Floating on the Kenai

Finally, after months of living like the suburbanites we aren’t, Hunter and I got down to some fishing. We drove up the highway to the town of Sterling and rented ourselves a river raft.

The instructions were clear: “Paddle one mile to the mouth of the river and float your way down. When you see and island, veer to the right. We’ll see you at Bing’s Landing at 4:00.”

So off we went! With Milton, our trusty masthead, leading the way we started to row…and row and row. Bill and I learned that we each have one arm that’s stronger than the other. What should have been a quick and straight shot to the mouth of the river turned into an hour-long meandering paddle.

An hour after the start of our journey, we hit the mouth of the river. We thought we were in for a bit of white water fun…but no. What we got was a slow float. A…very…slow…float….

Two hours in and somewhere in the middle of the Kenai River, we were ready to go home but sadly, we had another two hours of floating still ahead of us. Hunter rigged up the fly rods and cast for some rainbows he spotted. Milton just lapped the rim of the raft. I rowed.

All of a sudden, joy of joys, we picked up some current! As soon as we did, Hunter spotted some monster rainbows and jumped clean out of the raft leaving Milton and I sailing down the river. Nice. Guess who had to paddle back up river against the now strong current to fetch him? It wasn’t Milton.

After three hours of bobbing down the Kenai, we ran into Caddis Flies. What’s cool about these flies is that they’re the same ones fly fishers use to catch big fat rainbow trout. What’s uncool about these flies is that there are lots of them - big brown clouds of flies that get into everything. While we paddled our way through them, Milton perched himself at the front of the raft, picked flies out of the air and ate them like popcorn.

Four hours, a wrong turn and a near-miss with another raft later, Hunter and I arrived at Bing’s Landing, ready for our raft to be hauled out of the water and for us to be on our way home. Happily, the rafting company and their trailer were right there waiting for us and we hit the road, happy to be back on solid ground.

Labels: , ,