Nabesna to McCarthy

I am planning a packraft/hiking trip from Nabesna to McCarthy in the last week of August and the first week of September. I have some questions and would appreciate any answers people might have.

  1. I am planning to float on the Nabesna River or adjacent streams on the first leg out of Nabesna. At the other end of the trip, I plan to float the Nizina from the glacier to May Creek, where I’ll hike to McCarthy. What can I expect the flows of the Nabesna and Nizina to be like that time of year?
  2. The route I have selected is based on one that Roman Dial did with some students from Anchorage. It does not seem too overwhelming - on paper, at least. I know it was also the route some took when the Alaska Wilderness Classic was held there. I’m wondering generally what kind of terrain I can expect? I can tell from the topo that it crosses a lot of river basin, tundra and some glaciers. I am avoiding the goat trail and any mountains, but are there other challenges I need to watch out for in terms of geography?
  3. I am planning to cover this route in 13 days. Does that sound like a reasonable amount of time? (I know - “it depends.”) I know when the Wilderness Classic was done there, people covered it in 3-5 days. So I figure I can do it in one third the speed they did. I backpack 400 plus miles a year, mostly in the Sierra. I did 70 miles of the John Muir Trail in five days. Sure it is a trail, compared to what I’m proposing here, but it also has a lot more elevation to climb…)
  4. I have extensive backcountry experience. So I don’t have many other questions. But is there anything I should know about traveling this area? Can you recommend any other resources of information? I’ve seen the posts and links on here - they gave me the idea to begin with!

Brad Branan
Sacramento, CA