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Thread: Trouble on the Upper Gulkana

  1. #1
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    Default Trouble on the Upper Gulkana

    I got a call from a group that I ran into yesterday at Paxon Lake when I was dropping off a fishing group. The group is all teen age girls with 8-9 rafts and cats. They have cut one of the pontoons on a AIRE PVC tube and have no repair kit. The group tied the cat off to the bank about 1-2 miles below the exit of Paxon Lake and have regrouped on Potty Island.

    This is not my group so what I am looking for is anyone who is traveling down the Gulkana in the next 2-3 days who has a PVC repair kit to stop and do a patch job for these girls. They are below the Cat so I am guessing they are looking for someone to take the Cat down and catch with the group of take it all the way to Sourdough. The Cat had 3 oars on it and needs a repair and a pilot.

    The group leader is Rod Hutehings and his cell # is 907-441-1705


    Thanks a bunch is you can help.

    Walt
    Gulkana River Raft Rentals
    907-259-4290

  2. #2
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    I think we have the Cat taken care of. I received a few calls from groups headed down and one of my groups are going to repair and then row her down the river. I will let you know.

    Walt
    Gulkana River Raft Rentals
    www.gulkanaraftrental.com

  3. #3
    Member chano's Avatar
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    We are heading out in the morning from Paxson Lake. Let me know if any help is still needed.

    Shannon

    907-590-1801

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    Member Sierra Dragon's Avatar
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    Thanks for the Heads up Walt on the River conditions Saturday. We were ready for the high water and had everything in hand.
    On Wednesday Morning the Scout Group I was leading left Paxson lake launch a couple hours before the girls group. We saw the equipment floating past at our Meirs Roadhouse Campsite and figured something happened. Around 10 pm the last raft floated past and we checked with them and they said they would worry about the broken boat later.
    Not much we could do at that point anyway especially since an hour later our older scouts limped in on the Middle Fork from Tangle lakes a canoe short and sopping wet from getting dunked several times. All our extra gear and raft capacity was needed to get them out safe.
    This was my first time down the Gulkana so I didnít know better but apparently the winter changed the river quite a bit, and the high water made the trip a little more intense than usual.
    We had a blast on the rafts, and the fishing was great. The high water made the rapids a lot of work and our canoe scouts had a rough ride but everyone came back safe.
    There is a LOT of Sweepers along the banks. One in particular pretty much crosses the entire river just past Cottonwood bend. And there is a nasty log-jam shortly after that where we also decided to walk around rather than paddle it.
    If anyone wants a GPS track of our course with the new channels cut let me know in a PM.

  5. #5
    Member Sierra Dragon's Avatar
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    I should have mentioned if it wasn't obvious... The middle Fork is a mess. Many of the Oxbows have been cut across and the trees are still standing. The one in particular our canoe guys lost a boat on had a safe channel less than 5 feet wide with no warning that it was jammed up.

  6. #6

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    Never done the tangle route... but from what a I hear it isn't for scouts in canoes in any condition. Sorry they lost gear.... but I like hearing those oxbows are starting to give more. The doldrums are the worst part of the river.... I only saw one oxbow that gave two years ago the last time I hit the Gulkana. Like anything else, changes in the river come fast in high water!

  7. #7
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    I have 3 groups on the river right now and they will start coming out in a few days. I will write up a report about how they did later in the week. For you guys on the River look forAVON 14 foot rafts and they are mine, say hi to my guys!


    One of my groups are going to repair the girl's Cat, pick up the gear and row it all out. If anyone else picks up any of the scattered gear please drop it off at my place located at mile 127.5 of the Richardson Hwy. and I am acting as a storage spot until the girls group can come out and pick it all up.

    Walt
    Gulkana River Raft Rentals
    9087-259-4290

  8. #8

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    Hey Walt, My family and I are headed up there Wednesday. If we pick up any scattered gear, I'll try to make room for it in our raft and drop it off at your place on our way back home.

