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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello MountainBuzz world, I just found you guys and just in time.

I am I the process of trying to plan a raft trip from eagle Alaska down to the Bearing sea on the Yukon river using a 16' self bailing NRS raft. Just picked it up used for $1,000 so I think I did go there. Besides a couple trips on some guided white water trips, I am completely new to the raft sceen. I have experience with sea kayaks, white water kayaks, canoes and I work as a river boat captain so I have plenty of river experience, just no raft experience.
Questions right off the top
1- any way to make an educated guess on how long it should take to raft 1400 miles? I'm guessing 2-3 months. is that event close?
2- Oar size for a 16' boat for a big river?
3- the boat currently has 4 thwarts. should I leave the ones closest to the bow and stern in place when I put the frame on her?
4-any one have experience flying a raft out of a place one a trip is complete? can it be done?
any thing else any one can think of in the way of advice is more than welcome. thanks
 

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The long and the short of this kind of trip is yes it can be done> Most bush pilots are flying Dehavilland Beavers or Otters. They can land with skids on the bay or on the riv. 2 to 3 months is about right. You'll want to have a breakdown raft frame. Start planing now for 2015. I have done a few trips in the NW territories and one close to 600 miles took 2 months Good Luck and Hippity Ho!
 

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I have a friend that just spent a month on the Yukon. PM me your email and I'll send it on. He took a drift boat.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Mountain Buzz mobile app
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys. I could deffently pull this trip off if we maintain 3-4 mph. I have about 3 months to make the trip so it should work. With any luck we will be putting in June 2015
 

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Might be a better way

90 days may not be enough in a raft - lower river is slower, more windy and difficult to navigate. However there are parts of the journey that would be suitable for a raft - canoe better but raft will work. Eagle to Dalton Highway Bridge approaches 600 miles.

The logistics of the trip you describe will be difficult/expensive no matter how you do it. We fly boats in and out regularly - it ain't cheap. You can drive to Eagle but then you've got to get your vehicle back - probably have to fly from take out to Anchorage and then charter/small plane back to Eagle to pick up your rig. Or you can fly in/out with Anchorage as your base - it will cost a bunch. If you have a friend that wants to see Alaska but not float - or float other rivers while you're on the Yukon they could drop you off and pick you up if you choose to shorten your trip to take out at Dalton Highway Bridge.

Consider a mount and small motor - it can get windy, real windy. Camp on bars - bugs will be bad. Bring bear/spray or hand cannon - lots of bears. Look into shipping supplies ahead to Tanana/Galena. If you're a skilled canoeist you might consider renting canoes - probably as cheap as getting your raft up and back.

If you do go as planned it will be an adventure. The links below may help. God Bless and good luck.

Yukon River - good general description of the river

http://www.amazon.com/Two-Red-Canoe-Journey-Yukon/dp/1558688625 - well written story of a trip similar to your proposal

Paddling the Yukon River - good source of information
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
AlaskaJim- Thank you for your well thought out answer. After reading it I started looking at alternate endings to the trip including The Dalton Hwy. According to google at the base of the bridge there is an "YUKON RIVER CAMP". do you know anything about the place, and if it might be a suitable place to leave a truck? Thanks
 

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The "Camp" is a restaurant, lodge, service station, etc. Located near the bridge.

Long drive from Bridge to Eagle neighborhood 500 miles. A good bit of that on real Alaskan roads. Assuming you'll have two rigs and each rig can carry your stuff it will not be too hard to drop off a vehicle at the bridge and then go to put in. I mean after all lots of folks do something similar for the Colorado. By going to bridge first you will save time/miles - too hard to explain but it will be obvious when you look at the Map - buy the Alaska Milepost.

I would check with the folks at the Camp (link below) - it's what I would do - there may be a better answer. I've not done the shuttle to the Bridge but have to Circle (you'll pass it along the way). The Camp is a reliable establishment and I'm sure if you contact them you won't have any problem leaving a vehicle - it might help if you mention you intend to get a room, fuel and a meal or two. Good luck.



Yukon River Camp
 

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the book "Reading the River" by John Hildebrand is pretty good - he takes a canoe down the Yukon. Not a guidebook per se, but might have some useful info nonetheless.

be sure to share a trip report when you get back
 

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One final note

The following link is to an outfit that rents canoes out of Eagle. They've done a ton of logistics and even if you're not interested in canoe rental they are likely a good source of info/ideas to help simplify and reduce cost. I've never used them but have friends that have and they appear to be a stand up organization. You'll have to hurry on this I'm sure they're season closes soon. I'm on the river beginning later today for about 10 days so good luck.

