Copper River take out at Flag Point
Someone was asking about the pickup logistics of the Flag Point take out near Cordova recently, but I can't find the thread, so I thought I would post my findings here.
I had been warned that the lower Copper River had changed a couple years ago, and that the Flag Point Channel had little water in it, and may not be boatable to the usual takeout. So I did some checking, and was told that the I was correctly informed about the change in flow, but that it was still floatable -- just slower.
We still averaged 4 mph from the Million Dollar Bridge to Flag Point (about 24 miles). This was slower than previous trips, but still acceptable. It was faster near the glacier, and slowed down towards the end, but never below 3 mph. This was all clocked & plotted on a GPS.
However, about 2 miles before the end the Flag Point Channel splits, and the river right channel hardly exists (low water trip), and the river left channel wanders off to towards the next bridge (not where you want to be). We took the left channel because there was so little water in the right one, but soon realized we had made a what looked like serious mistake. When we found a tiny channel leading back to the right, with great effort we drug our boats about a mile to get back into the right channel, and then rowed the slack water to the take out. All this was for naught however, as right before the bridges, there is a very large channel connecting back to the right side, and we could have cut nearly 2 hours of irritating effort if only we had known.
All this to say, we had a great trip (11 days starting in McCarthy), and wished we had seen the take out before we'd started.
Another question arose in the previous thread about loading boat gear on the ferry for the trip back. Yes, you still have to put all your gear in a trailer or truck. I think they let you carry on one or two bags, but that's all. You need to find a ride for your boats, frames, oars, kitchen, etc. In the past we just bribed some private pickup driver to pack our stuff to the next port. Oddly, we only found one private pickup heading back to Whittier, and it was half full already, so this would not have worked. There was a commercial truck, but he said we would have to talk to his office, and pay them in advance. Anyway, it can still be done, but not as cheaply or easily as before. The difference is that there is now a high speed ferry (50 mph) that does daily trips, and there are not as many trucks waiting in line as before when they were limited to 2-3 trips a week.
None of this mattered to us on this trip as we had someone take the ferry to Cordova, pick us up at Flag Point, and drag all out stuff back the next day. This saved us a hotel room expense as we just camped at the takeout, and caught the early morning ferry the next day. We did find a couple of services that were willing to pick our gear up at Flag Point if we did not do our own truck thing.
Anyway, that's how the logistics worked for us on this trip, and it's probably what we would do next time. Also, next time I will definitly bring an outboard for the trip across Miles Lake, and perhps for Bremner Flats if the wind picks up.
More Copper River info here: http://paddling.jimstrutz.com/page11.html
That was me asking about a Copper float. Unfortunately, three of six folks we had lined up couldn't work the time off...just didn't want to do it with three. Instead, we put in @ Chelatna Lake and floated Lake Creek down to the Yentna (5 days). It was an awsome trip. Great fishing w/some fun "elevation changes".
Thanks for the excellent logistical guidance on a Copper float. I'll tuck it away and for later this summer/fall.