Carlo Creek to the Nenana

7 08 2012

 Eva, Dan, and I met Katie and Will at Carlo Creek to do the Coffee/Pizza packraft. Starting out with coffee at Carlo Creek and ending with pizza and beer at Panoramic Pizza, it’s a perfect way to begin and end a trip. It’s a 15 mile hike in up Carlo Creek, then a 15 mile float out on the Nenana. The Denali area this time of year is gorgeous, wildflowers are abundant, I was stoked to be doing another trip up there. And, this is our last trip with Katie and Will before they move to Wisconsin so Will can finish his PHD.  

Katie, Eva, and Dan on the hike in.

 Alaska cotton.

Katie and Will hiking up the Carlo Creek valley past this turquiose mountain lake. Carlo creek is a crazy, beautiful blue color, like this lake. This part of the hike was really easy, and we found tons of game trails.

Will enjoying the blue skies and sunshine.

No short supply of wildflowers!

Katie crossing Carlo Creek.

Looking back down valley. Once the valley turns to the south, the easy boulders begin. 

My over confidence of how easy the hike was drastically changed when I saw the bouder field we had to climb. After climbing most the way up it, here Katie is crossing a snowfield just short of the pass. And another stunning blue lake, that in late July, the ice was just now breaking up on. This part of the hike would be crazy treacherous if the rocks were wet.  

The view from the pass. Just when we were hoping never to see another boulder-holy boulder field! The fun was obviously just beginning…..

Katie and Will wrapped in a sleeping bag on our dinner break. The winds had really kicked up, and it went from a tank top and shorts kind of day to where the heck is my puffy jacket kind of day rather quickly.

Once we decended to the bench, I ran into a large caribou that mistook my paddles sticking out of my pack for antlers wagging at him. I took my pack off as quick as I could once I realized what was going on and he kicked up some tundra with his back legs staring right at me! Unfortunately, no pic, cause this was one of the rare occurances where my camera was in my pack 😦

We had crazy winds that were constantly changing direction all night. And we woke up to the pass being socked in. Very glad our tents held up to the abuse, and that we made the pass the day before in clear, dry conditions.

The crew on the Nenana. I never imagined I’d do a seal launch in my packraft, but I did on the Nenana. Not seeing a gravel bar or eddie in sight, after careful inspection of the grass for sharp rocks or twigs, I hopped off into the river.

Katie, Eva, and Dan enjoying the splash of sun we got the next day.

The Nenana (for the most part) is a really easy Class I. Right after the river turns north and you cross the Parks highway there is a fun, splashy section of class II.

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