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Thread: 30 mile packraft float with the same put in and take out

  1. #1

    Default 30 mile packraft float with the same put in and take out

    So got out for our first real packrafting trip this summer over Memorial Day Weekend cause the little su float doesn't really count.

    Anyways, I spend a good deal of time looking around on google earth for my next place to explore and figured I'd look into this float trip. The trip basically goes like this. Park on the pullout on the parks highway at mile 127, hike roughly 5-6 miles into the north side of Swan Lake where the outlet to the Tokositna is, air up the rafts, paddle our way down the Swan Lake outlet to the Tokositna. Camp once we reached the Tokositna, float the next day roughly 10 miles and camp again just prior to the Chulitna confluence and get up the next day and float to where the Parks Highway crosses the Chulitna river.

    This is where I stashed a bike and biked the 6 miles back to the truck. However it can be done to only have a 1/2 mile bushwhack if you take out about 5 miles downstream of the bridge and hike to your truck. Given that its usually easier to back 6 miles along a highway rather than bushwack with packs/paddles/packrafts I opted for the biking.

    I did a lot of searching on here and other places, but info was very limited, but everything I could find said the Tokositna was relatively tame and it was with really only a couple sections that could be class II at higher water levels towards the mouth of the river. The Chulitna is a big river for our little boats but they did just fine. This trip can be done easily in an overnight trip as we started the hike to the outlet of swan lake from the highway at 1:30 pm and once you reach the Tokositna its only 6 hrs of floating to the Parks Highway bridge.

    It was a squishy soggy hike and we knew it was going to be so we just wore our water shoes and planned on getting our feet wet. However the only time we even got close to knee deep water was crossing Trapper Creek. Also no real bushwhacking to speak off between the highway and Swan Lake outlet to speak of except for about 1/4 mile right near the lake. We were also testing out our new backpacks and trying to get in shape for the upcoming fall backpacking hunts we have planned so we loaded heavy to put these packs to the test 65 lbs for me and 50 lbs for my wife and the packs handled it like a champ, hands down WAY better than our Arcteryx Boras which we thought were pretty comfortable to begin with.

    Anyways once at the lake we aired up the rafts loaded the packs and began to float down the lake outlet which would better be described as a long skinny extension of the lake rather than a creek or stream as the current was far less than 1 mph, but plenty deep (3-4 feet most of the way). It is about 3 miles to from the lake to the Tokositna I believe and it took nearly two hours of paddleing to get there. We setup camp had dinner made a fire and watched the sunset. The next morning we woke up late got floating again by 11 am and floated about 8 miles and decided that since the weather was still so nice we'd stay an extra day as we brought extra food and really enjoy the afternoon evening on a large sandy beach about 3/4 mile above the mouth of the Tokositna. The next morning it was less than a 2 hour float to go the remaining 10 miles or so to the Parks Highway bridge on the Chulitna as the current is much faster.

    Saw 5 bears on the trip. Two small black bears on the hike in. A sow grizz with atleast small cub 30 yrds away while floating Swan Lake Creek and a decent sized black bear on one of the wide gravel bars along the Chulitna that I almost took being as we were so close to the end, but decided to just enjoy the water and weather and let him get a little bigger. Anyways a long write up on a fun little trip I figured I'd share for those that might be interested in doing something like this either with inflatable kayaks, packrafts or what not.

    Here are some pics:

    Mrs. Alaska_Lanche hiking in with her new favorite hunting pack



    Packs loaded and ready to go on Swan Lake




  2. #2

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    Paddling down Swan Lake Creek



    Sunset the first night over the Tokositna


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    Floating down the Tokositna the next day



    Views of the Mountain from the Tokositna


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    A little splashy fun, can't really tell in this pic as the bigger waves are ahead and had to put the camera away for it so I could paddle but the rock gardens closer to the mouth are splashy enough to confirm the fact that I need a spray skirt for my raft like my wife has




    Our camp the 2nd night on the white sandy beach



    Floating down the Chulitna the last day


  5. #5
    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    Default

    Dang it, just when I thought I had talked myself into waiting until next year to get a couple of packrafts you had to go and post a trip like this. I'm blaming it on you when my wife asks why I have two rafts blown up in the living room and the there's a couple thousand less in the bank account.

    Awesome trip. Great pictures.

  6. #6

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    HAHA...Like I told Vance when he tried to blame me for his Guide Gun purchase, I except ZERO responsibility for your rafts appearing in the mail and your bank account looking suddenly a little smaller. Seriously though if you by the rafts do yourself a favor and shell out the coin for the spray skirt.

