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Thread: Kenai middle run in Zodiac

  1. #1
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default Kenai middle run in Zodiac

    couple questions on the middle run:

    1) when does the kenai open up in the spring (typicall) enough to float the middle river from jims to skilak ?

    2) Can it be floated in 9 foot one man cats?

    3) what are the odds that I could steer my zodiac down it without major risk of body or boat?

    4) How rough are the rapids?

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    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default Well

    couple commercial operations run Zodiac Style boats through there all summer note the word Style boats. IMO you would be nuts to run the thing in a 9ft single man cat but than again I am sure someone is just well for the lack of a better term stupid enough to do it and I am sure they would say if in fact they are stupid enough to run it say it is doable (not trying to offend anyone) just a lot of water for that type of craft with the frame that is used and tub size.

    I am sure if you Frank or Bob at Drifters they could fill you in a little better.

    Ran it last year in a 20ft Drift boat little work would have rather been back in a round boat or cat but hey what is life without a little fun.

  3. #3

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    Last fall I did see a couple older guys doing it in single cats leaving Jim's. They each had little motors on the back along with an anchor system. Did not get to check them up close. I would prefer my raft and a friendly tow across Skilak than a single cat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    couple questions on the middle run:

    1) when does the kenai open up in the spring (typicall) enough to float the middle river from jims to skilak ?

    2) Can it be floated in 9 foot one man cats?

    3) what are the odds that I could steer my zodiac down it without major risk of body or boat?

    4) How rough are the rapids?
    A1... Season 2010 likely early - The River itself is pretty much open to a certain degree year-round. Lake would not be tho'.

    A2... Certainly doable and not too demanding for a 9' one person cat. This is not difficult water in terms of readability, volume, gradient, waves, or anything technical. A total novice could do this float.

    A3... Old Zodiacs and Avons were the norm in the 1970's... even with canoe paddles or the dinky oars in the molded rubber locks. Goo (SOTAR REP on the forum here) custom made my Dad a compact steel frame for our 12' Avon sportboat.

    A4... Rapids??? what rapids? OK a little splash, some eddy-lines, and bubble trails... But that is about all. Wind and waves with prevailing exposures along the Skilak crossing is the most risk or unpredictable issue you'll always face. A guy could take the walk out route with a 9' cat.

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default float

    I have heard that is totally runable in a 9' raft.

    Is the water any harder than what is at the corner below the bridge above the russian confluence?

    I would float my zodiac through while my wife and another gal ride out the cats. Then when we hit the lake we would camp a day or two and then take the zodiac out. I think it would make a good float - but I don't want to get in over our "heads".

    We floated the Kasilof early when there were lots of rocks from Tuste down to below the bridge - and we have floated the kenai several times on the upper - not a whole lot of experience - but the 'nai and the 'lof were very easy floats....tho lots of paddling early on the Kasilof.

    I only have the rubber oar locks on the old zodi....a frame would make it so that you could actually use the oars effectively, but alas I don't have a frame for it.

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    I feel you have a good strategy going.

    Keeping the sportboat on the lighter-load side, couple people in 9' cats, and motoring the Zodiac on the lake. Nice thing here is that it still gives the option of two (buddy system) hiking the established path out at the lake while you run the deflated, disassembled cats out with the sportboat. All in all, your equipment said here will perform better.

    What size is your Zodiac? If you'd like to try... I have frames for 12' 14' 16' and 18'. On a 14' & 16' GR II or GR III --- these frames are very close to same.

    I can also show you some really helpful measures to add buoyancy as well as protection for the transom part of the sportboat when rowing rivers --- then the easy quick-switch to using the outboard engine.

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    Default Remember

    A person comfort level comes into to play.

    One man's Class II sometimes equates to Someone elses Class III and puts them out of their comfort zone.

    We ran it in low water last year and there were some section with 3ft belly washers coming off of rock walls. Sure fun but if that is not your comfort level!!!

    :-)

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default 15'-5"

    It is a 15 foot GR Mark III.

    I am interested in hearing more about saving the transom and adding rear bouyancy since I am spending over $1K to put a new transom on it right now.....

    I run an old 40 horse zuki on it....It could be put in the front of the boat and secured to the floor for the float - I can pick it up and carry it - but it is not light.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    It is a 15 foot GR Mark III.

    I am interested in hearing more about saving the transom and adding rear bouyancy since I am spending over $1K to put a new transom on it right now.....

    I run an old 40 horse zuki on it....It could be put in the front of the boat and secured to the floor for the float - I can pick it up and carry it - but it is not light.
    Well - that is spendy... might have gotten the wooden refurbish transom done (even my more rigid, rot-proof fiberglass replacements) plus a nice armor coated floor... turnaround time a week or two on most. I put a couple pics of one tough candidate project that unfortunately had Gaco boat paint and shredded wheat for a transom.

    When not running your motor or having it sitting on water for that matter... make sure your bailing baskets/cups and flappers (or stoppers) on the transom are functional. On the river keep 'em closed. Also be sure to have something that tethers your motor to the transom on the transom. Not a bad idea to have a 2" D-ring installed somewhere else on the inside of the boat if you ever have to move the engine (read as securely swap motor from transom to floor) while in water.

    On this trip tho' you'll be able to pull out on the beach and hang the outboard on the transom.

