Human powered adventures in Alaska’s Brooks Range are always just that…an adventure of sorts. I mean “adventure” in a wilderness context, i.e., a human powered travel mode that takes you across trail-less country, up and over mountains, while route-finding, problem solving and embracing the discovery of new sights all the way along.
I shared a few photos in my previous post about the land portion of a hike and packraft trip down the Matthews River in Alaska’s southeastern Brooks Range. In total, the trip was about 50 miles, and maybe 20 or so on foot and 30 in the raft. Or in this case, due to low river water, a lot of in and out of the raft. It was my first trip with a new whitewater packraft that I purchased from the good guys in Fairbanks at Northern Alaska Packrafts. They also rent boats and gear which is a good option for some people.
This country is big and scenic, while the river is relatively small and intimate. It is certainly the most diverse river I’ve traveled in terms of breadth. It ranges from wide open braided sections and then shrinks to a span of about 5 feet wide when passing through a slot canyon.
Unlike the rivers in Alaska’s interior–of which most are fed by glacial runoff and are therefore an opaque gray color–this river is mainly fed by spring runoff and rain water and can be sparkling clear. It was a wonderful 3 day trip.