  9. #9
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    Thanks! Any help would be great!

    walt
    Gulkana Raft Rentals
    907-259-4290

  10. #10
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    Walt, I saw post number two and thought everything was taken care of. I took this photo on monday, I assume this us the same cat.

    Without knowing for sure, and not setting anyone stranded, I didn't want to mess with anyone's gear.
    My only gear sponsor is the salvation army - Dick Griffith

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    scott_rn, that is the same cat. I assisted the boat owner in rescuing his boat on Wednesday evening. It was tied off in a nasty section of the river with thick brush, so we floated it down another mile or two to the middle fork, where we patched the boat and camped for the night. We picked up the gear left on the island as well as another bag we found hung up in a sweeper and hauled it back to town. Walt, thanks for all of your help, with the updates and coordinating boat and gear retrieval. Thanks to those offering help and those who picked up gear. The boat owner is happy to get his boat back.

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    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    Glad it worked out ok. Sorry if we could have helped.
    My only gear sponsor is the salvation army - Dick Griffith

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Aire really should rename the Leopard the Duroc...'cuz it's a pig.

    Glad no one was hurt.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Good to hear! I am happy that the Forum solved the problem and involved so many folks!

    Walt
    Gulkana River Raft Rentals
    907-259-4290

  15. #15

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    Man, floated the lower 50 miles or so this weekend...and man has that river seen some destructive erosion. The high banks are shedding earth and trees like mad. Some of my favorite king holes have been destroyed by serious washouts this year. About 20 minutes from the bridge there is currently a new channel being formed through the trees for about 1/2-mile. Solid waterfalls flowing through the trees and over the left bank. Never seen anything like that happening before. Nature is wildly powerful. Check it out if you're on the lower end below Sailer's Pit and above the bridge. Crazy!

    Visibility is still really murky from all the erosion, though water levels are nearly at normal stage at the moment (6-ft or so at the gauge).

    Larry

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    Larry:

    You come by the lower Gulkana and don't stop by and introduce yourself? I am hurt!

    The waterfall section ate a canoe and outcast about 3 weeks ago. Nature was bored with the same old river so she gave us a new one! Faster trip. My floaters are doing Sailor's Pit to the bridge in about 1.45 hrs and Poplar grove in 5 hours! Fast!


    Walt
    Gulkana River Raft Rentals
    mile 127.5 or the Rich!

  17. #17
    Member akjw7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gulkana Rafting View Post
    I have 3 groups on the river right now and they will start coming out in a few days. I will write up a report about how they did later in the week. For you guys on the River look forAVON 14 foot rafts and they are mine, say hi to my guys!


    Walt
    Gulkana River Raft Rentals
    9087-259-4290

    Hi Walt - any reports from the recent groups? Thanks!

  18. #18

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    I just got back this evening from floating the upper Gulkana with my family. We had a great trip. Laker fishing, grayling fishing, and rainbow fishing was a blast as usual. Didn't catch any hogs to speak of, but there was plenty of action. Didn't see nearly as many kings and reds in the river as usual. The water was a little murky as others have mentioned. The grayling were a little bit more finicky than usual, but when I switched from using nymphs to drys my son and I started tearing into them real quick. The river changed immensely. Several of my old favorite campsites are no more. In fact, I would say about 2/3 of the campsites on the river from the canyon rapids down are either completely gone or filled in with logjams and blowdowns. Lots of sweepers, new braids and new channels below the canyon too. Be alert! Some of the old islands are no longer islands. They have been cut off completely from the river and the old side channels are filled in with sediment. Some of the old oxbows have been completely cut off too. Walt, I looked around for any of your missing gear, but I couldn't find any.

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    Sierra Dragon:

    Thanks for the good write up on your trip...glad all the boys made it out safe. I would love a GPS track of your course, or at least the coordinates to the major sweeper and the log jam that you mentioned? I could not figure out how to PM...sorry.

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