River Rafting – Canyon Run

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Things to do


Date of travel

May, 2016

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One of our booked excursions with Holland America Line’s Denali and Alaska Cruse was white water rafting. The event takes place on the Nenana River which runs right behind the McKindley Lodge Chalets we were staying in and the centre where your experience starts is to the right of the Chalets as you look at the river. We were slightly disconcerted after the safety talk, which explained the many ways we could die on a fast moving river/grade III/IV Rapids and of course what to do and how the avoid that. We were equipped with dry suits, gloves and helmets before being led to the river and our rubber raft. The option we chose was for the guide to do all the paddling (although he did let us have a go in a quiet stretch of the river), which gives you the option to hold on with both hands if you feel the need. Once you get going in the raft (you either sit on the side walls at the back or similar rubber tubes that run right to left) you soon get the hang of how to lean and ride the Rapids, so all was well. Our guide took great care of us and we survived a thrilling and enjoyable run down the river. Next time we’d like to go for a higher grade and will paddle the raft.

Top tips:
Plenty of warm layers and double socks are essential as glacier fed river water is very cold. Whilst the suits keep you dry, they don’t keep you warm. You will leave your shoes where you collect your dry suits so a thick pair of socks over a thin pair will keep your feet warm inside the suit & rubber boots.

Wear a thin beanie hat under the helmet, it keeps you warm and is more comfortable.
The instructions say to meet in the main lodge but if you come from your Chalet, they just bus you back to where you started. Check if you can go to the centre direct from your chalet.

Bring a lanyard or similar to hold your glasses on if you wear them, they sell them there if needed.

Bring a waterproof camera if you have one but they do take some pictures along the route which you can buy at the end.

This was classed as a hazardous activity by my travel insurance so i had to arrange an upgrade to my policy.

Steve Aldridge

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