Earliest Tokositna River break up ever in Denali State Park.
Observation: My husband, Chris, grew up at his family's lodge on the Tokositna River in Denali. His parents still live there today and this April 20th, 2016 they watched as the river ice completely went out. It is the earliest they've ever seen it happen and they've been there since 1968. They spent Easter in Wasilla at their daughter's house in late March. They went to the store to stock up on food and began the return to their lodge. During the snowmachine trip from the Parks Highway to the lodge the rains started to come down wreaking havoc by eating away at the snow and causing overflow on the river. They made it home just in time for break up where they have been stranded (in a good way) at their home ever since. Being stranded for break up is normal - what is not normal is that break up unexpectedly came a month early. Break up usually takes the better part of a month to happen and doesn't usually begin happening until late April or May. Chris remembers training for Arctic Man and snowmachining out from the lodge to the highway for the event during the second weekend in April. His parents always threw a Spring Party where hundreds of people would snowmachine to the lodge in the first week of April when the river was solid. They say that their river typically goes out a week AFTER the Nenana Ice Classic is over. Chris' parents are still out at the lodge waiting for the river to rise up enough to put their riverboat in the water. They're dreaming about the first fresh salad they'll get to eat after a month of living off what they brought out to the lodge back in March.
Tokositna River breaks free April 20, 2016 (Photo by Anahma Shannon)