    Good thinking on the floor placement of the motor for the float... this is the way it was often done even back in the 1970s on many rivers up here when AVON & Zodiak were the inflatable boats on the water.

    Couple pics showing a finished Zodiac GR III transom refurb and coating done for a forum member on here.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default pm

    I will send you a PM.

  11. #11

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    bluemoose,
    i have all sorts of respect for you and your knowledge. that being said, "one person's class II could be another person's class III" is not a true statement and it confuses the subject of classifying rivers. a river is a certain class rating whether it's you, me or someone else running it. the paddler's experience level has nothing to do with a river classification. one person may be more "scared" or "puckered" than the next, but it doesn't change the technicality of the river. sorry if i'm reading too far into your statement, but it is dangerous for inexperienced folks to question the river/rapid classification system and try to tailor fit it to their skills. my .02. take care, abel6wt

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    Default No worries

    Yes and it is a very good point and you are correct concerning Classification of rivers. No worries at all and well put. Reading a little into my comments but it is nice to be reeled in once in a while.

    :-)

  13. #13

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    you are a true gent, bluemoose.
    have a great paddling season.
    take care, abel6wt

  14. #14

    Default Early Kenai camping

    Towards the end of April we are planning a upper Kenai float with the Kids and friends We do this every year, but want to camp this year, so we can run the river twice. Are there any campgrounds open, or does anyone have any ideas? There will be 6 to 10 of us or more and will probably take a couple of campers.
    We take hardshells, IK's, and rafts, join in if you want
    Thanks,
    MO

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    Default

    I have seen a bunch of people floating in single man cat's from sportsman's to jim's. They actually do really well. They travel a lot faster than someone in a drift boat, and considering the difficulty of fishing from one on a moving river they just go right to their favorite holes and shoot to the next. They can spin those things around really quick too if they need to.

    I actually considered buying a couple (for me and my wife) because they are cheaper than a drift boat and you can just throw them in the back of the truck. But My wife didn't feel comfortable rowing down river. Plus she would much rather have me rowing, this way she can hang out up front and soak in the sun!

  16. #16
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default hmm,

    Sporties to Jims isn't the middle river.....

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueMoose View Post
    couple commercial operations run Zodiac Style boats through there all summer note the word Style boats. IMO you would be nuts to run the thing in a 9ft single man cat but than again I am sure someone is just well for the lack of a better term stupid enough to do it and I am sure they would say if in fact they are stupid enough to run it say it is doable (not trying to offend anyone) just a lot of water for that type of craft with the frame that is used and tub size.

    I am sure if you Frank or Bob at Drifters they could fill you in a little better.

    Ran it last year in a 20ft Drift boat little work would have rather been back in a round boat or cat but hey what is life without a little fun.
    Stupid? us running it in 8' and 9' cats is not stupid. There is NOT ONE section of that river that you cant go around any rocks or big water. It is actually alot of fun to run the canyon on the one mans and we do it 8 or 10 times a year. I am guessing that your statement is based on not having run that section very many times, if ever at all.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by avidflyer View Post
    Stupid? us running it in 8' and 9' cats is not stupid. There is NOT ONE section of that river that you cant go around any rocks or big water. It is actually alot of fun to run the canyon on the one mans and we do it 8 or 10 times a year. I am guessing that your statement is based on not having run that section very many times, if ever at all.
    Agreed. And microcats are very stable anyway- especially the ones with the larger tube sizes. I have run many a river in a 10 foot Sotar in class IV and V water in Idaho during the days I was really into rafting. Crazy? Perhaps, but I don't think so. I'd call it fun. Sure, sometimes I went for a swim but that mostly due to the fact I was trying to surf a 10 foot wave....And there are none of those on the Kenai at any of the water level I have floated it. It is a relaxing float; more like boring......but definately worth doing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.R. Bauer View Post
    Agreed. And microcats are very stable anyway- especially the ones with the larger tube sizes. I have run many a river in a 10 foot Sotar in class IV and V water in Idaho during the days I was really into rafting. Crazy? Perhaps, but I don't think so. I'd call it fun. Sure, sometimes I went for a swim but that mostly due to the fact I was trying to surf a 10 foot wave....And there are none of those on the Kenai at any of the water level I have floated it. It is a relaxing float; more like boring......but definately worth doing.
    Agree 100%. I have had my kids running it in one man rafts since they were 10 and 13. After the first run it was a fight to see which kid was going in the one man and which one had to stay in the 16' Oval with me and the rest of the family. Had to break down and get a few more one man's so I could play with the kids and make some other poor sucker row the oval all day.

  20. #20
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    Default Campgrounds not all open yet...

    Quote Originally Posted by markoathout View Post
    Towards the end of April we are planning a upper Kenai float with the Kids and friends We do this every year, but want to camp this year, so we can run the river twice. Are there any campgrounds open, or does anyone have any ideas? There will be 6 to 10 of us or more and will probably take a couple of campers.
    We take hardshells, IK's, and rafts, join in if you want
    Thanks,
    MO
    Here's a list of opening dates for many parks:
    http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/asp/open.htm

    I have camped at Quartz Ck Campground before floating Upper, back behind the Sunrise Inn. Past years, opened late May, but not sure about this year.
    More info:
    U.S. Forest Service, Chugach National Forest Seward Dist. (907) 224-3374; www.fs.fed.us/r10/chugach/ Reservations: (877) 444-6777 or www.recreation.govNATIONAL

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