Tonsina

The south side of the Alaska Range, the Talkeetnas, the Chugach mountains, the Kenai Peninsula and the Wrangells
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johnz1967
Posts: 82
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:10 am

Tonsina

Post by johnz1967 » Wed May 26, 2010 6:44 am

Tonsina Trip Report, Squirrel Creek (Richardson Hwy) to Edgarton Hwy:

May 24-25, gauge about 8.4 (low-moderate). Shuttle is 22 miles, enjoyable biking. River mileage 25 per Embick. Having only Embick's book for beta, I assumed that early season water flow would make for a casual splashy camping trip. River maintains a leisurely PR2-3 pace for a few miles then quickly did what rivers do to people that assume, choosing a blind corner to unleash the beginning of a lengthy amount of PR4. Plenty of rocks, pourovers, holes, and mini-exploding waves would in my opinion keep even the hardcore people here entertained. After a few miles of this, river gradually eases to PR3 and then PR2 within a couple miles of take-out.

To update Embick's description, no cable bridge observed, nor was any river-blocking logjam. Wood was always present during the second half of the run, but not overly problematic, requiring only vigilance but not difficult maneuvering. Higher water would likely increase that risk as the wood lined the bank of the moderate-level channel for miles. Minimal sweepers encountered with only one requiring a portage, but as with most high-force rivers chewing up banks this could change at any time.

Plenty of campsites, particularly in first half of run. Total river time about 7-8 hours. Put-in at Squirrel Creek confluence not idea but doable, upstream at/near bridge probably better. Take-out either left just prior to bridge or (only if slow as it goes into wood) on a small right channel. Gravel parking area off highway on south side (river right).

Has anybody else taken a stab at this? Only negative I can think of is likely too long for one day and a little rough for gear-laden pr. Would not want to see it in much higher water.

Lame-o productions video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heBMfQKN8q4

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