Canoeing The Mighty Yukon River | Eagle Canoe Rentals LLC |
 

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Hello MountainBuzz world, I just found you guys and just in time.

I am I the process of trying to plan a raft trip from eagle Alaska down to the Bearing sea on the Yukon river using a 16' self bailing NRS raft.
Please post a trip report when you finish up the expedition. Have always floated the idea of doing such a long trip and its still an option, especially if we chose to be childless.

Best of luck!

Phillip
 

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Tip: I always wanted to do the Noatak River top to bottom one day until I did a raft trip on one of it's tribs for a week and the pickup point was a few miles downstream on the Noatak to a specified gravel bar.

It was like rowing on a big slow brain dead lake. Pretty in it's way but I was pretty bored with it pretty quick too and it was crossed off the list.

Everyone is different but I learned a valuable lesson that day.

Anyway, something to think about because the Yukon is going to be very similar in character.

My other tip is to have a second extra big,bombproof tent for just cooking and to hang out in case of weather and for breaks from horrendous, merciless skeeters or white socks. I have done month long trips up in Ak and this was worth it's weight in gold for those long extended weather shitshows ,bugs,ect.

Anyway, just my two shiny pennies worth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
AlaskaJim- Thanks for the information. It has been a big help in trying to get this trip figured out. I was originally going to do this trip with a canoe, or sea kayak. Bringing the wife along has turned it into a raft trip.

Restrac2000- will most centrally put up a trip report. Probably wont be up until this time next year, but will deffently do one up.
 

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Tough

I lived in AK for 20-years and did some pretty big summer and winter trips. Logistics for a river trip in the 48 can be tough, and the environmental conditions can also be tough. But neither will compare to what you're considering. Not even close.

Bugs, wind, bugs, rain (40 days and 40 nights), logistics, bears, and there is also all the bugs. Don't get me wrong, it will be worth it for many people to endure the hardships. But many (most?) will leave and vow never to return.

That said, I would LOVE to run that river. It will be a life-changer. A couple comments:

--It will be extremely difficult, both mentally and physically. Are you sure you and your wife are up for it?

--It will be remote. Like, very few chances for extraction or aborting the trip. Which translates to a "death march" with no alternatives if things aren't going well.

--I would not consider doing it in a raft. The folks I know that have done stretches of the Yukon have used canoes, and did battle with the wind on a daily basis.

--I would not consider doing it without a screen tent. You'll still lose your sanity for the mosquitoes. But hopefully not completely.

--It will be expensive and difficult to do the logistics. Don't even consider doing it on the cheap. If you're going to worry about costs, then postpone another year and keep saving.

If you pull it off, you'll be changed people. Nothing compares to travelling days on end without seeing another person, or sign that a person has ever been where you are. It is big, remote and awesome country. The true definition of awesome.

Best of luck!
 

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This almost seems like an afterthought after what some other folks have said but to get back to your original questions:

You'll remove all the thwarts from the boat and use every bit of space for provisions. The frame will hold the boat in shape. You'll never use the thwarts again but they'll be good to have for patch material and spare valves.

You'll want 10' or 10.5' oars for a 16' boat.

Consider getting a motor mount and putting a 5 hp 4-stroke motor on it.

Consider starting with something a bit less committing and challenging for your first time out on a raft. Compared to what you're proposing you could take baby steps and start off with the Grand Canyon. :)

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

-AH
 

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denachuck,

Would you consider a raft with kicker?

A kicker would do it, but carrying enough fuel between re supply would be a big logistic. I haven't looked into it, but my gut says it would be a big challenge. And a breakdown would be a major setback.
 

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Tip: I always wanted to do the Noatak River top to bottom one day until I did a raft trip on one of it's tribs for a week and the pickup point was a few miles downstream on the Noatak to a specified gravel bar.

It was like rowing on a big slow brain dead lake. Pretty in it's way but I was pretty bored with it pretty quick too and it was crossed off the list.

Everyone is different but I learned a valuable lesson that day.

Anyway, something to think about because the Yukon is going to be very similar in character.

My other tip is to have a second extra big,bombproof tent for just cooking and to hang out in case of weather and for breaks from horrendous, merciless skeeters or white socks. I have done month long trips up in Ak and this was worth it's weight in gold for those long extended weather shitshows ,bugs,ect.

Anyway, just my two shiny pennies worth.
Noatak = Slow-a-tak.

Still, it has the advantage of being prettier than the Yukon.

To the OP--consider doing Eagle to the Dalton, and taking out there. Or putting in @ the Dalton and floating out to the coast. Eagle to the coast would be, imho, waaaaaaaaaay too much of a 'good thing'.

Safe travels either way.

MC
 
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