Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

A float on Alaska's Beaver Creek
by schlumpyj

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/02/2022
Entry Point: Other
Exit Point: Other  
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
After many trips into the BWCA and trips out in the mountain west, it was finally time to try my hand at the last frontier. I was recommended this float by 907Tundra on this forum when I asked what I should do in Alaska a couple of months ago. This trip had a lot of firsts for me: My first time in Alaska, first time using a packraft, first river/creek trip, first bush plane pickup. It was also my longest solo at 7 days.
Day 1 of 7
Saturday, July 02, 2022

The day started with me picking up my pack raft rental and making my way through some surprisingly solid gravel roads to the Nome Creek put-in.

As I get closer to my destination, I see some solid haze from local wildfires. Just 2 days ago, I received a call from the forest service warning me that the area just south of the river I’m floating is closed due to wildfires. I asked directly if I was an idiot to continue my float and they thought it was fine. They assured me that if the fire progressed faster than their projections, a helicopter and plane would be dispatched to find me.

Gathering my things out of my truck, I was greeted by my favorite insect, the mosquito. At first, there were swarms but not unlike swarms I’ve seen before. As I make the mini portage to the put-in for nome creek, the nasty devils come in numbers I’ve never seen. I quickly put on my mosquito net and pray to God that this is not how the rest of my trip is going to go.

To make matters a little more annoying, I wasn’t super sure how I would put everything in the pack raft, or even how the pack raft could be inflated fully. After playing around for about a half hour, with a serious cloud of mosquitos to keep me company, I set off for the Alaskan wilderness.

At first, the going was very slow as the creek is narrow and the water is low, as you would expect from a creek that is just starting. The mosquitos weren’t ready to say goodbye for this 4-mile piece that eventually joins with the creek I will be floating the rest of the way.

Once Nome creek and Beaver creek meet, the water is slightly more floatable, requiring fewer dragging and pulling episodes. I end up at a decent gravel bar for the night and set my bear barrels away. I try my hand at fishing and I can report the stories are true, grayling are stupid easy to catch. In the span of 15 minutes, I caught 7 before I started to feel bad for the fish since I wasn’t planning on eating any this trip. They make the bluegills of Minnesota seem like Harvard graduates.