Monday, May 10, 2010

Adventures this Weekend

Looking for vids at Blockbuster I got a text from I love this new millennium of wilderness travel. He was bemoaning the possibility of skis and packraft on the next leg. I told him to drop the skis which of course is what he wanted to hear. I did some great trips with skis and packrafts -- across the Harding Icefield and several trips in the Alaska Range as well as my first trip from Nabesna to McCarthy in 1986...but I know where he's coming from: the go-light attitude for its own sake, not just to make room for boats and skis and bikes like we went light in the 80s and 90s.

More interesting to me was yesterday's near-mini-epic on Six Mile at 9.75 feet (which looks like a completely different river than the standard packrafter level of sub-9.0 feet) when I swam not just First Canyon but Second and Third -- never done that before. Not all in one big swim of course, but three different swims each with a self rescue (Ok, not second canyon when I passed Luc the precious Witch but missed the eddy myself and swam the Nozel). I was paddling the new Witchcraft which is an awesome boat -- I'm just not skilled enough to paddle it yet. But I will be, promise. Good thing I got a new dry suit and bigger bouyancy PFD until I've improved enough to stay in the boat.

While Luc Mehl ran shuttle I ended up adopting an orphaned hard-sheller who'd never been down Six Mile before. By the end of the day he'd caught one of our boats and we'd found his and dragged it up to the road, after he swam the infamous Suck Hole and lost his paddle (as well as his boat -- run away kayaks look hard to catch) in a desperate swim to an eddy (and my waiting, extended paddle) just above a 2/3 river-wide log above Merry-Go-Round.

Anyway -- wow. Reminded me I need to carry food and fire starter on my person even for a roadside run like Six Mile.


  1. Then the Thigh Strap descended from the heavens and spoke:
    "Those who shun me shalt swim like the fish of the sea."

    Timmy J.

  2. Six-Mile in springtime has a way of teaching humility. It has made more than a few helmets fit a little looser.

  3. Oof, I ran into the lone kayaker when I was getting off the river. Sadly we didn't have time to make a second run with him and show him the way. I tried to give him as much information as possible about the run. He seem pretty determined to run 3rd solo for the first time. Glad to hear he is alright. But it sounds like a very humbling experience for a first run down Six Mile. She can seriously kick your ass in a second. Lots of people take Six Mile for granted because it gets run a lot, its road side, and is close to Anchorage, but I have had several of my scariest experiences on Six Mile. People run Six Mile a lot, and if you roll the dice enough times you're bound to get snake eyes.


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