Should have done gotten a raft many years ago. **** good time. Wife and I purchased a one man for our son when he was 12. Now he purchased a 16ft from AK raft. What a HOOOOT. Now we are having a good time. Looking for all the knowledge we can get from your guys and gals on floating. His first trip was from Millers reach to Burma. He took me on a short float from the ice cream shop to Millers Reach to make sure that the old man could hang. I was disapointed in how short the trip was but he made up for it by taking me down the kenai from the lake to Jims then the next day we went from Lower Skilak to Bings. It took me three day to pull all the Bugs from my teeth due to being all smiles. kids are cool. I told him now it my turn to be in the mans seat, he nearly pooped himself. While on the lower Skilak I told him to let me have a try with the paddles, poor kid was a nervous wreck. Don't know if it was because we kept going in a circle or what! i then told him that I wanted to try the Little Su from the icecream shop to Millers Reach. He told me I wasn't ready, my reply to him was if I can ride my Harley 85mph around a curve then I bet I could keep a raft out of the bushes....Well that Harley is much easier. I am now taking baby steps with the raft but he refuses to take the harley for a spin. I told him that since he allowed me to be the boss on his raft he could take the Harley any time he wanted....I still am waiting.....
Great to share time with the kids. I agree with your son. A harley is easy. Some things to think about. It takes time on the water to read and understand what the river will do. It can be very deceiving at first. You will think that the current will not push you to the side or that you will have time to correct. The river on the other hand might have a different mind set.
Know your equipment and yourself. What can your boat handle, if your are like most of us,the boat can handle more than you can. Baby steps is the right mind set.
Research your choice of rivers. Know what is suppose to lay in wait. I say suppose because a river can change in a matter of hours. Sweeper can drop where there were none, log jams can shift, appear or disappear. Unseen rain up stream can make a river rise by feet over a very short period.
Safety gear is a must. No matter how easy the float, no one ever boards my raft without a life vest, safety brief and a tour of all equipment to include throw bags, first aid, in water safety and an attitude check.
They say their or two types of rafters. Those who have flipped and those that will. Be prepared and take a safety class.
Other than that read all you can. Raft with others that have been down the stretch of river you want to run. Pay attention to what the river is doing at all times.
Have fun be safe and enjoy. The raft is a great way to get away. I have seen more of alaska in my 14 ft AK series than by car. Nothing beat it.
Hey thanks for tin information. I must agree that what I felt was so simple was one surprise after another. Safety gear is a must and we are constantly asking others what they take and why. As for the Harley, everytime I ride with someone else I gain their knowledge so that is what we will do. You mentioned Throw Bags as in more thatn one, what is your reason for having more than one on the boat, kinda like spare ammo? Would like to hear more about your trips provided you don't mind sharing. If you or anyone else on the forum have anything to share here is my email. Thanks
I have a 14 ft boat and have two throw bags. I keep one right by the rowers seat and another in the front next to my passenger seat. My reasoning is simple. If some one on the fornt of my raft goes in, I have quick easy access. As the rower I feel it is my responsibility to keep the boat right, everyone on board safe and be able to effect a rescue if needed. The second bag is there in case I cant get to mine(if somebody is in the water things are already bad I might have my hands full) or if I go in. Most of the time I am the only one on my boat with much experiance. If you loose your oarsman, you have lost your motor and steering. The bag in front gives easy access and in the event I am in the water, my passengers do not have to scramble for a bag.
As for rivers, I have done the upper and middle Kenai more times than I can count. The willow and little willow are my close to home fishing floats. I have floated the Matanuska from Chickaloon to kings river a number of times. The upper reaches on the Nenana once and I will be there again this weekend. I have also floated the Kink.
For begginers, I recomend the upper Nenana, the Knik, and the Little Willow. The Nenana by raindeer hills is an very nice float. 17 mies of river good put it and take outs and can be a nice long one day or a very nice overnight trip. The river is all class one with very few sweepers or braids. scenery is great and you back off the road system. The only real hazard is the jet boats but you can always hear them coming.
The Kink is an flat wide river with little to worry about. lots of gravel bars to BBQ on and again the scenery is good. the hazard in the kink is glacial silt. you cant see anything in the water and a deadfall tree with braken branches might deflate a chamber. Also i would not recomend this on a windy day. the wind blows up river and will stop you float. it makes for a long day on the oars. I would go early before the afternoon winds blow.
The Little Willow is a nice float. about 4 hours. Clear water, good to great fishing and i usually see moose beaver or otters. very rarely a bear. This river is narrow and requires that the rower pays attetion. there are a few sweepers but they are easy to avoid.
One piece of gear I always take is a good first aid kit. I have never had to use it but better safe than sorry. you neve know when a knife might slip or a fishing hook might sink into the wrong body part. It is important to remember in a raft, you can not just fire the engine up and run back. Hurt or not, you will have to finish the float.
Have fun, be safe and maybe we can meet on a river someday.