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  • Originally posted by FamilyMan View Post
    Well it started out an undoable route. So now that Beav has done it, its unrepeatable only if he says it is. Nobody else gets a vote I don't think.

    you make a good point... but 150 miles up he Chandalar??... you kidding me?

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    • Originally posted by Troy Hamon View Post
      BeaV...thanks for coming back to chat. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the opportunity to read about your journey, both before and during, and now after.
      No problem. Sounds like I paddled fairly close to your town. That night I left the Bering Sea and entered the Kvichak River was the worst situation I got into the whole trip.

      Comment


      • BeaV

        Looking at Google maps, it seems to me you were faced with several challenges logistically. For example, it seems there are numerous options to get onto the Chandalar River combined with so many other river or streams dumping into the Yukon in that area... did you have moments on that trip, like "where the hell am I" (or did the GPS nail it down for you?).

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        • Originally posted by bobmikk View Post
          BeaV

          Looking at Google maps, it seems to me you were faced with several challenges logistically. For example, it seems there are numerous options to get onto the Chandalar River combined with so many other river or streams dumping into the Yukon in that area... did you have moments on that trip, like "where the hell am I" (or did the GPS nail it down for you?).
          I used Google Earth maps printed and laminated at home for my primary navigation the whole way. That route you described I had chosen to take before even leaving home. When I arrived in Fort Yukon, I spoke with a trapper who lives, during the trapping season, on that route. He didn't think I'd be able to find my way through there. Apparently, I wasn't the first to notice that route. They call it the "back slough and sh_t creek".

          With my laminated maps always at me feet in the boat, I was constantly looking for landmarks ahead and comparing to the map. By watching where I was at on my map I rarely questioned my location. If needed, I could turn on my GPS and check. I guess I did have a lot of "this doesn't look right" moments, though. But the GPS topo maps were not very useful on the rivers due to changing channels and islands over the years. The Google map data is all pretty recent. Navigating the Yukon Flats was the most trying area. I used the GPS more for checking my speed and time.

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          • I have been reading on this forum for nearly ten years. I had some great adventures living in nome and Kotz for two years, pulled a body from the previous fall out of the ocean after break up. Saved some lives too, working in the ED. Flying folks to Anchorage and praying for them afterwards. A few close calls with bears, etc.. Pulled fur out of caribou stew and ate various oddities native folks generously shared. Been on bumpy white knuckled bush flights where the pilot dropped f bombs. Weathered 60 mph winds in my tent. I have done float trips in various parts of Alaska, drank muscadine wine (from NC) while floating around chena hot springs with my now wife. Spent time in two remote areas of SE chasing steelhead and finally got my first, a 36 incher. I have been kicked out of the bush company, and deserved it. My German shepherd is named Kenai. Alaska has been very good to me. And all that to say this, I still feel like a tourist after spending the last two hours reading this thread. If ever, any one thread embodies what an Alaskan adventure means, this was it. My hats off to you man.


            Dan



            Quote from Bob in late August sums things up nicely....


            " It's like a game of chess. The wind is the bishop cuz it always comes at me diagonally, the waves are the knights cuz they show up out of nowhere, the tide is the castle cuz they move up and down, and the tidal flats are the queen cuz she can get you from any direction and is the hardest to avoid. I'm just a pawn-once I move, my only choice is to take one step forward."
            The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by BeaV View Post
              ,..... 12 hours til the next high tide or maybe a river channel and hoping things didn't get too nasty out there. It didn't help either that once I got out 1/2 mile the shoreline usually wasn't visible giving a sense that I was out in the middle of nowhere. Not having a deck compass, I had to use clouds near the horizon to navigate and try to paddle parallel to the shore I couldn't see.

