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  • Bering Sea West Alaska Coastline

    Hello all, I have been reading this forum for a year now looking for pointers for a big upcoming trip I'm doing this year, but this is my first post. As part of my 5000 mile canoe trip, I will be paddling from the mouth of the Yukon River south to the Kvichak River along the west coast. About the only information I have found for this area is from topographic and google earth maps. I can see that much of the terrain is low ground and the rivers are probably subject to tidal surges. My question is what to expect for finding drinkable water along the way? Are the rivers and ponds/lakes near the coast brackish?

    Thanks, BeaV

    ps If my question seems naive, it's because I'm from Minnesota and know little of oceans and tides.

  • #2
    You may be taking a very dangerous undertaking if you don't have experience in tidal waters....
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    Release Lake Trout

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    • #3
      Originally posted by BeaV View Post
      Hello all, I have been reading this forum for a year now looking for pointers for a big upcoming trip I'm doing this year, but this is my first post. As part of my 5000 mile canoe trip, I will be paddling from the mouth of the Yukon River south to the Kvichak River along the west coast. About the only information I have found for this area is from topographic and google earth maps. I can see that much of the terrain is low ground and the rivers are probably subject to tidal surges. My question is what to expect for finding drinkable water along the way? Are the rivers and ponds/lakes near the coast brackish?

      Thanks, BeaV

      ps If my question seems naive, it's because I'm from Minnesota and know little of oceans and tides.
      Drinking untreated water, regardless of the location, may give you the BeaVer Fever. I suggest bringing a water filter or boil it before drinking any water.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by BeaV View Post
        If my question seems naive, it's because I'm from Minnesota and know little of oceans and tides.
        If you know little of oceans & tides, then the west coast of Alaska is really not a good place to be learning, especially in a canoe.

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        • #5
          And 5000 mile canoe trip? Are you floating the Yukon? What's the rest? Lets hear some detail
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          • #6
            There will be streams and seeps rather commonly along that route, not all will be clear, many will be tannic but there shouldn't be much for brackish ponds. Definitely filter or treat or boil.

            I'm curious why a canoe compared to a sea kayak.....either way, a rather ambitious enterprise....I'd look into doing a South East AK paddle compared to where you are headed.....The western coastline I've seen (Newenham to the Kvichak.....largely looks the same, is exposed to open ocean, has plenty of oozy,mucky flats to get to a camping spot, not a lot of nooks and crannies to hide in if (read, when) the weather kicks up.....not the best of Alaska if you ask me, but it's your kicks not mine).

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Tearbear View Post
              Drinking untreated water, regardless of the location, may give you the BeaVer Fever. I suggest bringing a water filter or boil it before drinking any water.
              Good oneroud:

              Yes I will be boiling or filtering my water.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Hunt&FishAK View Post
                And 5000 mile canoe trip? Are you floating the Yukon? What's the rest? Lets hear some detail
                Someone posted a couple posts down that we need a post about canoeing- so now you have one!

                Route details: Starting in Washington State, up the inside passage, portage over the Chilkoot Pass, Yukon River to the Chandalar River, up the Chandalar to where the water is too shallow to continue, portage over the tundra to the South Koyukuk River, down the Koyukuk back to the Yukon, Yukon to the Bering Sea, Bering Sea to the Kvichak River, up the Kvichak to Illiamna Lake to the Williamsport Road to Cook Inlet, then to Anchorage.

                The canoe I am using is a Kruger Sea Wind. The Sea Wind is a partially decked solo canoe and has a cockpit cover for nasty conditions.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BeaV View Post
                  Someone posted a couple posts down that we need a post about canoeing- so now you have one!

                  Route details: Starting in Washington State, up the inside passage, portage over the Chilkoot Pass, Yukon River to the Chandalar River, up the Chandalar to where the water is too shallow to continue, portage over the tundra to the South Koyukuk River, down the Koyukuk back to the Yukon, Yukon to the Bering Sea, Bering Sea to the Kvichak River, up the Kvichak to Illiamna Lake to the Williamsport Road to Cook Inlet, then to Anchorage.

                  The canoe I am using is a Kruger Sea Wind. The Sea Wind is a partially decked solo canoe and has a cockpit cover for nasty conditions.
                  Sounds like a three or four year trip. You intend to do this solo?
                  ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
                  I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
                  The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It

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                  • #10
                    Sounds like fun except for the "up the Chandalar part" and the Yukon Delta /west coast stuff.... Good post...gets the gray matter working.... The Chandalar portage would kick your ass....not to mention getting up the Chandalar in the first place....it can run pretty fast depending on summer rains in the Brooks. I would look towards the interior of North America...why not get to the headwaters of the Mackenzie, run it to the mouth and paddle west to the coast of Alaska. Get out in Prudhoe Bay, catch a ride south....

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                    • #11
                      I'll fix you up with a meal and hot shower when you hit Wrangell.
                      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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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Catch It View Post
                        There will be streams and seeps rather commonly along that route, not all will be clear, many will be tannic but there shouldn't be much for brackish ponds. Definitely filter or treat or boil.

                        I'm curious why a canoe compared to a sea kayak.....either way, a rather ambitious enterprise....I'd look into doing a South East AK paddle compared to where you are headed.....The western coastline I've seen (Newenham to the Kvichak.....largely looks the same, is exposed to open ocean, has plenty of oozy,mucky flats to get to a camping spot, not a lot of nooks and crannies to hide in if (read, when) the weather kicks up.....not the best of Alaska if you ask me, but it's your kicks not mine).
                        Thankyou for answering my question on drinking water.

                        I am using a canoe instead of a sea kayak because: much more carrying capacity for gear and food for up to 2 months between resupply, can paddle in a canoe more hours and therefore can cover more distance, and I am a canoe'er not a kayaker by experience.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by iofthetaiga View Post
                          Sounds like a three or four year trip. You intend to do this solo?
                          Yes I will be doing this trip solo and will be doing the whole thing this year.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BeaV View Post
                            Yes I will be doing this trip solo and will be doing the whole thing this year.

                            Sounds like quite the adventure! Have a safe journey.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pipercub View Post
                              Sounds like fun except for the "up the Chandalar part" and the Yukon Delta /west coast stuff.... Good post...gets the gray matter working.... The Chandalar portage would kick your ass....not to mention getting up the Chandalar in the first place....it can run pretty fast depending on summer rains in the Brooks. I would look towards the interior of North America...why not get to the headwaters of the Mackenzie, run it to the mouth and paddle west to the coast of Alaska. Get out in Prudhoe Bay, catch a ride south....
                              Thanks for the suggestion but my route is set and I'm starting in under 3 months from now. No doubt it would be alot easier to just stay on the Yukon instead of going up the Chandalar and down the Koyukuk but I really want to get back to my cabin I built years ago on the South Fork of the Koyukuk. Others have also told me not to try to paddle the Chandalar but I'm more concerned with crossing overland to the Koyukuk River drainage. I agree with you that it won't be easy. I'm hoping I can paddle/line up the West Fork just west of East Buttons and then portage through Boatman Pass then go west or northwest. My topo map shows a winter trail through here but that may no longer exist or just be too brushy to be of any help. We'll see and hopefully it doesn't kick my ass....completely.

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