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Thread: Yukon canoe trip

  1. #1
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    Default Yukon canoe trip

    I know a Yukon canoe trip can be done (I read the thread on Bob) and I want to first say that I'm a bit crazy at times.
    Ive been looking at canoes and even Jon oats and thought I had my mind made up on buying a Jon boat, however my desire to be debt free has overcome my desire for a boat. I know a canoe would be more economical but the price of new canoes is astounding (at least for what I need).
    So I've been thinking of doing a canoe float down the Yukon. Possibly from the bridge. Maybe from Somewhere else. I would have most of the summer to do the trip but would rather spend about two to three weeks? I have no idea how long a trip would take. I've spoken with three people that have done the trip in Jon or v bottom boats and they told me it took about 4 days. One lady told me her family did it in 2 1/2 days when she was younger.
    Ideally I'd like to get a 17ish footer with a 5ish hp motor. I did find a guy in my village that used a 3 hp motor on a 17' for over five years. He said he made it across the Yukon numerous times and hauled many moose in it. So I know it can be done. If I get a motor I may do trip solo. If no motor I hope to talk someone into doing the trip with me.
    Im not in the best of shape now, but I was not to long ago. I'm not going to kill myself (not the plan anyways) but I want to be smart about it. My canoe experience is minimal. Basically I'd like to get back in shape and enjoy myself.
    Is this idea possible? Taking it slow? I believe the trip would be about 400 miles. Dates would be either June or July (allow myself plenty of time).

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    It can be done with paddle or motor.Get one of those old Coleman's a couple paddles and have some cheap fun. Have a good lifejacket and wear it.Something for shelter and bug dope. Catch fish and eat berries,cook on open fire. It can be a very cheap trip and go at your pace and learn about yourself.A 100' or 1/4 or 3/8 rope can't hurt.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    I wouldn't recommend doing the Yukon in an old Coleman. The nicest part of the river to paddle in Alaska is from Eagle to Circle. Why do you need to haul a motor to go down river. Go paddle with the current. Buy a decent canoe with the proper shaped hull. Save the Coleman for a raised flower bed.

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    I think you'll find a 19' + Grumman more comforting if you opt for a square stern. Many a person has paddled that river with just an oar though. For a long trip the weight of fuel and motor plus the liability may not be worth it if you're mostly headed down stream.

    Plenty of boats available used on craigslist.

    Also plenty of rivers other than the Yukon to wet your feet on, (or entire body and all your gear) with a bit less commitment. Happy to recommend other road accessible canoe floats via pm.


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    Quote Originally Posted by andweav View Post
    I think you'll find a 19' + Grumman more comforting if you opt for a square stern. Many a person has paddled that river with just an oar though. For a long trip the weight of fuel and motor plus the liability may not be worth it if you're mostly headed down stream.

    Plenty of boats available used on craigslist.

    Also plenty of rivers other than the Yukon to wet your feet on, (or entire body and all your gear) with a bit less commitment. Happy to recommend other road accessible canoe floats via pm.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Im interested in other rivers too but I live on the yukon. The plan is buy canoe in town then float to my village. The idea of the motor is for moose season. I can get motor cheaper in town and use it to get home than pay for it to be shipped.

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    You might want to talk with Mainer as he has a ton of canoe experience on that river. I know he is busy so may not be checking the forums as often but he is great with giving pointers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBEE View Post
    You might want to talk with Mainer as he has a ton of canoe experience on that river. I know he is busy so may not be checking the forums as often but he is great with giving pointers.
    I was hoping he'd chime in. He's one of the reasons I've decided on a canoe. I'd love to get one of his boats, but debt free is priority.

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    I'm not sure why you are quoting power boater's times to motor down the Yukon. Even if you get in a big hurry and run a small outboard on your freighter, your times will be way-slower. If you are buying a boat in Fairbanks or the Anchorage area, Nenana or Fairbanks would be the logical place to launch. You would have to get a ride to launch at the bridge or Manley (or Nenana). Do you have a vehicle parked somewhere? Thousands of paddlers have gone down the Tanana/Yukon Rivers. What you are proposing has been done thousands of times. These are big rivers with many channels full of log jams, sweepers and current type hazards. You say you aren't in good shape now, you will want to be in good shape to paddle these rivers. You also will need to be able to read a river to avoid the hazards. When you leave Tanana on the Yukon, you have to get to Ruby for supplies/gas. That is a long stretch with no help in between. If you are not an experienced paddler, you may want to take one with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pipercub View Post
    I'm not sure why you are quoting power boater's times to motor down the Yukon. Even if you get in a big hurry and run a small outboard on your freighter, your times will be way-slower. If you are buying a boat in Fairbanks or the Anchorage area, Nenana or Fairbanks would be the logical place to launch. You would have to get a ride to launch at the bridge or Manley (or Nenana). Do you have a vehicle parked somewhere? Thousands of paddlers have gone down the Tanana/Yukon Rivers. What you are proposing has been done thousands of times. These are big rivers with many channels full of log jams, sweepers and current type hazards. You say you aren't in good shape now, you will want to be in good shape to paddle these rivers. You also will need to be able to read a river to avoid the hazards. When you leave Tanana on the Yukon, you have to get to Ruby for supplies/gas. That is a long stretch with no help in between. If you are not an experienced paddler, you may want to take one with you.
    I only referenced the power boat people b/c those are the only ones I know that have done it.
    The lady I spoke with (2 1/2 day lady) said they used a 2 hp motor. Mainly drifted and used the motor to get into the channel.
    I know it will take me a lot longer. Notice how I mention I have no time schedule. The small outboard will help with the out of shapness...The going down stream as well.

