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Thread: Floats to Alaska - 2017

  1. #41
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Eddie


    I don't really know yet. I have not made any plans for 2018. I am considering a wheel trip, I'd like to go into, and north of, the Brooks Range.
    But…… I do really like flying floats......so who knows……

    Bill
    Very Blessed.

  2. #42
    Speedo's Avatar
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    Bill,

    If you spend next summer on wheels you should consider the area bounded by Wales and Elim on the south and Point Hope to Ambler on the north.

    Nome lies in between Wales and Elim, and between Nome and Wales there are some astonishing landscapes. Perfect for off airport landings. You've seen some of Woodsen Saunders' photos of the area in the home page displays here on sc.org, and you'll notice that some of them look like moonscapes. The mountains north of Nome are pretty all by themselves, but when you get closer and see how the rock was folded, and in one case rolled into a cylinder, you get an appreciation for the strength of geologic forces.

    East of Nome, in the direction of Elim, the landscape is also great for off airport landings. You'll see the Iditarod Trail, too. There's still a useable runway at the Moses Point VOR, left over from when there was a military base there, and there are many native fish camps in the area.

    North of White Mountain there are warm springs and pretty mountains, and if you continue going north you'll reach the Kobuk River and Kobuk sand dunes. The is the region that Seth Kantner lives in, and if you haven't read his books, you need to. I know Nick Jans has written about the area, too, and mention him because he's a well regarded writer. The dunes are REALLY cool from the air: it's fascinating to look at the lines formed in the sand and speculate about the direction that the wind comes from.

    Kotzebue lies to the west, and is worth a visit if only to see where CloudDancer spent his sedate and sheltered aviation childhood. You can continue west past Kivilina (soon to be washed away by the normal effects of winter storms and ocean currents) to Point Hope. It's another Eskimo community built on a sandspit, but doesn't seem likely to be washed away any time soon. To get context about this area, the book "Fifty Years Below Zero" by Charles Brower is a must-read. [Really, Browers' book is a must-read for anybody interested in Alaska. Truly a fascinating guy and story.]

    There are loads of interesting places in the area, whether your interests are native peoples, commercial development (mining, whaling, etc), geology, botany, fishing, hiking, etc. It would be easy to spend a couple of months exploring the region. Fuel is available in Nome and Kotzebue. I'm not sure about finding a hangar in either place; it's possible, but might take some good luck and charm.
    Speedo
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  3. #43
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Rusk View Post
    Eddie


    I don't really know yet. I have not made any plans for 2018. I am considering a wheel trip, I'd like to go into, and north of, the Brooks Range.
    But…… I do really like flying floats......so who knows……

    Bill
    Mybe we can hook up somewhere. Floats or wheels.
    Eddie Foy
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God"
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  4. #44
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    Wow Gary that was scary for you. What do you suppose those fellows would have done had they found you? Were you able to get the name of the boat?
    They went to the trouble to shoot into the camp so I assumed they would have done us given the chance. Could have just wanted to us to scatter so they could make a few seine sets and leave. The incoming boat saved the day. We nearly lost our jobs for being detected. We were 20 yr old college kids left alone for two weeks at a time for two summers out of Sitka with no reliable coms (AM HF battery radios) and a kayak for escape. Did that '65-66 then moved on to fish biology and flying.

    Boat was the tshawytscha or last scientific name for King Salmon. Black and white old seiner out of Washington State. Took pics and documented but nothing came of it as far as I know as the supervisor would have probably had to answer to someone.

    We walked daily and fished Kook Lake for food like Bill. They gave us freeze dried rations to eat and a tub of peanut butter and jam with pilot bread. We would loose 30-40# a summer staying fit and warm unless we caught fish, but were forbidden to take fish poles and personal firearms. I snuck an early model Eagle Claw partition pole and reel into my gear plus some lures after the first few trips. Water was rain or creek sourced and camp was a Coleman pop-up tent with no rain fly...hence the black visqueen for a making a shelter. Coleman stove and a pot to boil water in.

    Bill's trip report has made my eyes drain a bit I must admit.

