Most people know of this adventure as the "Coffee Pizza Beer Packraft". Aptly named because the loop up Carlo Creek and back down the Nenana starts and ends with at a restaurant that offers just that. However, some of us are lactose intolerant, and wine is healthier anyways.
After a memorable search for our friend Allie's cabin and a leisurely coffee at the Cafe, we were on our way.
For better or for worse, an ATV trail allowed us to skip the joys of bushwhacking and we were soon climbing higher and higher through the tundra of Carlo Creek drainage.
Making our way up the winding river valley, the patches of snow slowly became more common as we reached 3,000 feet.
One of the awesome things about Carlo Creek was all the wildlife: there were sheep everywhere, and several groups of caribou. Two of whom even took it upon themselves to trot over to investigate us:
Admittedly Andalyn's antler was a bit confusing.
The arrival of the snow patches produced a sudden and significant decrease in my moral. Post-holing through the unsupportable snow I couldn't help but wonder why I was not at home watching TV.
Probably because I do not own a TV. Reaching continuous supportable snow was a relief.
The pass brought sun,
and the return of the wind. Note chunks of earth in flight:
Descending towards the Nenana, the search for a campsite was almost comical. Every few minutes a new wonderfully soft-looking spot would come into view, only to be more appropriate for swimming than sleeping. Eventually we found a spot that was not only dry, but also had a windbreak!
The next morning arrived with more typical Alaskan weather: cool and cloudy.
One last short descent through thick brush and game trails brought us to the Nenana.
The float was fast and generally mellow, but had a few fun and big waves that briefly submerged us.
A two mile walk back along the road, and the loop was complete. More importantly it was time for tapas and wine!