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Thread: First Time Haul Road Hunt

  1. #1
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    Default First Time Haul Road Hunt

    Driving up the Haul road in mid September for about 10 days. A few q's....
    1. How necessary is a wall tent?
    2. How much does it rain that far north?
    3. What's the best footwear for what I hear is pretty wet tundra, just good hikers, hip boots, neoprene socks, or something of the sort?
    4. A packraft good for all the rivers up there? Some of the buddies won't have any water transportation, are they hosed?
    5. deep freezer w/ generator in the back of the truck a good idea?
    6. Skeeters still bad in mid september?
    Thanks for the help. any other info would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    1) Not at all
    2) Can and will do everything including snow sideways in gale force winds one september then be flat beautiful the next. Be prepaired!
    3) Any water proof boot with good suport should be fine, bring extra socks and hip boots in case. Hiking in hip boots sucks.
    4) Why cross the Sag, dont get the raft at all.
    5) Over kill if meat is handled well
    6) Not ussually but dont go anywhere on the slope without bug dope till there has been snow on the ground for a week or two. I have had to shovle snow from a late spring storm while swating skeeters here in palmer. Slope is about 16 hour drive from here.
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    Rick, why NOT cross the sag? it can really stink when the bulk of the animals are acrossed the river and you cant get to them....though it does make a great show lol.

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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Well I guess if you want to drag the thing along.
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Rick, a packraft only weighs 5-7 pounds and rolls up smaller than most sleeping bags. I will never hunt the Haul Road again without mine.

    1 - No wall tent needed. Make sure that your tent can handle wind and has a fly that comes all the way to the ground.
    2 - You will be more likely to be snowed on than rained on. Rain is possible, but snow is likely.
    3 - The best hiking boots you can find (properly broken in), lots of clean pairs of socks, and some camp shoes so you can get your feet out of your wet boots at the end of the day.
    4 - The packraft is a great option for crossing the Sag River. The real advantage is that you will have company near the road, but once you're across the river, you will have almost no competition at all. That being said, simply walking a mile away from the road will cut out 80% of the other hunters. Many folks just hunt the road corridor, so your friends without rafts should just hike a mile or so off the road. Do bring your raft, though, so you can check out the far side of the river.
    5 - It should be plenty cool enough to take care of meat without a freezer. It can't hurt, of course, but I wouldn't bother.
    6 - Bugs should be a thing of the past by then. As Rick notes, it is possible that there will be some, but you'll almost certainly see hard freezes at night, so that should knock down the bugs.

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    brian- you are always full of good info and very helpful. You moved up even a further notch being a fellow packrafter. Thanks again

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Thanks for the kind words, sir. For what it's worth, I lent my packraft to a friend who went up there two years ago. Here is how things turned out.


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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abaxter View Post
    Driving up the Haul road in mid September for about 10 days. A few q's....
    1. How necessary is a wall tent?
    2. How much does it rain that far north?
    3. What's the best footwear for what I hear is pretty wet tundra, just good hikers, hip boots, neoprene socks, or something of the sort?
    4. A packraft good for all the rivers up there? Some of the buddies won't have any water transportation, are they hosed?
    5. deep freezer w/ generator in the back of the truck a good idea?
    6. Skeeters still bad in mid september?
    Thanks for the help. any other info would be appreciated.
    The wall tent is definitely a nice thing. It's roomy enough to shake off wet gear without getting your sleeping area wet, and it's easy to dry out your stuff especially if you brought the stove and hauled in wood. If you bring one also bring a shovel and a rake...might as well have the gravel level. ALSO bring long, heavy duty stakes. I recommend the steel ones used for concrete forms. Bring a cheap area rug or scrap of carpet to stand on while your getting dressed.

    September is a very variable month that far north. It could be sunny and warm. It could dump a foot of snow and drop to below zero but typical weather is several days of overcast/drizzle followed by 2 or 3 days of sunny/partly cloudy. Daytime temps in the mid 40's - low 50's and overnight dropping below freezing. As already said be prepared.

    Bring hikers and hippers to cover the possibilities. Personally, I like my LaCross Alpha Burley's. I have to mind my foot placement but I'm slow already.

