More Gulkana Pictures
The river does have some rough spots, with one portage for either low experience folks and smart rafters, depending on river stages.
Here we are looking up river, through the little canyon. It is very plain to see that the path is obscured by large rocks. Although the water is not "big," getting caught on a rock with this low water level could ruin a trip. It is a long hike out to the road.
One year we ran the rapids. Water levels were "normal" and there were several lines through the canyon, which even novices could manage.
Of course, running fast between rocks and getting a little wet was really fun! We had to pose for a picture as the brave explorers of the great Alaskan Frontier.
After the photo shoot, someone had to change clothes as she got pretty wet. I wouldn't want to embarass Ginger by mentioning her name, so we'll just leave it at that.
At the end of a fun day on the river, we eat dinner and enjoy a warm cup of tea. Everything seems to taste better on the river....
The Gulkana river is situated in the Alaska Range, and night-time temperatures even in peak summer can dip into the upper thirties. Sleeping, therefore, is somewhat of an art-form. You need to make sure everything stays warm, even if you have to wear a winter hat to bed.
Other complications to sleeping can be the ever-present wildlife. Although "bear-proof" camping is usually effective, finding small grizzly tracks (about 8 inches long) like those below can make for a restless night.
Moose are another potential hazard on the river. Cows will ruthlessly defend their calves even against bears. One night we could feel the foot-falls of a moose within feet of the tent.... The cow and calf below didn't give us any trouble, and we were able to hold the raft upstream so as not to bother them.
As you approach trip's end, you pass below the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. This bridge, engulfed in July's dusky midnight, marks the bitter-sweet end. On one hand you are glad to be done, on the other, you wish the trip could go on.
Information on the Gulkana and other wild and scenic rivers in Alaska can be accessed through the BLM
(1st Gulkana Page)
Index of Alaska Pictures