The Top Alaskan Wilderness Sights Part 8
If you're looking for a lively whitewater experience, this is the float for you. Arrange a bush flight out of Fairbanks, Tok, or Eagle to the Upper Charley airstrip and a pickup at Circle City on the Yukon River. This is for experienced paddlers who are looking for a 7- to 10-day trip. The water is rated Class III (difficult), perhaps Class IV (very difficult) at high water. The best water is in late May and early June. You'll want to make this an annual trip. The Charley is a pristine wilderness river that flows through the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. You'll travel from open tundra upland into forested valleys. Mosquitoes are a sure thing. And watch for the occasional moose.
Veteran kayakers will find challenging whitewater on this lively waterway in the Talkeetna Mountains. Turn east onto Hatcher Pass Road at Milepost 71 of the Parks Highway, then left on an unpaved road just past Milepost 41. This day trip calls for every bit of your attention. There are three sections, ranging in difficulty from Class III (difficult) to Class IV (very difficult) and even Class V (extremely difficult). This is a small, technical, clearwater stream with plenty of thrilling whitewater for seasoned paddlers. You'll share the stream with some of Alaska's biggest fish from late June through mid-July.
Rafters and kayakers will find good fun and challenging whitewater on this stream in the Talkeetna Mountains. The put-ins are reached by bush plane out of Talkeetna or Anchorage. Rafters should land at the Yellowjacket airstrip; kayakers should land at Stephan Lake. The Talkeetna is a swift, glacier-fed stream. Nearly a quarter of the 60-mile run is continuous whitewater. It's rated Class IV (very difficult) to Class V (extremely difficult). This is a premier wilderness trip with brown bears, salmon, and whitewater all in one float. Be prepared to share the river with motorboats and anglers during peak king salmon season, mid-June to mid-July. Take your time and make it a three-day trip.
Alaska Will Change You Forever
There is nothing that can be said in words to possibly describe the amazing and virtually infinite wonders of Alaska. Even two dimensional photographs fail to do justice to the overwhelming scale and profound physical beauty of this most superlative state. Although there are many who adore snow sports and prefer to make the trip up to Alaska in the winter, I have to state my clear preference for the middle of the Alaskan summer. Yes, the mosquitoes and black flies will literally snort your Off with a smile and proceed to eat you alive, but the suffering and bloodshed is well worth the astounding, phenomenal and completely indescribable wonders which you will witness everywhere in the state, from Juneau to Fairbanks and beyond.
Alaska is a mistress which bewitches your soul and never lets you go. Once you experience the full grandeur of this northern wonderland, you will never be able to return to your everyday life in your everyday town again. Alaska will change you. Forever.
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