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Thread: Short Swan Lake System group trip report.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Default Short Swan Lake System group trip report.

    Just s short report on our our church's 2nd annual Swan Lake Wilderness area canoe trip.
    Last year was my 1st year leading a trip like this, & that time we did an in & out. We went 5 lakes in, stayed 3 days, & backtracked out.
    This year we decided to go in on "Canoe Lake", & eventually catch the Moose River to the town of Sterling & be picked up there.
    None of the kids had ever done anything this extensive, & only 2 of the kids & the other leader & myself were repeats of last year so it was all new to most of them. We had a total of 8 kids, the co-leader, & myself.
    Here's the trip report as copied from an email I sent a friend. I'll sort thru pictures & if I can ever figure out how to post them I'll do that later.

    "Our youth group canoe trip went well.
    This year’s theme was “A life radically committed to a relationship with Jesus”. We talked about how the focus can’t be our religious externals as important as some of those things are, but how it needs to be on our relationship with Him & then those other things will naturally flow out of that & be effective & fruitful.
    We’ll see if it sticks

    The physical aspect of the trip went well too.
    We left on Friday morning & came back Tuesday evening.
    The weather was great, no rain, only a couple of windy days, & brilliant sunshine on Sunday which was our layover day on a wonderful island in Loon Lake. Temps approaching 70*. Couldn’t ask for better.
    Bugs started getting nasty at the Loon to Swan portage, & stayed horrible until the Moose got wider & windier.

    The kids held up pretty well to the portages, but you can sure tell which kids have a mommy that does everything for them & which kids are used to working. Some are ready to sit down & drop their packs or boats at the first sign of fatigue & wonder who will carry it all for them. They aren’t too thrilled when they find out no one is going to carry their personal gear for them. But at the end they all find out that they are capable of much more than they thought & that’s a great learning experience in itself.

    When you count the “back & forths” on the portages I figure the kids did at least 12 miles of hiking there. There are 9 full portages plus a short one at the put in & we traversed 11 different lakes (there are a couple of water portages that you paddle through) with approx 8+ miles of paddling there, & then 17 miles of paddling a narrow slow river (maybe 12 feet wide were we put in & resembles a canal more than a “river”) that is flat enough & slow enough that you paddle the entire distance, not to mention that it winds like a snake so you are constantly maneuvering to make the turns.
    My partner for that day was the youngest & smallest guy of our group so I felt I was paddling solo much of the time although the little fella tried. He was literally about 90# soaking wet, & about 4’8 at 13 yrs old. We did that 17 miles in about 8 hrs with just a short (15min?) lunch break at a spot we had to take out to go around a deadfall across the river. The last 4 miles were actually the worst. The river is wider by then (up too 100 yds wide but usually less than 3’ deep) & in a more exposed flat. We had to fight probably a 10-15 mph headwind the whole way, my partner was too pooped to paddle most of the time & I will admit this old guy was bushed when we took out at the end. We headed for nearby Alaska Canoe campground & took quick showers so as to protect the public & then hit a local pizza place there in Sterling.
    Back to the church to have kids picked up about 10pm.
    All in all a great trip & I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
    After a weeks rest!!!!
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Swan Lake trip

    back in1978 to 1981 I did just as you did with the boy scouts but we had at least 25 an up to 35 counting the boys an some of the fathers had a great time just as you did I am old now but I still rember thoes days.

  3. #3
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Thumbs up great post

    good report on the Swan lake route..
    and a great time.
    The skeeters are a little tough the last few weeks, but once on the water, its great..
    This weekend was just fantastic weather though and other than that afternoon wind was perfect conditions
    the fishing is pretty good also with catching those 12 inch rainbows.
    Come by and see me anytime before you head into the system.
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years.


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