Rafting the Nenana and climbing Mt. Healy

Trip Start May 05, 2009
Trip End Sep 20, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Alaska
Saturday, August 29, 2009

August 27, 2009

The next big adventure for the group was a rafting trip down the Nenana River. Wow. What a spectacular view of the canyon. Val did not have a waterproof camera, but Natalie took some great pictures that will have to be shared at a later date. Val did take a picture of the picture purchased at the end of the trip from a vendor. It was a wonderful, fun trip from the McKinley Chalet in glitter gulch to the bridge next to the power plant in Healy. The guide was as cute as a button. Her name is Lisa and she is an equal opportunity raft guide, and gives "glacial facials" to everyone on the raft. It's a good thing that they suit you up from head to toe because water comes at you from all directions, and it is cold. Lisa says that the river has mostly category 2 and 3 rapids right now as the water is low. When the water is high the rapids are primarily 3 and 4. She did point out some spots that were classified as 5’s, but we avoided going through those sides of the river. Thank you Lisa!

Since rafting the Nenana was not enough excitement for one day, Natalie, Dan and Val decide to try climbing Mt. Healy. There is a trail that takes you to the top of one of the ridges. Up and up they go, pausing along the way to catch their breath. The higher they get the more dynamic the views. They watched the train pull out of McKinley Station and visually followed it along the winding tracks like a snake with a bright yellow and blue head. About halfway up the mountain they met a group coming down who had an encounter with a grizzly bear. Two young women were ahead of their group when they came upon a bear. They did the worst thing possible and ran from the bear. The bear chased them, but they were able to connect with their larger group before the bear caught up with them. The bigger group evidently discouraged the bear, and it did not molest the group. The girls were sufficiently shook up, and their group was heading down the mountain as quickly as they could go. Being fearless, our group continued on up the mountain. When they got about three quarters of the way up they met up with another group of people heading down. This group had also seen the bear. They were part of a larger group who had reached the top of the ridge. The bear was between them and the group at the top. The group at the top was staying at the top because they could not get around the bear. The lower group thought that if they came down the mountain they would give the bear room to wander away, and the group at the top could come down. Well our group may be fearless, but they are not stupid – so down the mountain they went with these folks. We never did hear if those people at the top got down ok, maybe they’re still up there…

Reporting from Denali,

Remington Beagle
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