Denali white-water guides dare to challenge flooded Healy Canyon

September 27, 2012 

They couldn't resist it: Seven Nenana Raft Adventures guides last weekend dared to float the Nenana River through Healy Canyon on the highest water levels ever recorded, reports the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Recent heavy rains had swollen the river to almost quadruple the water flow that is considered average for a tourist rafting trip and about double the flow at which tourist trips are canceled.

Jeff "Mudflap" Estes admits he was "a little nervous" heading into the Nenana River Canyon on Saturday. That's what 20-foot-high waves will do to even the most experienced paddler. ...

"It was huge," Estes said by phone on Tuesday, talking about the water conditions the paddlers faced. "There were holes big enough to eat a house."

Why would someone want to paddle a raft through such water?

"They're boatmen," Nenana Raft Adventures owner John White, who has been rafting in Denali since 1986, said. "Everyone was thinking about this."

Read much more and see photos at the News-Miner: Denali raft guides ride Nenana River Canyon as floodwaters rage

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