This is not Henry Allen’s Tanana River. Nor is it the Trail River of people living here thousands of years before the nineteenth-century government explorer struggled his way down the Tanana. But it seems close.
I’m on a family trip down the wide brown river, starting where it arcs from the mountains to Fairbanks. Wife, daughter, dog and I will float the river 150 miles to the town of Manley Hot Springs, where our car is waiting.
When viewed from a hillside or a plane, the Tanana looks like the giant it is: a tan python slithering around wooded islands.