              I only got beached on the mud twice for periods of 4 and 5 hours, I recall. When that happened, all I could do was crawl into the boat and zip up the spray skirt to try to keep the incessant wind and rain at bay. As you probably could see on my tracker, there were too many days where I was still stuck out there paddling after dark. OH MAN I hated those nights paddling blind- not a star in the sky. Just black everywhere and then I'd hit a mud flat. Which way to go to find deeper water? I wanted so desperate to find shore but usually had to go out further to find enough water to paddle through. Eventually, when I made shore, I wanted to kiss it I was so relieved! Then the next morning came and I'd have to go back out again. Day after day of this kind of stuff wears on a guy.
              Hey Thanks a Ton for getting back to us on all these questions Beav,... really appreciate it

              as for this highlighted quote,...
              that is such a demonstration of toughness in the clutch, I can only imagine the Mental/Spiritual Endurance part of this entire trip,...
              had to highlight that again.

              "Well Done," is a serious understatement,...
              Am sure glad you connected with us here.
              Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

              Comment


              • This for sure has been the best adventure thread and probably best overall thread on this forum to date. Just maybe Bob should be voted member of the year. JMOFO
                Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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                • Agree with Will...awesome thread about an amazing trip by an incredible individual.
                  14 Days to Alaska
                  Also available on Kindle and Nook

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                  • Originally posted by Amigo Will View Post
                    This for sure has been the best adventure thread and probably best overall thread on this forum to date.

                    Gets my vote! Beats the hell out of the 79 "gun or pepper spray" threads we have all endured



                    Dan
                    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by pipercub View Post
                      I can't see a paddle across the Gulf Coast (the Lost Coast) in the Sept/Oct. storm season as being
                      anything fun. The cold and waiting out Fall storms......very exposed with huge surf to deal with...
                      Getting pounded through big surf twice a day didn't sound appealing to me either. Good chance of getting head pounded into the ground and getting knocked out with no one to drag me to shore. A paddling partner would be better through here especially in the fall.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Troy Hamon View Post
                        It has been blowing pretty hard out here today. It is enough from the south that I figured he might get lucky and be able to make some distance, but wave refraction on the lake is going to be sending 4 foot plus waves in his face. Which on a lake is a painful wave.
                        This is exactly what was going on- good call! The shore where I camped had almost no wind but 4 foot plus waves were pounding the shore. I had to move my tent up the beach twice as the storm surge increased the water depth on shore. I got pushed right up to a steep hillside so then I built a huge sand berm in front of my tent to keep the waves from getting me.
                        I probably could have launched that day but I knew there would be much bigger waves out there waiting for me.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by CG Boating Safety View Post
                          I had the distinct pleasure of hosting Bob Vollhaber for a few days here in Juneau while he was awaiting his ferry ride back to Bellingham; here is my ‘take-away’ from his remarkable journey “Paddle To, Through, and Around Alaska Adventure”.

                          We visited, repaired some of his gear and talked more about his incredible journey over some of the most inhospitable and unforgiving country in the world. After meeting and getting to know Bob Vollhaber, you realize that he is the toughest man you’ve ever met and if he’d been born 200 years earlier, you would be reading about the Vollhaber Expedition in the history books instead of Lewis and Clark.

                          Mike Folkerts
                          Boating Safety Specialist
                          Seventeenth Coast Guard District
                          United States Coast Guard
                          Hey Mike, I gotta say thank you again for hosting me in Juneau! One thing I don't think we discussed was the fact that I planned this trip with the mind set of being totally self sufficient. Thinking in this way made me prepare better and think things through and come up with answers for the "what if this happens" scenarios. I never wanted to have to count on help, even to the point that I purposefully didn't let the Coast Guard in on my plans. That didn't turn out to be the case as I later found out from you that you had heard of my Adventure and were following along - thanks for that too.

                          And since your posting is about "lessons learned" here's one that I did. I knew that for this trip, cold water was my biggest danger. So I prepared by having and wearing a dry suit and PFD, practicing paddling in big seas, and simulating capsizes and self rescue. What I neglected to do was practice capsizing with my spray skirt cinched up around be. For this I needed someone to be in the water in case I couldn't get out. I never made the time to do this and it almost got me cuz twice on the trip I struggled with getting out of the boat when upside down. Lesson learned- I'll be out on a lake this year upside down with the spray skirt on.

