don't have a comparison other than the youtube video I watched before the trip. I'd say the majority of the float is fun PR2 and just as described elsewhere - beautiful clear water. The exception is the first canyon, the 3rd or 4th drop of which deserves undivided attention in the middle at the higher flows. I'd be happy be to describe it if you want to know what it looks like underwater and upside down. The second canyon's first rapid is more of a fun short staircase without the long swim if you get schooled coming out of it. There's no appreciable wood in the river until the near the very end of the float, all of which is easily avoidable.

We had stashed bikes at the bridge and biked the ten miles (tailwind!) back to the car in about 40 minutes. This is a great trip. I'd love to know where the 4th of July creek/horse trail entry point is, that looked like it would be an easy approach, but we couldn't find it.

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