    Gary
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  5. #45
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Bill,
    I've spent some time in the areas that speedo mentioned all the way to the ocean above Barrow. Having amphibs leaves you with a lot of options. Not so much in the rough tundra, but definitely a choice between dirt strips and water. If you were to go on big tires the water option would be off the table. Just food for thought.
    N1PA
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  6. #46
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Foy View Post
    Mybe we can hook up somewhere. Floats or wheels.
    You folks should consider doing either or both via wheels or floats. Lots of lakes in the Brooks Range to explore and also via the Kobuk, Noatak, and Colville River bars. Been through that country on floats and wheel skis doing lake and fish surveys. You'd not be disappointed and the summer weather is unlike Southeast mid-June to later August.

    Edit: My area block bucket list if I had the right plane and a summer to explore central Alaska again.

    King Salmon to McGrath area. Wood River/Tikchik Lakes complex. Lakes Iliamna, Clark, and Holitna River
    Kobuk and Noatak Rivers and adjoining lakes in the western central/southern Brooks Range.
    Eastern Brooks Range Lakes and rivers.
    North Slope of the Brooks Range lakes and Colville River. Also lakes between the Colville and Beaufort Sea on Alaska's North Slope.
    Fuel can be located at various spots and staging planned.

    Gary
    Last edited by BC12D-4-85; 08-19-2017 at 02:55 PM.
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  7. #47
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Lots of great input, great post Eric, and others. I appreciate it. Lots to think about.


    Bill
    Very Blessed.
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  8. #48
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Touring most of Alaska away from managed facilities involves tent camping and securing a safe place to park the plane. Not a big deal but it's primitive in comparison to shelters and manicured tie down facilities. That adds to the challenge and can be lots of fun, especially when weather tests the strength of whatever secures the camp. But once the kit is worked out it's rewarding.

    Edit: Forgot to include this link to an excellent source of airplane camping info: https://backcountrypilot.org

    Gary
    Last edited by BC12D-4-85; 08-20-2017 at 02:15 PM.
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  9. #49
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Folks

    I am back for PART 5 (and the last) of my summer in Alaska.

    It has been a great run so far. I arrived in Juneau the morning of the 29th to nice weather. I flew over to Haines
    and met up with our SC.org member aktango58 (George) and spent a couple of days with him. What a treat. He and Lynn are great folks, and Lynn is an excellent cook among her many talents.


    We spent a day visiting abandoned gold mining operations. George and a friend are looking for equipment they can get cheap, fix up, and then use in the construction of his strip. It was a really interesting day for me. Never done anything like that. Did some pretty serious 4 wheel drive stuff to get there. This was just an average day for George but was quite the adventure for a city slicker like me.




    One of the mines was on the Porcupine river which was really moving. You could hear the boulders bouncing down the river. You could not see them, but you could hear the thumps, like muffled gunfire, as they bounced their way down the rocky bottom. Pretty cool.



    I have to admit I was pretty disappointed in the miners. I guess when the money runs out they just walk off and abandon all the equipment, trash and everything else. In other words they just TRASH the place and leave. No cleanup at all. Go to the next place where they are "gonna strike it rich", then run out of investors money, and leave another trashed out place.



    More abandoned equipment.







    Sigh...................






    George has an awesome house with an incredible view. It is way cool. Love it!!
    This is George in the early morning, posting on SC.org. I was there when he set up the fish for the WAD. How cool is that. I hope I can make it as I know it its going to be good.


    George has to go back to work, so I will be moving on to explore some other cabins, fish, and sightsee.
    My good friend Buck is coming up in a few days, to fly with me and explore. I am really looking forward to that. Buck helped a lot with the build of the Cub and he is certainly one of the best pilots I have ever flown with. A really good (ex fighter pilot and all that) stick indeed. So......stand by for more updates...... as time and weather allows.

    Thanks for following

    Bill
    Last edited by Bill Rusk; 08-31-2017 at 04:06 PM.
    Very Blessed.

  10. #50
    Cubus Maximus's Avatar
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    That looks like an old G Wagon, might be worth getting it running again and drive it out of there. (I say offhandedly..


  11. #51
    mvivion's Avatar
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    ThRead drift, my bad
    Last edited by mvivion; 08-31-2017 at 10:23 PM.
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  12. #52
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    While I certainly don't agree with miners leaving their crap all over, I do find irony in it. If that was a horse drawn wagon instead of an SUV of some sort, it would be probably get landmark status and be a tourist destination. My apologies, no thread drift intended Bill, just an observation.

