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Placer River Spencer Whistlstop To Seward Hwy 7/21/19

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  • Placer River Spencer Whistlstop To Seward Hwy 7/21/19

    We couldn’t pass up a beautiful weather day in AK 7/21/19 so we booked tickets on AARR from Portage 2nd Stop to Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop.. The railroad website is a bit cumbersome but if you navigate to the “buy tickets” portion you’ll eventually find the $49 one way fare ($40 military).

    This was my fifth trip down this section (3 big raft, 2 pack raft) and I’ve learned a few things. Nothing beats the simplicity of packrafting this section. However, without all packrafters wearing dry suits, a swim in the Class II rapids leaving the lake is going to make for a cold, wet day. This trip was in my 15’ SB with a packrafting option. Our packrafter opted for the big raft for the ride through the class II and upper braids.

    A quality cart is key to transporting the big raft & gear the 1.25 miles to the lake. My last trip failed in this department due to trying to use a small, folding kayak cart. This trip I used my Cabela’s game cart and it made the journey to the lake a breeze. Once the raft was inflated I just folded it up, took the wheels off, and strapped it in the stern.

    For this trip I take a simple rowing frame (seat, foot bar, and 2 short side rails). Simple and light is key for moving gear from the RR to the lake. I add a thwart in the stern and bow to provide butt support for the passengers. I also take my 4 d-cell air pump to help with inflation and top-off with my regular raft pump. I’m never in a rush on this trip because the longer it takes the more separation you’ll have from the commercial raft company. Take your time and enjoy the quiet and let the tourists think they are in the wilds of AK. lol

    Spend some time floating around the icebergs and then head for the outlet. It will take about 3 hours to reach the hwy. We arrived a little after 2pm on the RR, were floating by 4pm, and took out at the second Placer River parking lot about 7pm. There is an option to take a braid on river right to float to the first Placer parking lot but you’ll need to use Google Earth and a GPS to find it. There is a cool 3’ “waterfall” you can run on that braid. Otherwise just stay in the main channel when the river braids and you’ll end up in the second lot.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    A couple more pics since this forum has been dead.
    Attached Files


    • #3
      Cool, trip report. My wife and I did the whistle stop last week, we were going to do the same float with packrafts, but instead stayed on the train and got off at the Grandview stop and spent the night there and hiked up to the Bartlett Glacier. We had the entire place to ourselves until the train returned the next day. The trail will one day go all the way to Spencer Glacier.

      Thanks for the report.
      "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"


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