Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Peters Creek Breakfast

Ship Creek is my favorite run in the whole world. I can see its valley from my house. My kids' flesh is constructed in part from berries and moose meat harvested from its valley. The Lower Canyon offers a quick hit of fun, safe, and challenging adrenaline.

But no more.

Ship Creek is closed and boaters are getting arrested – or at least getting court dates – for running it. This is a bummer. Maybe if Stevens were still in the Senate and Chair of the Appropriations Committee, then Ft Richardson could be persuaded to open up Ship and the rest of the Hillside that's now closed to recreation (Senator Begich are you listening?).

So I am in search of a substitute, something that doesn’t scare off our visiting packrafters, like Mo, who’d just come back from the Brooks Range Noatak and Alatna Rivers

This morning Thai picked me up at 7:30. We were at Peters Creek by 8:00, where Moe Witschard was staying with his old friend Peter (coincidentally). Yesterday Moe and I had been to Eagle River’s Campground Rapids. There his boat handling skills passed inspection. So at lunch we suggested to Thai that perhaps the middle section of Peters Creek Canyon, rated "Class IV+" in Tim Johnson’s Alaska Whitewater, could be our new Ship Creek Canyon

To get there we intended to pass up the entrance Class V and likely the last one, too, but it didn’t work out that way.

Instead, we dropped midway into the Canyon from Peter’s place and ran four or five drops including “Rodeo Drive” and “Big Dog”. Thai suggested at the low water level we ran it (Eagle River gauged at 700 cfs, so maybe 200 cfs at Peters Creek) “Big Dog” was IV+, not the Class V that Timmy J. gives it in his guidebook.


I call it solid PR 5.

Watch this video’s last ten seconds and you’ll see why.


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