Heads up rafters...
Yesterday eve. - I responded to a distress call via SAT phone where an 18' Cat slipped away from a private group out on a multi-day Lake Creek Float trip. Party upstream with NO BOAT. They where fortunate enough to hike down river and locate the boat,,, but more importantly made the call as to not do anything in haste, possibly get in over their heads hurt, or swept away dead in the heavy current of these recent rains. The boat was hung mid river in deeper water with swift water.
Jake at Sportsman's flew a me in a Beaver into a mid-river location pond up on muskeg benches about 3-5K off Lake Creek. After getting the gear to the river even the last trip at a full jog took about 20 minutes. In the bad soup-like weather conditions a stellar job!!!!
Once everything boat-wise was inflated & put together -- I was headed down the rapids toward Yenlo Creek in a 14' Self Bailer... I had seen the runaway raft by air about a mile below the Yenlo confluence. Water was up - not a big deal now that this was trip 163 on Lake Creek for me... so making river time was on my side.
Pulling into Yenlo, I loaded the 4 people including what gear they had. In essence the scenario was a lapse in focus at the end of a fun day and a failure to tie off the boat securely.
The other incidence involved a commercial group (a just so happen to be on same river - same general location - same time frame)..... the ejection of oarsman and one customer plus the tent gear bag w/ one oar lost into the drink on a high side collision with a very big boulder at the top of the canyon section. Bottom line --- new guy on river and not everything secure including oars on the raft.
I also heard 3 separate reports of one rental company doing a less than perfect example on providing gear in good, properly functioning condition w/ packages insufficiently checked for problems and incomplete before going back into the field.
So bottom line here!!!!
Stay focused throughout your float trip.
Tie your boat off securely.
Strap your stuff in securely.
Know what gear you will have heading out into the field.
And KNOW WHO TO CALL if you get into trouble... It can be life or death... in this case a good call, and all woreked out smoothly --- all folks and things recovered.
Good work mate!!! Glad it was you and not me, answering that sat. call!!
Looks like "all the stars were in line"!! Which doesn't happen that often in the Alaska bush.
As Goo said, "all the stars were in line"....Brian, you were the star, their star!!!
Yeah, nice work Brian. Sounds like you got some cardio in schlepping your gear to the river.