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Thread: Family trips

  1. #1
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    Default Family trips

    My family and I plan on spending the summer floating, fishing and camping. However I have no experince on Alaska's rivers and the only raft experince I have is on military zodiacs. My children are ages six and seven so I am looking for some recomendations for some calm rivers that offer good fishing camping. As my wife and I are both completing our last year of college we are broke so there wont be any flying to rivers this year. One other question I have is, how does everyone get back up the river after the float?
    Thanks
    Don

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    Oh I have a 13ft alaska series 390tds

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    "how does everyone get back up the river after the float"

    Usually you park one vehicle at the take out, and then drive the second to the put in. On some rivers you can get a commercial "shuttle bunny" to drive your vehicle to the take out. One such river is the Gulkana.

    The Gulkana is an easy, mostly slow moving river from Paxon Lake to the bridge over the Richardson Highway. But it has one 1/4 mile set of class III - III+ rapids that can be portaged with a little work. After these rapids the river is swift and rocky for about 10 miles before flattening out again. Fishing is great for grayling, and rainbows; with some very good salmon fishing in season.

    It's a 3-4 day trip from the lake to Sourdough Campground, and another 2-3 to the bridge. There is a lodge near the take out that will provide people to shuttle your car for you. I think it was about $35 the last time I used them. To me the only problems with the Gulkana are the bugs and crowds. These are both at their worst in June.

  4. #4
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Kenai River

    You might also check out the upper or middle sections of the Kenai River. Both areas are road-accessible at certain access points, the river is beautiful and fishing can be quite good. Camping along the upper river is great. You will need to either park at the takeout and hitchhike back to the put-in, or catch a shuttle as Jim suggested for the Gulkana.

    The bugs are not nearly as bad as they are on the Gulkana, btw. But it can get somewhat crowded.

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike
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  5. #5
    Member Heg's Avatar
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    Default

    Rafting is one of the best ways to spend quality time with your kids and wife. I have a two kids, four and one, so we try to limit ourselves to day trips when we have the little ones; multi-day trips combined with diapers, naps, fits, etc, are more than I can mentally deal with. Some pretty chill, day-trip rivers close to Anchorage: Eagle River, Kenai, Portage Creek, and the lower section of the Willow. Your kids are a little older, so you could probably mentally handle a few days out. Jim mentioned the Gulkana which is a great family trip. If you are comfortable on the Gulkana, check out the Chulitna, Klutina, or Kennicott/Nizina/Chitna.

    "how does everyone get back up the river after the float"
    Bring a friend with another boat and car for a shuttle, hitchhike (easier on some rivers than others), pay for a shuttle, and on some trips (like the Klutina) you can stash a bike near the takeout and ride it back to your car.

    You said you are new to rafting, so make sure you are prepared. It's cool that you are going to get your kids out on the river; however, whenever I am out with my kids, I always stress about the "what ifs". Make sure you have your "stuff" dialed in, and try to go with another boat if possible. I don't know if they offer the class still, but Knik/Canoers/Kayakers used to offer an introductory raft class that I believe was pretty cheap. Jim might know more details?

    I am taking my four-year-old on a multi-day trip this summer. I am going to make sure to have food that he likes to eat, toys, games to play, plenty of dry clothes, and an extra fishing rod for when he hucks the first rod over the side of the raft.

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys,it looks like the Gulkana will be our first float. I will definitely check out the class. I am also looking forward to the Alaska sportsman show seminars.

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    OK, with that introduction, let me plug Knik Canoers & Kayakers in Anchorage.

    Check out http://www.KCK.org for information about their raft class. For some reason the website is not accessible to me right now, so I don't know if the dates for the class have been posted yet.

    The last few years they've been charging $75 (I think) for two classroom session, followed by two days on the Matanuska (Sat-Sun the weekend before Memorial day weekend). They usually have a 2:1 or 3:1 student:teacher ratio, and have you swap boats & instructors several times to get a well rounded introduction to rafting concepts. I suspect is will be pretty much the same this year. You can get great beginner to intermediate instruction there.

    They also have an annual water safety class that is a must do session for all new boaters, and is a great refresher for the rest of us. That's usually held in April. Plus they have a couple canoe classes, and sea kayaking classes.

    KCK holds their meetings the 4th Thursday of each month at 7 pm at the Wilda Marsten Theatre in the Loussac Library during winter months, and a BBQ in June-August on the same day. No meeting in December, and the 3rd Thursday in November. There is usually a couple presentations with slide shows of related topics and trips explained at each meeting. Dues are $10 per year, and are optional, but only members qualify for the door prize drawings at each meeting.

    They also have a (free) email list server that you all should join to help facilitate group trips, swap ideas, and exchange info about current river hazzards, etc.

    If you live farther north check out Fairbanks Paddlers club. http://fairbankspaddlers.org/

  8. #8

    Default

    Is the KCK website down? My browser does not seem to want to pick it up.

  9. #9
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default Fairbanks Option

    To be honest if your just looking for what you described you would be hard pressed to beat the Chena. Excellent Grayling Fishing with more camping spots than you can shake a stick at problem is 6 hour driver to get there. The river is mostly if not all Class I ample users to hitch rides back to your vehicle.

    Gulkana option from Sourdough Down as Jim mentioned is always a hoot as well. Little Class II rock garden about 1/2 way down other than that smooth sailing.

    Good Luck.

    P.S.

    Shoot me a note prior to your trip if BMR is heading in your direction we will try and spot your vehilce no charge that is as long as we are heading in your direction.

    Moose-O

  10. #10
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Shuttles

    Its aways tough and time consuming to do your own shuttles.
    But that is the only way sometimes.
    if anyone here has a list of people that will do shuttles on the river systems in the road system, that would be nice..
    Some of you may even be able to help and make a few bucks if you are located at either end of a river run on the road system.
    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

  11. #11
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK flyster View Post
    Is the KCK website down? My browser does not seem to want to pick it up.
    It appears to be. I tried several times this past week and can't get it to pull up.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  12. #12
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    Blue moose, thanks for the offer the Chena looks great as well. The kck site appears to be down. I'm so pumped, I cant wait for the snow to melt

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    Default little honesty

    guess i shouldn't admit it but if/when i'm solo or with one vehicle i tend to carry a small gas gan, i always tell the truth when someone decides to pick me up.. but it seems to help on getting picked up faster.... (so if you see a big guy walking along near one of your favorite floats with a 2gal gas can; please pull over and pick me up??)

    b

    Quote Originally Posted by windswept View Post
    One other question I have is, how does everyone get back up the river after the float?
    Thanks
    Don

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    LOL, thats awsome.

  15. #15
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbiinc View Post
    guess i shouldn't admit it but if/when i'm solo or with one vehicle i tend to carry a small gas gan,
    b
    Honest and creative
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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