    Keep the updates coming! I have been here my entire life, born and raised. I haven't had a chance to see that beautiful country myself. Tone of jealousy?
    "Always looking up"
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  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cubus Maximus View Post
    That looks like an old G Wagon, might be worth getting it running again and drive it out of there. (I say offhandedly..

    Rover. I remember when it came to town, and who brought it.

    Bill is being kind in many aspects, the claims the pictures came from are above the Big Nugget of "Alaska Gold Rush" fame. Lots of history
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  14. #54
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skukum12 View Post
    While I certainly don't agree with miners leaving their crap all over, I do find irony in it. If that was a horse drawn wagon instead of an SUV of some sort, it would be probably get landmark status and be a tourist destination. My apologies, no thread drift intended Bill, just an observation.

    Keep the updates coming! I have been here my entire life, born and raised. I haven't had a chance to see that beautiful country myself. Tone of jealousy?
    my summer fun is wandering the mountains and stumbling on old miner junk, equipment, timbers and stuff... THEY ARE THE REASON that we even HAVE most of the (modern ~100+ years old) old roads/trails up here!!! I rarely take the beaten trail, and look for bushes that seem to grow by disturbed tundra....

    they didn't FLY here, they came up from lower 48 on sailing ships, many walked in with everything to survive, and had to leave a few months later..... tough people... me, I just go camp up their trails they left...

  15. #55
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Folks

    Thanks for the comments. Fun to read.

    When I left Georges place the wx was not so good so the best weather seemed to be in Skagway (which was also the nearest place - That worked out well).



    I bummed around Skagway for a day and got to see something I had seen before but for those in the lower 48 it is a pretty unusual sight. Salmon making there way up a ditch. Not a stream, not a river, not even a creek. Video..........






    Then off to a cabin where I got to see some otters working on a salmon. EVERYTHING is feeding on the salmon now. Bears can be seen at just about every stream that goes to salt water, eagles are there feeding too, as are gulls, other fish, etc.
    You can see more of these otters in this video.....






    Then over to a new cabin. This is the Red Bay Lake cabin on Prince of Wales Island



    Ooops....ran aground a little before I hoped. No big deal just had to wade to shore. This was at the Sarcar cabin during a "cabin Tour"



    This cabin has a nice covered porch which would be handy when it rains. You would not feel so trapped in the cabin.



    I had a sorta good weather day so I did a cabin tour. I went to Baranof Island and visited the Avoss, Davidof, and Plotnikof cabins. Then back to P.O.W. (Prince of Wales) Island to go to Josephine Lake Cabin. This is Josephine lake. It is at 1900 feet and often weathered in. Mike Woodson has a lot of Alaska experience, mishap free I might add, and he tells the story of dropping a guy off here and it took 7 days before he was able to get back in to pick him up. Mike has often spoken about the winds. I listened but did not understand. I do now.


    And speaking of weather.....all the locals here are saying this has been the worst summer in a long time. Broken all sorts of rainfall records. September has been pretty rough so far. In addition to low clouds and rain we have added a new element that I did not see in May, June, or July of last year or this year. WIND. It has been windy as the fall fronts start to blow in. When you get into the mountains (everywhere here) the turbulence is wild. Worst I have seen in 40 years of flying. Now admittedly I have not flown a lot in Alaska, but it has watered my eyes. When I did my cabin tour to Baranof, all three of the cabins were visited in extreme turbulence. It definitely adds a level of challenge and stress. Not fun. I asked George Campbell about it and he said "Thats why I canceled all flying yesterday" Having flown "yesterday" now I understand. It is not fun when you hope the wing does not fall off. Five days in a row of high wind and turbulence. Last night was so bad I wore ear plugs in the cabin to sleep. My good friend, Buck arrives Monday and I sure hope we get some "no wind" weather. I no longer care about clouds and rain. The wind also works the floats while the plane is beached and getting battered by the wind and resulting waves. And on that note - most of the cabins on P.O.W. have very rocky beaches that would be especially bad during high winds. Going in to Jims lake a couple of days ago, during the turn my airspeed went from 94 to 54 in an instant. Talk about the "downwind turn"....LOL



    On the rocks at Josephine Lake Cabin. No good parking here. This cabin is no longer being maintained by the Forest Service Dept. It is in pretty rough shape. It is a stunningly beautiful place but I guess the utilization is not enough to keep it up.