    Bring the packraft. A stable means of crossing the Sag opens opportunities. Also bring a small tent or bivy and gear for a spike camp. If you cross the Sag you may want to overnight.

    Bringing the freezer/generator? Your call. You run the risk of the road beating it up and ruining it, but, if it's hot? You're a genius.

    Bugs are mostly gone by then. If it's warm there will be a few but nothing like July. Bring bug dope anyway.

    Other stuff:
    For cooking in camp bring propane or charcoal. Wood is scarce.
    Bring Flu-Flu arrows. Ptarmigan are plentiful.
    Bring a decent med kit.
    Bring camp shoes and a change of clothes for the trip home. On this note, stop in Coldfoot and pay for a shower. Everybody's different, but I am far more comfortable and alert on a long drive when I'm clean. Eat while you're there, the food's pretty good.
    On the road itself...
    DO NOT stop just below the crest of a hill where there's no shoulder. It happens every fall and one of these days there's going to be a fatal semi-pickup collision.
    DO NOT pull over, take off after a bull and leave your doors open.
    Get a CB radio for your truck. Monitor Ch-19.
    Hunters may park and camp in the driveways to the pipeline access gates as long as they don't block them. Most are wide enough to let you pull completely over.

    You MAY NOT camp on the pipeline pad itself.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    How easy is it to cross the Sag in one of those things? I heard it can be a dangerous river. Also, what can you pick one up for?

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Whoa, never mind, just looked at some on line. Unbelievable what those things cost!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by mossyhorn View Post
    Whoa, never mind, just looked at some on line. Unbelievable what those things cost!
    Yep, not cheap by any stretch, but for their niche there really isn't anything that comes close. Granted a $130 Costco Seahawk II or the like will work just fine if you are looking to just get a couple guys with packs across the Sag. Certainly not ideal for floating down the sag, but they are a cost effective way to get across.

  12. #12
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Brian I am glad your enjoying your packraft. Thing is I have never seen animals on only one side of the river. Everytime I have been to the slope it was lots of caribou or none at all. Seems one more, rather expensive gadget that will come out of the pack rarely too me. I'll keep that space open for meat, a few more layers of clothing or save my back thanks. I often hike a bit from the road and almost never have company other than wolves.

    Mossyhorn the sag is like the slope in general, very unpredictable! When the weather is nice it is a great little clear water river. Put a couple of days worth of rain on it and it's a totally diferent story. It is always deep swift and COLD. I have seen it calm enough to let my 3 year old fish without concern. Also seen it raging so hard I wouldn't stick a toe in it!
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick P View Post
    Brian I am glad your enjoying your packraft. Thing is I have never seen animals on only one side of the river. Everytime I have been to the slope it was lots of caribou or none at all. Seems one more, rather expensive gadget that will come out of the pack rarely too me. I'll keep that space open for meat, a few more layers of clothing or save my back thanks. I often hike a bit from the road and almost never have company other than wolves.

    Mossyhorn the sag is like the slope in general, very unpredictable! When the weather is nice it is a great little clear water river. Put a couple of days worth of rain on it and it's a totally diferent story. It is always deep swift and COLD. I have seen it calm enough to let my 3 year old fish without concern. Also seen it raging so hard I wouldn't stick a toe in it!
    Rick I agree. If you were to buy a packraft solely for the purpose of hunting the haul rd then it would be a waste of money. But I use mine all summer for different backpacking trips so I would have it regardless and would be a nice option to have in the truck as a just in case thing, I think that is what Brian was saying. Not suggesting you buy one just for this instance.

  14. #14
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Alaska Lanche
    No argument that they would be great tools from me! I can definaetly think of say 100 diferent scenarios were they would be just the ticket. I just don't think the ups out weigh the downs of hualing it all the way to the slope then back to the river. Also no one will be "hosed" because they lack one in abaxters group. I may have a different opinon if I was 10 years younger and had never broken my back.


