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Thread: Starting a canoe trip from Anchorage?

  1. #1
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    Default Starting a canoe trip from Anchorage?

    This is a newbie question so please forgive me if I am displaying ignorance.

    I am working on planning a Canoe trip to Fish Lakes Creek next summer and I have a question. Is it possible, or realistic, to leave Anchorage in a freighter canoe with a motor, cross the bay, and head up the river? On a map it looks like it can be done, but are the conditions in the bay too much for a canoe?

  2. #2

    Default I wouldn't

    I'm sure people do crazier things. But I would not do it for several reasons

    First, the winds and tides in the upper cook are very powerful. You can get into bad conditions fast, especially at the mouth of the rivers. The water is very silty, and channels in the silt hard to navigate. You would have to time everything right with the tides and the wind. Big tides can even send tidal bores up some of the rivers.

  3. #3
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Good way to get yourself killed for sure! That and put rescue workers at risk trying to recover your body!

  4. #4
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    Default Sure, you can do it.

    Having spent plenty of time in upper Cook Inlet in small boats, I think the Inlet portion would be quite easy. Yes, you would have to wait for a high tide with low wind, but you're only talking about about an hour or two in salt water. There are some tidal rips off the point, but as long as you do this near slack water at high tide, and/or stay away from the west side until after Eagle River you should be fine.

    I have no idea about getting into and up Fish Creek, but I do know that tides over 29' make finding river banks very difficult until some time after high water.

  5. #5

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    Wait, are you going across upper cook inlet, up the Susitna/Yentna to LAKE CREEK or are you going up the Knik arm to FISH CREEK? I've never heard of Fish Lake creek...where does the mouth come out?

  6. #6
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    Dixiedog I am talking about going up the Sustina/Yetna.The area I am headed to is right near Skwentna. I can see from the responses that it is not a good idea, as I am very inexperienced when it comes to boats. Thanks for all the input guys.

    So if I want to run a freightor canoe up the Sustina/Yetna to Skwentna and my general starting point is Anchorage, how would I want to plan it? Is there a better starting place? Once I get to my destination I will most likely spend the whole summer and then canoe back out.

    Again I am trying to plan this trip from afar and am probably showing considerable ignorance. Please feel free to point that out, in the interest of not putting the coast guard in danger as they troll for my body

  7. #7
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    timing will be the hard part for cook inlet the wind off Fire island can be tuff even for a 25 ft boat, think about butting in at Willow an come down the Sue to the river an then up long trip but lots of fun don.t know about Gas on your trip [ need lots of it]
    I am not sure where you can get resupplied, if the lodges will sell to you or have it ship in for you I just don't know ask on the power boat part this site, they run the river all the time some place should sell it to you, cost will be high

  8. #8
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    Angry

    Ahhh, the Yentna area is a different story. It's about 40 miles across the Inlet to the west side of the Big Su. Years ago the main channel was on the east side, and a bit closer, but today you might not have enough water depth for a prop on the east side. Depends on the water level at the time, I suppose. That and how much water is flowing through Dynamite Slough above Bell Island.

    I still think a large canoe like a Hudson Bay, or similar, would be fine if you carefully picked your weather and departure time. I don't think I'd do this in a 19' Grumman though. Like a lot of places, winds and waves pick up in the afternoon, and can change pretty fast. You are also going to have a hard time leaving at slack water to avoid the tidal rips off McKenzie point, and still have enough water to get into the river by the time you get there. If you leave in time to make the tide at the mouth of the river, the rips will likely be very disturbing unless you take a large detour to the south as you leave town. You might consider heading out on one tide and then waiting on the flats this side of the Little Su for the next.

    It's a little easier on the return trip. You just paddle as far out of the mouth as possible before you run out of water at low tide. (This will be several miles out into the Inlet.) And then catch the incoming tide back to Anchorage. You wont even need the outboard. The tide will take you right to town. I did this in a river raft once. But again, you will want to pick your weather, and preferably a morning tide. Choose a day that's cloudy but not stormy looking or sunny. Too much wind on sunny afternoons.

    All in all, I would look for an easier place to start and end, like Deshka Landing near Willow, or some other spot over there.

  9. #9

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    I agree with Jim. I would definitely start and leave the trip from the road system. I have taken a boat across and up into the Little Su. It was harry. A couple places of quicksand silt where I touched the bank with my foot and it wobbled 10 feet in either direction. You have to watch where you step, especially in the upper part of cook inlet, including the tidal parts of rivers like the Little and Big Su; and probably all the way up the Susitna with all the silt it carries.

    read this thread: http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...-Su?highlight=

    If the link doesn't work try looking for a post called "lower little su". Jim provides some good info there too.

  10. #10
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    BShaw

    Best bet if your journy starts in Anchorage is to haul the freighter to deshka landing. Motor/float to the Yenta and from there motor up to fish lake creek. Doing the run across the bay can be hazardus in any boat, you mentioned lack of experiance with small boats. Might be able to help you get your boat there if you wanted.

    Dixiedog
    Fish lake creek is about 9-12 river miles above the mouth of the Kahiltna on the Yenta.
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    The 3 fold way: Every step we take as we walk through life effects, our family, our comunity and ourselves. One should walk thoughtfuly.

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