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Thread: Lynx Lake Loop portage conditions?

  1. #1

    Default Lynx Lake Loop portage conditions?

    Hey folks, my wife and I will be going in on the Nancy Lakes Canoe Trail in a couple weeks. We have the cabin at James Lake and I'll be going in on the western half of the Lynx Lake Loop. I was just wondering what the portage trail conditions are like on that half of the loop for those of you who have been through there lately.... Any sections with lots of toe-catching roots sticking up? According to Google Earth, the first portage is right around 1/2 mile, that one is really my only concern (toting an 85 lb canoe). The other portages seem pretty short so hopefully not big problems there. Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Nancy lakes

    This sounds like a great early fall trip.
    I am guessing we are going to start seeing some nice cool evenings and crisp fall days,
    this is my favorite time of the year and a canoe trip would just push me over the top..
    have a great time,, and don't fret about the weight of the canoe.
    just take your time, watch your step, and don't push to hard thru the portages.
    I have found that canoe trail trips are so much more enjoyable if you take the time during a portage to stop and pick berries, check out mushrooms etc.
    Years ago in our rental business we had several canoes that weighed in at over 80 lbs, and we had little complaints from the folks that portaged the canoe canoe trail system here on the kenai.
    now days we are just more whimpy I guess, because we get complaints from folks that are using canoes that weigh under 60 lbs.
    In fact, we used to have folks stay out for like a week at a time and that was normal, but now days, people stay out only a few nights and are done... To me, that is just no enough time to really get into outdoor relax mode. I so enjoy the week long or more trips, as it just seems to make it so much more enjoyable... I guess our world is traveling faster, and we don't have the time to relax..
    Just missing the old days...
    but,, what ever time you can be out in the wilds,, is way better than no time out in the wilds,,,
    have fun..
    Max
    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. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  3. #3

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    Thanks Max,

    I do plan on taking my time and enjoying the trip. I anticipate we'll walk each portage first with our packs, then go back for the canoe. I'll be going in an 18' Mad River Lamoille, can't wait to get it on some waters outside of Anchorage. Maybe next year I'll make it down your way and try out the Swan Lakes system.

    Jeff

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    Default

    I did the full loop in late July. I had a small kayak; very hard to carry. I thought the trails were in very good condition.

    I don't have my map handy, but I did the trail counter clockwise, going to Milo Pond. I was covering "ground" pretty fast. I thought some of the hills at take outs looked pretty tall, but I'm sure it was just me being tired and the kayak being a pain in the shoulder to carry.

    Have fun!

  5. #5
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default leap frog your stuff

    On the portages, I like to do a leap frog style of hauling the gear.
    First I carry the canoe until I get tired of that. I set it down and then walk back to the packs, carry them to the canoe, and then pick up the canoe and move a ways with that until I have had enough and then back for the packs.. this way I keep my gear and the canoe closer together and for some reason, the little walk back to the canoe or gear refreshes you just enough to make the gear or canoe easier... the loads are carried a little different and so different muscles are used. This of course does not make the portages any shorter, but alot easier for me ..
    When I take groups out on the system, I make a sort of game out of the portages, We look at the plants of Alaska book and then see who can identify the most plants along the way.
    This really makes the portages fun,, we have found wild Iris and lots of berries and other stuff......Sometimes I do a "lets find dinner hunt".
    We look for stuff we can add to the pot, like wild onions, fiddle heads etc.
    lots of edible plants are around and it helps to make it part of the experience. It also empowers some, as they begin to think about how they could survive a little better on what mother earth has to offer.
    We also take along a pocket guide of birds and find that even those really not interested in birds become fans of this sport after they can find and identify a couple of different birds.
    If any of you have youngsters and you want to help make a fun trip out of the portages, remember to not push so hard that its miserable. Stop before you get them tired, relax and have a snack or a little game like I mentioned above. The kids will appreciate the trips more and be inclined to want to go next time... They may even beg you to take them,,,,,
    Today I picked up a couple out at the west entrance to the swan lakes area. They were Swiss and in broken English told me they had fun, but the portages were a little tough...
    I felt like I had failed my customers.. I did not help them understand how to absorb the whole event.. Instead they pushed on to get to the water, not even picking a juicy ripe Rasberry, or watermelon berry along the trail.. they never even saw them as far as I knew... what a shame..
    So.. to those that read this rant.. ,, you may see it again.....
    Enjoy the whole thing folks,,,
    Max
    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. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Default James Lake Portage

    Hi, my wife and I were just into the James Lake cabin a few weeks ago. Had great time but the portage was pretty brutal. I also have an 85 lb canoe and we loaded it with about 100 lbs of gear + food. I drug the canoe between lakes. Lessons learned: Take only trail food or other light foods and rent a canoe from Tipacanoe since they appear to be much lighter. We still had a good time there and it seemed to be much easier going back. Have fun and bring an axe to chop wood.

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Thumbs up fire wood

    firewood around campsites is always a hard to find comodity. Normally the best places to pitch your tent have been used for many years and dry fire wood is long gone near the camp..
    After we find a place to camp and have the gear unloaded from the canoe, we jump back in the canoe and paddle a few hundred yards along the shore line and then walk backinto the woods and get the easy stuff.
    we like to get wood that has never touched the ground, as it is usually much drier and makes for a smoke free fire.
    a dead fall with branches sticking out and up can oft times be busted off or easly knocked off with a small axe or hatchet or bow saw.
    Load the wood in the empty canoe and back to camp with enough for the night.. takes just a few minutes this way..
    Max
    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. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  8. #8

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    Just returned Friday from my Nancy Lake Canoe Trail trip. Went from Tanaina to James Lake and stayed at the James Lake cabin for 5 days. The portages weren't too bad, at least I didn't think so. Took us about 3 hours going in and coming out with an 84 lb. canoe and about 100 lbs of gear. Yeah, those hills between Big NoLuck and Chicken, then Chicken and James are a little tough but at least the length is fairly short. Despite constant rain, we had a great time. The James Lake cabin is very nice and a great place to get away that's not too far from the big city. Loons, sandhill cranes, spruce grouse, moose, and beaver kept us entertained all week. Man, it's going to be tough having to return to work in the morning....

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    Default

    Glad you had a good time!

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