Moving to Juneau... Which Boat? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 09-06-2016   #1
Logan, Utah
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 13
Moving to Juneau... Which Boat?

Here is a question to any of the boaters who have experience with SE Alaska region. Employment takes me to Juneau and I have no idea what boating is like in the area. Moving is expensive and so I can't take the whole quiver and wondering if the boating is worth it to drag up all of the boating gear. I plan on being there 2-3 years at least... but I also hope to come dry out sometimes and back to the rivers of Idaho and Utah that I know well...

Browsing AmericanWhitewater I found a few miles of kayak runs close to town and I have heard really great things about the Tat-Alsek but permits seem improbable enough that it doesn't sound like I would likely draw a permit. But having run a few Alaska rivers (Nizina, Gulkana, Copper) I would love to get to explore some more of the wilds of the area.

So what are the boating opportunities in the area? What about BC?

Besides considering buying a sea kayak, what else should I consider (canoe?)?

And if I do bring boats what do I bring?
My 17 foot raft?
My 14 foot raft?
My wife's two person inflatable kayak?
(Multi-day stuff? Or paddle raft setups?)

My creek boat (remix 69)?
My surf boat (necky jive) ?
My multi-day (jackson all-water)?
My rock boat (jackson rocker)?

Or do I leave my boats in my parents basement and just plan to take my vacation to come and boat in Idaho?

Thanks for the help....

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Old 09-06-2016   #2
mattman's Avatar
Fraser, Colorado
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It seems like a good call to leave the 17' behind since flying your stuff in or out is likely. That leaves the 14'. Sounds like you love to Yak, B.C. has some epic looking Creek action, so maybe bring the creeker. Can't imagine being with out my multi day set up for a couple years.
Maybe bring the multi day Yak if ya got the space?
That's my less then educated advice, now I'll let someone fortunate enough to have boated AK respond.
" what the heck is that clunking sound in the washing machine? And where the hell is my phone?"
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Old 09-07-2016   #3
Durango South, 4CRS
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You might consider buying a pack raft. In my limited experience those are more common than hard shells for the logistical ease of getting them to a remote put in, either via plane or backpack. Plus they take up almost no space when moving up there.
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Old 09-07-2016   #4
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Delta, Colorado
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I haven't done anything in southeast Alaska but have done a lot in southwest Alaska. I think you need to define what kind of "wild" you want. The Gulkana from the lake down is a way different trip than the north branch of the west fork of Gulcana which I've done. Most rivers involve a small airplane so a canoe is not very practical. Oars can fit in the tail of the plane but the frame must break down and you need a raft that can roll up small. Hard sided coolers and dry boxes don't fit in small planes but small bags do. Remember fly in trips can be expensive so keep the weight down.
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Old 09-08-2016   #5
Logan, Utah
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2015
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-Thanks for the ideas. I think a packraft is a good idea, one I hadn't thought about yet. I looked up videos and people are taking those things down insane rivers... And another reason to buy more gear...

I have done some fly in and know about weight, but it is good to be reminded as I am used to carrying lots of luxury gear now that I have a 17 foot boat... My frame on the 14 footer breaks down as do the oars, but maybe I should think about getting a hypalon boat instead of a maravia (my 17 footer rolls much smaller than my 14 foot maravia).

And besides the tat/alsek are there many any other good multi-day raft trips in SE Alaska/BC? Or is everything else up on the mainland?
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Old 09-08-2016   #6
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Delta, Colorado
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Packrafts are good if your comfortable with backpack style gear in cold water. I think hypalon is the way to go. A 10' to 12' self bailing raft would work on most of the rivers i've done. The rest a mini-me or a packrarft would work.
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Old 09-08-2016   #7
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irvine, California
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You can run the Kennicott/Nizina/Chitna/Copper sections. Put in is at McCarthy, Alaska. No fly in or out, though there is a ferry of your vehicle involved. Salmon fishing is amazing on the clear side streams. We ate sockeye and silver on several nights.

I brought my 18' leopard and everything else (more than lower 48 trips). Bring extra food, we ate more than normal, even with the fresh salmon.

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Old 09-09-2016   #8
Logan, Utah
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Join Date: May 2015
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The Nizina/Copper is a great river trip. And I plan to visit it again after I head North. I have been fortunate enough to float the Nizina twice, although we flew into the headwaters of the Nizina (instead of launching in McCarthy) and ran the Chitina to the Copper. What a trip! Although carrying three 16' rafts from the land strip to Nizina Lake was grueling. And I have had ~10 trips down the Copper from Chitina to Cordova. I love paddling on Miles Lake through the icebergs...

I was just thinking there must be some rivers nearer to Juneau.... but I suppose being up in Juneau is much closer than Utah to Wrangell St. Elias NP and much easier to do the logistics of getting my boat to the put in.
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Old 10-07-2016   #9
Juneau, Alaska
Join Date: Oct 2016
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Hey bud. Glad to hear you're coming up. As far as I know I'm one of the few active hard shell(Get used to this term, packrafters will call you that up here) boaters in juneau. Rivers worth running: Davies eagle Herbert's Petersen montana mendenhall lemon salmon gold Carlson and fish. I wouldn't bring a raft. The only thing you can run with it is the mendenhall. Juneau had a little bit of everything if you're willing to sweat and deal with wood. Good place to have class iv skills, BAD place to learn basics. Skagway is close, and has the east fork of the skagway and the tutshi
A creek boat and a packraft is the perfect quiver. Hit me up once you're here and feel free to join the juneau whitewater Facebook group for more beta

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