Packrafting Alaska's Lost Coast

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Philip.AK, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. Philip.AK

    Philip.AK Paddler

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    So, not true kayaking, but we did bring paddles for our packrafts, so you guys might find this appropriate/amusing. :D

    I just did an 8-day, 100-mile packrafting and hiking trip from Lituya Bay to Yakutat along Alaska's Lost Coast with some friends. Here's the video:

    Hiking and Packrafting from Lituya to Yakutat
     
  2. chodups

    chodups Paddler

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    Philip,

    Are you kidding me?!!!!!
    This is the best ever! Your stuff always gets my attention but this is the best yet! Excellent work. Wow! This is award-winning work!

    I can't wait to hear: "And the Oscar for Best Adventure Documentary goes to Philip Tscherich for ""Hiking and Packrafting from Lituya to Yakutat"".

    Seriously dude! Great job!
     
  3. alexsidles

    alexsidles Paddler

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    That's a spectacular trip, Philip. Alaska simply cannot be beat.

    I hope you crosspost this in the packrafting.org forum's trip reports. They'd go bananas over there.

    Alex
     
  4. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Full on wilderness, and on the edge the whole way. The bugs looked horrendous!

    Thanks for sharing this.
     
  5. Philip.AK

    Philip.AK Paddler

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    Thanks for the kind words. :big_thumb

    They were not an issue 90% of the time, even on the rivers. We were close enough to the coast that they blew away or just didn't have a rearing environment. One of the party (Brooks) is a bug-magnet however, and he went "full-burka" when a whitesock or mosquito made an appearance. That said, near glaciers and in the forest near Yakutat, the bugs were really bad... :yikes:

    I am almost embarassed to post it there. This was but a TINY portion of Hig and Erin's epic that included this same stretch of coast, but they did it in (around) October and in the middle of a journey that makes my head explode even thinking about it. Yeesh.

    :D
     
  6. Kayak Jim

    Kayak Jim Paddler

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    Geez I'd never even heard of packrafting before your post. Looks like an excellent adventure. Outstanding video too.
     
  7. Tatlow

    Tatlow Paddler

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    Curios about: the weight of your packs given the boats? How well do those crafts steer? Did you ever tip or drop a pack off the front end of one? How far off were the sow and three cubs? Dandy vignette, thanks for posting. :clap:
     
  8. Philip.AK

    Philip.AK Paddler

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    As a general rule of thumb, packrafting adds up to 10 pounds to your pack. The boats weigh about 5 pounds, a good carbon 4-piece paddle around 2 pounds, and then whatever other junk you bring like an inflatable 'snorkeling' PFD (usually 1 pound). We don't bother with dry suits and just wear our rain gear. The boats are extremely maneuverable. Maybe too much so for straight-line efficiency compared to a kayak. They want to spin in place rather than go forward, so they take a little getting used to. That said, I can cruise at over 3 mph in a packraft given flat water and no wind or tide. That's only about 1.5 mph slower than my sea kayak. However, any wind or chop slows things considerably in the raft, and a 15 knot breeze can pretty much shut you down. Forget trying to get anywhere against a 20 knot wind, and when you are running beam-sea, you need to adopt a pretty severe ferry-angle to keep from drifting far downwind so a lot of your effort goes into maintaining your position and less into making actual progress towards your destination. The backpacks are strapped securely to the bow. When you carry the inflated raft with the pack strapped down, you basically pick up the pack and the boat just sort of hangs off it like a bulbous appendage. With the pack on the bow you have enough room to still paddle normally. It opens up a whole world of trip possibilities. They only take about 2 minutes to inflate and maybe another minute or two to get strapped up and on the water. It is so easy swapping between hiking and paddling that there is no disincentive to using the raft.

    We spotted the sow and cubs about 0.5 km away. It seems like she saw us and came towards us, but we couldn't discern her intent. When she was about 200 m away, we moved on and she didn't follow us. This was odd sow with cubs-of-the-year behavior on my experience.

    I have other packrafting videos you may want to check out:
    Chiniak Bay Packraft
    Packrafting Virginia Cr at Flood Stage
    Packrafting Shuyak Island

    Cheers!
     
  9. Tex

    Tex Paddler

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    Holy. This makes the videos I've made and the adventures I've been on seem like trips to Disneyland! Awesome work on the video, and super cool your group did a trip like that!

    Thanks for sharing. :)