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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    GRRD
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    1,565

    TR: 20 Mile Pack Rafting

    Hey Boat Floaters! We had a nice adventure floating down 20 Mile River here in Alaska last week...

    Started the day at 9am by driving south down the highway about 10 miles for the truck drop. Notice the exceptionally high tide:



    Met up with Dearnly and Thom and split up the beer rations accordingly



    Left the house at 10:30 on foot. Cracked first beer as seen here at noon



    We had to walk for about 6 hours to the put in at the westernmost headwaters of 20 Mile. Cool waterfall.



    Looking back to the backside of Alyeska Mountain. We started on the frontside and and came up the long valley



    Finally reached Blueberry Pass



    Thom says "that way". He has done this trip a few times and it is a first for Dearnly and I



    Gotta get to the river!



    Here we are, need more water. I feel like we are being watched. Deep in griz country



    Had to get across this little side channel to main current. Dearnly's feet were already wet so he went for the wade. Thom and I had rubber boots on so we decide to juke upstream into the the alder thicket to navigate across the alder strainers and keep dry feet. About 150 in, as we struggled for a clean line, Thom say's "Did you hear that?!" I say "No" then a second later I hear distinct WUUFFF! over the rushing river noise from very close proximity. Could be nothing other then giant brown bear, at least based on deep gut reaction the sound had on me.



    We said fuck it and darted back to where Dearnly had crossed as he called to use.
    I got across the stream and on to the open sand bar and looked back upstream to where a large mama bear and THREE large juveniles were ambling out way.

    So much for another beer as we very quickly filled our rafts up with air and nervously watched the family move our direction



    Fuck you bears! we are out of here 4:20 on the dot



    100 yards later a walk around



    We've had some major precip events with like 6-8 inches of rain in 48 hours in the last week. The river was low again but it was like the main channels had been blown out and we had a fair amount of shallows to deal with.





    Is it just me or are we in the middle of nowhere and it is getting dark?



    Why yes, it is getting dark. And no, no one has a headlamp



    8pm



    When is iPhone going to come out with an outboard app?



    Remember that high tide way back 12 hours earlier? Well, we were hoping to have navigated the upper river faster then we did and hit the highway before the tide affected the current 2MILES upstream from ocean. It actually kind of fucking sucked.

    The air temp was hovering around 40 and and if you stopped you got cold and the tide was so high that it over flowed the banks into the alders anyway. No beaches, no light, no reprieve from incoming current except by staying right next to shore an using tiny strip of dead water. By this time the the river is about 50 feet deep and a couple hundred yards wide, littered with huge logs going this way and that. The last faint sliver of silver finally faded to pitch black as we JUST KEPT PADDLING. I would stop on occasion and listen for Dearnly bringing up the rear. We were in no way able to respond to a capsize if we even knew it happened. I could here the highway in the distance so we knew were were close, but what is close if you are moving forward 1/4 mile and hour while paddling as hard as you could for the last 3 hours?

    Anyway, we eventually saw the parking lot light and felt a burst of energy but it still took another half hour to the truck. At the pull out both Thom and I could not even get up out of our boats and I literally crawled up the bank and scared the shit out of a trucker having a smoke break.

    Is it ski season yet?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    2,535
    Real cool TR.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    West By God Wyoming
    Posts
    455
    Nice! Daylight goes fast this time of year.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Paper St. Soap Co.
    Posts
    2,319
    thanks for the tr.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    South Central Spud Land.
    Posts
    2,209
    No headlamps? That's pretty funny.
    Quote Originally Posted by skuba View Post
    you can let it free and be as stupid as possible


    Thread Killer
    I would like to see your point of view but I can't get my head that far up your ass.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    GRRD
    Posts
    1,565
    I was really laughing as we used the almighty iPhone as beacon for Dearnly to follow.