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                          • Beav, awesome story and adventure for sure! You say you will be out on the lake this year practicing being upside down in your canoe does this mean...another huge adventure???
                            Tomorrow isn't promised. "Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whiskey." E. Hemingway

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by BeaV View Post
                              Hey Mike, I gotta say thank you again for hosting me in Juneau! One thing I don't think we discussed was the fact that I planned this trip with the mind set of being totally self sufficient. Thinking in this way made me prepare better and think things through and come up with answers for the "what if this happens" scenarios. I never wanted to have to count on help, even to the point that I purposefully didn't let the Coast Guard in on my plans. That didn't turn out to be the case as I later found out from you that you had heard of my Adventure and were following along - thanks for that too.

                              And since your posting is about "lessons learned" here's one that I did. I knew that for this trip, cold water was my biggest danger. So I prepared by having and wearing a dry suit and PFD, practicing paddling in big seas, and simulating capsizes and self rescue. What I neglected to do was practice capsizing with my spray skirt cinched up around be. For this I needed someone to be in the water in case I couldn't get out. I never made the time to do this and it almost got me cuz twice on the trip I struggled with getting out of the boat when upside down. Lesson learned- I'll be out on a lake this year upside down with the spray skirt on.

                              Oh man... upside down with a cinched spray skirt, legs and ankles asleep and cold... great one to address.

                              You touch on really valuable advise. Practice and planning are invaluable. One program that has been implemented for commercial fisherman that I feel has done a lot of good is AMSEA training... we now have to assign tasks to each crewman.. and THINK about what to do in an emergency.. and in an emergency many people check out. The training really helps. Having a pre planned road map is not the entire solution, but really helps.

                              It's really similar to the model you are implementing for yourself... good stuff... simulating emergency situations does reduce risk.

                              "In the past several years, commercial fishing lost the dubious distinction of being the most dangerous industry in the nation. The loss of life has averaged about 11 lives a year for the last 5 years in Alaska, compared to a loss of about 38 lives per year before safety training was required. The greatest drop in fatalities in the nation has been in Alaska. However, commercial fishing is still a high risk occupation. "

                              Comment


                              • Thank you Bob!

                                Originally posted by BeaV View Post
                                Hey Mike, I gotta say thank you again for hosting me in Juneau! One thing I don't think we discussed was the fact that I planned this trip with the mind set of being totally self sufficient. Thinking in this way made me prepare better and think things through and come up with answers for the "what if this happens" scenarios. I never wanted to have to count on help, even to the point that I purposefully didn't let the Coast Guard in on my plans. That didn't turn out to be the case as I later found out from you that you had heard of my Adventure and were following along - thanks for that too.

                                And since your posting is about "lessons learned" here's one that I did. I knew that for this trip, cold water was my biggest danger. So I prepared by having and wearing a dry suit and PFD, practicing paddling in big seas, and simulating capsizes and self rescue. What I neglected to do was practice capsizing with my spray skirt cinched up around be. For this I needed someone to be in the water in case I couldn't get out. I never made the time to do this and it almost got me cuz twice on the trip I struggled with getting out of the boat when upside down. Lesson learned- I'll be out on a lake this year upside down with the spray skirt on.
                                Bob, it was our pleasure to have you stay with us in Juneau! You make a great point about being totally self-sufficient; even though our job is to rescue folks in trouble on the water, we would very much prefer that they come home safe on their own. Your awareness about the cold water being the biggest danger is spot on; too many of us take the water temperature for granted and don't prepare appropriately for the unintended fall overboard. In Alaska, that means you could very likely die quickly. Wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (life jacket, dry suit, etc.) is a huge advantage when it comes to surviving a capsizing/fall overboard. We continually preach "wear your lifejacket" because it will 'buy you time' to self-rescue or be rescued. Without the life jacket, life expectancy in cold water is measured literally in minutes. With the addition of your dry suit and other mental/physical preparation, you were ready for the unexpected. I heartily echo everyone's kudos, even old Sourdoughs have been impressed with your trip! Stay in touch. Mike

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