Around the time of my birthday (May 3), my father called up and asked me what I thought about him selling his old raft, which he used to guide all over the state for many years as owner and operator of Alaska Fishing Adventures from ca. 1984 onwards. I told him that we would like to buy it from him, and he in turn insisted upon giving it to us to use. So, I took Wendy, Allie, and two dogs out on a two-day float of the upper reaches of the Chena River here in Interior Alaska this week.
Above: Tia and Sterling practice dog Judo in the Angel Rocks parking lot as we prepare to launch the raft from mile 48.5 Chena Hot Springs Road. Photo: Allie McDonnell
Above: The river was very low as it has been generally sunny and hot this spring. The upper stretch of the Chena doesn't get floated a lot, and when it does often smaller craft are used. Here we are at sweeper #100 or so, part way through our first day. This log jam crossed the entirety of the river, necessitating a portage past the log jam which entailed emptying the boat or all passengers, equipment, and the rowing frame, then carrying all of the equipment and the 16 foot boat about 1/4 mile downriver.
Above: Aaaah, and the portage is done. Now we just needed to load it all back up again and get on our way. Wendy and Allie were very helpful. The dogs were no help whatsoever, though they did find some carrion of interest in the area.
At right: Tia's glamour shot for the Crest catalog. What appears to be her mangled teeth is actually an intact, rotting porcupine skull, upside down. She proceeded to crack this apart with her teeth until we could knock it off the boat with a stick. Foul.