    Hey, we had beer though!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
    Posts
    17,987
    Quote Originally Posted by carvedog View Post
    No headlamps? That's pretty funny.
    IME just hold up your lighter concert style to serve as beacon and the fishing boats won't run you over

    I pad 2 has a nice GPS/map

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Eagle River Alaska
    Posts
    10,909
    badass.. any fish up in that upper?
    Its not that I suck at spelling, its that I just don't care

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    GRRD
    Posts
    1,565
    Yeah, there were a fair amount of humpies and some reds. The bear family were chowing down.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    the gach
    Posts
    5,494
    I miss running the jet boat up there.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    West Shore
    Posts
    2,322
    This TR is pretty awesome. Thanks for putting it up.
    Make skin tracks steep again.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    59
    Nice TR, darkness always adds a nice twist to a paddling trip. Were all of those pictures shot on your iPhone?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    GRRD
    Posts
    1,565
    ^^ Canon Rebel XTi

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    59
    Quote Originally Posted by carpathian View Post
    ^^ Canon Rebel XTi
    Would have been cool if they were iPhone shots. I really like the Rebel line, I've got a T1i myself. You guys ever think of getting kayaks or do you like the mobility of those little rafts?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    here and there
    Posts
    14,828
    5 lbs pack raft or a 40+lbs kayak

    I would have taken my thrill seeker but that is still 20 lbs to lug around in bear country.
    watch out for snakes

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    crown of the continent
    Posts
    13,950
    Quote Originally Posted by carpathian View Post
    Remember that high tide way back 12 hours earlier? Well, we were hoping to have navigated the upper river faster then we did and hit the highway before the tide affected the current 2MILES upstream from ocean. It actually kind of fucking sucked.

    The air temp was hovering around 40 and and if you stopped you got cold and the tide was so high that it over flowed the banks into the alders anyway. No beaches, no light, no reprieve from incoming current except by staying right next to shore an using tiny strip of dead water. By this time the the river is about 50 feet deep and a couple hundred yards wide, littered with huge logs going this way and that. The last faint sliver of silver finally faded to pitch black as we JUST KEPT PADDLING. I would stop on occasion and listen for Dearnly bringing up the rear. We were in no way able to respond to a capsize if we even knew it happened. I could here the highway in the distance so we knew were were close, but what is close if you are moving forward 1/4 mile and hour while paddling as hard as you could for the last 3 hours?

    Anyway, we eventually saw the parking lot light and felt a burst of energy but it still took another half hour to the truck. At the pull out both Thom and I could not even get up out of our boats and I literally crawled up the bank and scared the shit out of a trucker having a smoke break.

    Is it ski season yet?
    HOFF!

    kickass tr...
    Something about the wrinkle in your forehead tells me there's a fit about to get thrown
    And I never hear a single word you say when you tell me not to have my fun
    It's the same old shit that I ain't gonna take off anyone.
    and I never had a shortage of people tryin' to warn me about the dangers I pose to myself.

    Patterson Hood of the DBT's

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    59
    Quote Originally Posted by scottyb View Post
    5 lbs pack raft or a 40+lbs kayak

    I would have taken my thrill seeker but that is still 20 lbs to lug around in bear country.
    Makes sense, but still would have rather paddled against that tide in a kayak. Perchance is this the scottyb who's diesel 70 I happened upon in a tree?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    here and there
    Posts
    14,828
    Quote Originally Posted by .simonb. View Post
    Perchance is this the scottyb who's diesel 70 I happened upon in a tree?
    SIMON! How ya doing? You in school at Boulder? Kewl to bump into you here.
    watch out for snakes

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    ANC / ADQ
    Posts
    2,620
    Great Adventure TR !

    I hope no beers survived

    -thought you guys had more snow, snowing down here right....now-

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Eagle River Alaska
    Posts
    10,909
    Quote Originally Posted by carpathian View Post
    Yeah, there were a fair amount of humpies and some reds. The bear family were chowing down.
    hmmm I wonder about dollies and bows up there.... (I think its closed though maybe sigh)
    Its not that I suck at spelling, its that I just don't care

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