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The Gulkana Report June 12, 2020

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  • #16
    Too much drama in this discussion. No matter your experience you should scout this rapid because you are still quite a ways from the takeout. If you are a bit unsure that day, portage all/some of your gear and boat (lining would be my last option). Deflating & re-inflating isn’t that big of deal. Otherwise, just run a light boat through. I was much happier running a full boat last time. We were back underway in an hour (including the scout). However, I say that as a boater comfortable in class III and easier IVs. I still remember being nervous at the top of my first rapid.

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    • #17
      I’ve done this float more than a few times. Always in a round boat 14-16 foot And moderately heavy.( No planes involved so we go deluxe!) Multiple parties each time. Never portaged anything. Zero problems. Ran it a week ago at the highest I’ve ever seen. No rocks showing before through or after the canyon. Easiest canyon run I’ve ever done. But the scariest due to the unknown. Due what your comfortable with. Always scout it First!
      nate



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      • #18
        Originally posted by cory100 View Post
        Lots of good advice here and I'll throw mine in. I just floated down four weeks ago. That was my 27th trip from pax to sd. Water was about as high as I had ever done on the upper river. My usual route in the canyon is stay left until you pass what I call seagull rock, about 1/2 way to the rock fence. Then river right thru the rock fence, tuck the oars, a few hard right backstroke, ferry towards center for hydraulic, hit hydraulic dead center and straight then ferry river left. Usually run a 14 foot boat. This last time I was in a 10 foot boat. With the high water we decided to line. Line abreast and line astern. That was a bad idea, doable but more dangerous than running the canyon. After falling off rocks and into the river twice I decided to run far left. This is usually not doable but on high water you can. It was much safer than lining. I really agree with bushwick Jack that lining is not a great option. It is probably safer/more doable on lower water.
        Great advice! And I 100% agree with you on your suggested routes. Sounds like you've done it many times and you know what you are doing.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
          <br/><br/>Great advice! And I 100% agree with you on your suggested routes. Sounds like you've done it many times and you know what you are doing.<br/><br/>
          <br/><br/>With no disrespect or judgment of anybody elseís opinion, I will throw in my experience. I remember the first time I piloted my own raft down there. I had done the trip two or three times as a passenger of the buddy that was with me but this time we took my new raft and he was making me shoot the canyon. I was very nervous to say the least while scouting the night before. I found out quickly that it is not nearly as difficult as it looks. The main reason you can make it simpler is because after each chute that you need to hit, there is slow water if not and Eddie that allows you time to position yourself for the next chute you need to hit. What you guys are calling the picket fence we call three rock. I feel like it has gotten more difficult to go to the far right as I did for years in years because a new rock looks to have fallen in next to the wall. So the last few trips we have gone down the middle which I donít like but have managed fine. For the last little drop off you just need to make sure that you are lined up straight and give a nice push as you go over. My 18 foot cat eats it up. The only thing to look out for there is the little sleeper rock right before the drop off. Iíve done the trip probably 20 times now and our routine is to portage nothing, including my outboard motor which I do take it off the mount and strap it down. We strap everything down on the raft tight just in case. The dumbest thing Iíve ever seen while camped at the canyon was two people in a canoe sitting side-by-side in the bow. I didnít get to see them take the final drop off. One year I scouted the canyon and came out at the campsites down below on foot and there was a guy on an IV drip in a tent as I walked by. Turns out he got stuck in the hydraulic at the drop off for quite a long time and was lucky enough that some EMTs who I knew through a friend happened to be camped down there and saved him.<br/><br/><br/>Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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          • #20
            It's like comparing apples to oranges. An 18 Foot Cat has a lot more stability and can take rougher water than a 14 foot raft. It's not that difficult to get an 18 foot cat stuck, but it's almost impossible to flip. That being said, it's a lot harder to navigate an 18 foot cat also. Especially fully loaded.

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