    How bad is the spelling on this?
    Last edited by Alaska_Lanche; 08-09-2010 at 11:48.
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    I see no spelling errors at all Rick

    As far as up outweighing the downs at hauling it up there. I am pretty sure my truck can handle the extra 7 pounds for raft and paddles to haul it up there to have the option. Like I said don't blame ya for not wanting to buy one cause they are proud of them no doubt with the price they cost. Good luck hunting this year.

  16. #16

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    how easy is the sag to cross....well after a bunch of those nice sunshiney days, the upper (or would it be lower) sag looks awful purdy. For someone who spends most of the summer in waders usually, looking at it had me thinking I could cross it one fall. Man I was close, those bulls were just on the other side, I had one braid to cross and I was most of the way acrossed it when I found a hole. I should have known better!

    I have seen it where animals were on one side only, or there was so **** many people running around the one animal on the side your on that getting acrossed would have been nice for piece of mind, let alone the small groups of animals that were acrossed the river AND (more importantly) in a stalkable position. I wont go up without something again. Just to get to animals that arent being run rampent by the road crew. I carry a Sevylor SVX200. She's treated me well including some long floats for sheep. Bought it for fishing, found out what it could do and how durable she is, wish I would have bought two! You dont need a pack raft or anything spendy to get acrossed it and the small amount of space in the bed of the truck it takes to carry is a far cry from what some people bring up there LOL

  17. #17
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick P View Post
    I just don't think the ups out weigh the downs of hualing it all the way to the slope then back to the river.
    Not trying to pick on you, Rick - just encouraging the guy to bring his, since it sounds like he already has one. I will say, though, that I don't understand the above statement. Hauling something the size of a tent up to the Slope in the back of a truck isn't difficult, and hauling it to the river? Maybe in some places it would be a burden, but where I camped last time up there we were no more than 200 yards from the river. Bad back or not, carrying 6 pounds 200 yards is doable.

    Ironically, I look at my packraft as a potential back saver on future hunts. Carrying an extra 6-8 pounds on the way in is a small price to pay for not having to carry any weight at all on the way home, especially if success means that my pack would have been over 100 lbs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TradBow View Post
    how easy is the sag to cross....well after a bunch of those nice sunshiney days, the upper (or would it be lower) sag looks awful purdy. For someone who spends most of the summer in waders usually, looking at it had me thinking I could cross it one fall. Man I was close, those bulls were just on the other side, I had one braid to cross and I was most of the way acrossed it when I found a hole. I should have known better!

    I have seen it where animals were on one side only, or there was so **** many people running around the one animal on the side your on that getting acrossed would have been nice for piece of mind, let alone the small groups of animals that were acrossed the river AND (more importantly) in a stalkable position. I wont go up without something again. Just to get to animals that arent being run rampent by the road crew. I carry a Sevylor SVX200. She's treated me well including some long floats for sheep. Bought it for fishing, found out what it could do and how durable she is, wish I would have bought two! You dont need a pack raft or anything spendy to get acrossed it and the small amount of space in the bed of the truck it takes to carry is a far cry from what some people bring up there LOL
    Tradbow, be weary of the easy looking Sag river crossing. I sold a dead man 7 gallons of gasoline last Sept 17th I believe on the haul rd. A couple hrs after he used my 7 gallons he drown crossing the Sag to get his bull from the day before. I think that was the 3rd drowning on the Sag last hunting season. Watch your butt and if you get that gutt feeling it's probably wrong.

  19. #19

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    Thanks billy, I'm quite aware after that 'attempt' how bad it can be, man that had to be the fall of 97 I think...hence the recommendation to float acrossed the sag lol. I did get wet, thankfully neoprene and a few inches of fat float quite nicely atleast for a little bit. Even with full waters. Now getting out with full waders really sucks. The days when breathables were still rubber or neoprene.

  20. #20
    Member Burke's Avatar
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    I know the Sag it is unpredictable and ever changing. Seasons, weather etc can all influence the limits of safety on any river. ...I was up there a couple years ago sitting on a hill and watched a guy shoot a bou that went across the river, pull off his boots and pants and walked across. He never even got his boxers wet. This was a sunny day in October.
    I certainly would have thought twice or three times about doing what he did. All turned out well for him...that time.

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