    I'm pretty sure the wife is going to require someone to go with me.
    Maybe I'm crazy and I do understand the good shape concept, but this trip is a start to get into good shape again.
    I'm not going to pull a Bob and paddle like crazy. I'm going for the adventure is what this is all about. Doing something that many people haven't (though thousands have).
    Last edited by Yukon Cornelius; 03-10-2014 at 10:50. Reason: forgot stuff

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    2 1/2 days with a 2hp motor from where? Not from the road system anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pipercub View Post
    2 1/2 days with a 2hp motor from where? Not from the road system anyway.
    That truly sounds intoxicating. ..2 1/2 days with a 2hp motor from anywhere.

    Ron
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipercub View Post
    2 1/2 days with a 2hp motor from where? Not from the road system anyway.
    I'm with you. I found the time frame to be way off. Unless it was 24 hour floating?
    Regardless. I just smiled and said thank you for the info.

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    The first thing that comes to mind is there is no substitute for power. I bought a 9.9 for mine.

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    for that trip ypu ned the largest canoe you can muster up , large canoe equals more supplies , you can mone around more than the small canoe's
    the yokon has some days the wind blows with large waves that you will have to conten with , the larger canoe will take the waves better than the smaller ones, so go as large as your pocket book can handle an what you can find when you are ready to buy . SID

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid View Post
    for that trip ypu ned the largest canoe you can muster up , large canoe equals more supplies , you can mone around more than the small canoe's
    the yokon has some days the wind blows with large waves that you will have to conten with , the larger canoe will take the waves better than the smaller ones, so go as large as your pocket book can handle an what you can find when you are ready to buy . SID

    True enough, I'm sure. Problem is, YC is already in a village on the river, and it sounds to me like he is trying to buy only what is right there in the village. He might be better served flying one way into Fairbanks or Anchorage, buying a better canoe and engine outfit, and then floating motoring back to his village.

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    A few years ago I stopped at the bridge and got to talking to a German fellow that was making the trip from Whitehorse, he had 2 canoes lashed together with a platform......and ANOTHER person.....it was a all summer affair, they had a motor...but didnt use it much. Apparently at times they would go up some creek and fish. They mostly floated. Seems the Yuk is 5-6 mph and ~ 500 miles to Sahgeluk Slough from the bridge and another 150 to Holy Cross. It would be a great trip, but a 17 foot canoe......that would be punishment...........for me anyway....
    A 19' sq stern at a min IMO......
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    True enough, I'm sure. Problem is, YC is already in a village on the river, and it sounds to me like he is trying to buy only what is right there in the village. He might be better served flying one way into Fairbanks or Anchorage, buying a better canoe and engine outfit, and then floating motoring back to his village.
    This is the plan. The canoe here in the village would just be for hunting and using around. I'm looking at options in town (Anchorage) and then floating down to my village vs flying or barging it in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon Cornelius View Post
    This is the plan. The canoe here in the village would just be for hunting and using around. I'm looking at options in town (Anchorage) and then floating down to my village vs flying or barging it in.
    Oh well then just start watching craigslist and alaskalist for a Grumman or other sq stern and an outboard. One of us can go check it out for you locally before you hop a plane and Flying in to town. Put in at Nenanna and you're on your way.

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    There's no dout about it, many people have done a canoe trip down the stretch you're considering. I've seen everything from groups equiped with the latest and greatest to a solo guy with virtually nothing. It just comes down to how bush savvy you are. From the sounds of it, you haven't been out there too long. I'm not trying to pick on you, just figure out what you situation is. Are you a teacher? If you don't mind me asking, which village are you in? I just curious how far down river you're headed. I've made the trip from Fai to my home above Ruby a couple times in different types of boats directly from the Chena and it's a good yank. To Nenana it's about 60, another 100 to Manley, 75 more to Tanana, Ruby is another 120, Galena 52 more, Koyukuk another 30, ect, ect.....

    A good freighter is certainly not a bad way to go for your intended use once you get back home. And a kiicker is going to be necessary for getting around hunting ect. A canoe will be a bit limiting as someone pointed out the Yukon can get a little snotty at times. However, since you live on the river, I'm sure you know that already. 9.9's are good but can be a bit top heavy when tilted up and not in use. The Yamaha 8 is a nice motor, if you want to go smaller than that because of price or whatever, the Yamaha 4 is just a detuned 6 so if you're going to tote the weight, you might as well have the ponies to go with it. The Honda 8 is just a detuned 9.9 and is heavier than the Yamaha 8. Honda's 5hp has a silly plastic pinion gear in the starter so I would look at that one as the Yamaha is a better choice in that HP range. I won't do Mercs so won't go there.

    I guess I'd just say, if it's rough out, cut banks are not your friend. I know they usually have good current along them, but that comes with sweepers. When it's rough, it can be difficult to get around the sweepers and not end up out in waves you really shouldn't be toying with in a craft of those limitations. Log jams on both the Tanana and Yukon are really not much of an issue, unless you're trying to hind in the back sloughs from rough weather or really star trekking. (bravely going....) Don't be affraid to sit and wait weather out. Traveling at night will almost always give you less wind, it'll be cooler, and you'll see more critters.

    Im sure I could come up with more, but those are a few thoughts. Take it for what it's worth.

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    One last thought, plastic canoes are nice in that they are low maintenance, but bears like them. Nom nom nom nom... Aluminum may be noisy, but can take a beating without requiring lots of care.

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