  7. #7
    Member Ridgerat's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks for sharing! That looks like a lot of fun. Great pictures and story!

  8. #8

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    Nice trip! THanks for the post. I'm a brand new packraft owner myself and looking for such opportunities.

    What kind of tent is that? Looks super-lightweight!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by akpfeiff View Post
    Nice trip! THanks for the post. I'm a brand new packraft owner myself and looking for such opportunities.

    What kind of tent is that? Looks super-lightweight!
    Congrats on the new packraft you will NOT be let down by your purchase I assure you.

    The tent is made by Henry Shires. His companies is called Tarp Tent that particular model is the Cloudburst 2. Its 40 ounces and has a floor fully bugproof even has a retractable(retracted in the picture) vestibule and plenty of room for two and even squeeze 3 in there if needed but that would be a little tight. Works great for summer stuff when moving camp everyday. Still will take my hilleberg when solely in the mountains.

  10. #10
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Congratulations...

    on a great trip! Quite an accomplishment for anyone; the planning and execution, but amazing memories to share together especially.

    Buck Nelson was a fan of Henry Shires' tarptents, which seemed to serve him well. Sounds like all of your gear worked very well. Thanks for the story and pictures.

  11. #11
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    These rafts are fast moving up the must have list! Perhaps next year the wife and I will join you guys on a similar trip. Glad to see you guys getting out and enjoying the summer!

  12. #12
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default

    Nice trip report man. I sure appreciate the pics too. Looks like you guys had an awesome outing.
    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.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska_Lanche View Post
    Congrats on the new packraft you will NOT be let down by your purchase I assure you.

    The tent is made by Henry Shires. His companies is called Tarp Tent that particular model is the Cloudburst 2. Its 40 ounces and has a floor fully bugproof even has a retractable(retracted in the picture) vestibule and plenty of room for two and even squeeze 3 in there if needed but that would be a little tight. Works great for summer stuff when moving camp everyday. Still will take my hilleberg when solely in the mountains.
    Thanks--I'm gonna score on of those! Just got back from a canoe trip that involved MANY portages and was luggin, among other things, a 10 pound 4 season North Face mountaineering tent! UGH--way overkill but it's all I've got at the moment.

  14. #14
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default nice

    What a wonderful trip. Thanks for taking the time to share the summer time fun with the rest of us. I think that you should be able to ask for an endorsment fee for all of the rafts that you are going to sell for them.

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    Member Noble Killer's Avatar
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    Default Wow!

    What an awesome post, thanks for sharing in such detail.
    -Caleb-

  16. #16

    Default New packs

    What kind of packs did you guys get that you liked so much?

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Goat View Post
    What kind of packs did you guys get that you liked so much?
    I bought my wife a Mystery Ranch Cerberus with a NICE frame and I got a Mystery Ranch Behemoth on the NICE frame. The packs are 2.5 pounds heavier than our Arcteryx Boras, but carry the weight so much better its worth it to us.

    Anyways here is a rough trace of the hike I planned printed out and tried to follow when hiking to swan lake. Kind of on/off of wheeler trails on the way in, but as long as you stick to the outer edges of the swamps and follow those the walking is easy. Between the GPS and looking at the areial view from this google earth pic you can stick to the swamps almost the whole way and only have to bushwhack for a 100 yrds or so at a time.



    Here is an overview of what the hike/float would look like:


  18. #18
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    Default WOW!

    Fantastic!

    I really enjoyed your posts and excellent photo's, many thanks for sharing.

    Kinda different scenery to London!

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    Default Thanks

    Great information, much appreciated. Meant to do this trip last year, but the wx was less than inspiring. Going to do it this weekend from Peters Hills --> Long Point --> Home Lake. Will post details on that hike.

  20. #20
    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    Homer, I did that hike/float back in 96 and it is a great one. I was going to post to Alaska Lanche that that is a much nicer hike (alpine mostly) and you get to float past the tokosha mtns, ruth glacier snout and can pull out at the Tokosha mtn lodge and have cinnamin rolls and coffee along the way...(if theyre still open). Just make sure you get on river left in time to beach it at the Parks HWY bridge. Its pretty fast there and comes up on you quick!!

    There are game trails coming down off Long point that will take you directly to Home lake if you can find them (not hard)...

    Let us know how it goes..and have FUN!!!

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