    I think this was taken at the Young Lake Cabin.




    Cabin tour video


    Thanks for following. I hope you enjoy.

    Bill
    Last edited by Bill Rusk; 09-09-2017 at 03:43 PM.
    Very Blessed.

  16. #56

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    Enjoyed all of this Bill, thanks very much for the work of editing and posting. Pete Schoeninger
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  17. #57
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Bill throw a couple rubber " welcome " door mats in you lockers for your heels to sit on while beached on the rocks. Small tires work great also.

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

  18. #58
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Forks


    The airplane is now safely back in the hanger at Spokane. The end of an absolutely epic summer. I will try to do a big, and probably final, update in the next day or two. Thanks for following the adventure, it was an incredible summer.

    Bill
    Very Blessed.

  19. #59
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Folks

    Buck and I were Blessed with good weather overall and had a great time. The important part of this trip report is the video. The raw material is pretty much all Bucks craftsmanship. I did the editing (I have no doubt Buck could do better) but he provided me with some wonderful material to work with. I can tell you it is extremely difficult to just pick a few photos for this update when he took so many that were great. Also I tried not to duplicate the ones in the video.


    The view from the Turner Lake Cabin



    Looking out the door of the Big Shaheen Cabin on Admirality Island



    From the Swan Lake Cabin, early morning mist




    Nothing like hiking right down the middle of a river......incredible scenery and crystal clear water.



    Photo by Buck.



    More photography by Buck.



    Buck flying up the Le Conte Glacier



    Buck has been, and is, a great friend. He has a wide knowledge base and seems to do everything well. He is my "go to" guy. If I need help, or have a question Buck has the answer and is always ready to help. I am so glad he got to come to Alaska and spend a little time flying the Cub. He flew every leg and I just rested, confident in his skill and flying ability. He is a GREAT pilot. One of the best I have known or flown with.




    My cub (My Magic Carpet) safely back home in Spokane. The conclusion to an awesome summer. I put a little over 150 hours in on this trip and spent 80 days in Alaska this summer. The trip home was a little challenging at times. I had to come south a little earlier than I wanted but that was dictated by the weather. The airplane flew great all summer and provided the platform to see scenery, and go places others will never have the opportunity to see or visit. Thank you Lord. All credit and glory is His.


    This is the last "Trip Report". No more tracking messages to wake you up, no more updates. I know Mona and Mark will be happy to breathe again. They tracked me constantly as my guardian angles. I have no doubt I added a little grey hair to both, but it was so reassuring for me to know I was being watched over. Thank you both so much.


    Folks, I hope you have enjoyed following the trip, been inspired, or just entertained.

    I believe this video is the best so far and all credit goes to Buck. Thanks Buddy, see you soon,......... El Torito for lunch?







    God Bless You All


    Bill







    Very Blessed.

  20. #60

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    Bill
    Thanks for sharing you adventures with us. It is always a great motivator to help get my sorry butt out of the chair and fly somewhere new.
    DENNY
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  21. #61
    tedwaltman1's Avatar
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    God bless you Bill. Thank so so much for taking the time and for sharing both your photography and video skills that so many of us might share in your wonderful experiences.
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  22. #62
    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    What a great conclusion to a terrific summer of flying in AK. Thanks for all the video and photos and the opportunity to share the experiences through your posts, Bill. Greatly appreciated.

    Randy
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  23. #63
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    I had some business in Spokane yesterday and met Bill and Mike at the Felts Field Cafe for breakfast. Then we went over to the hangar and talked flying for a couple of hours, looked at the Magic Carpet, outboard motors and other fun stuff. What a great summer.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Nicht der Ort fur mich.
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  24. #64
    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinner2 View Post
    I had some business in Spokane yesterday and met Bill and Mike at the Felts Field Cafe for breakfast. Then we went over to the hangar and talked flying for a couple of hours, looked at the Magic Carpet, outboard motors and other fun stuff. What a great summer.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Two awesome fellows. Doesn't get better than this...

    Randy
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  25. #65

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    Thank You Bill ! I was blessed to follow along.
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  26. #66

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    Hello friends.

    Can you tell me what is the biggest height for a PA-18 with floats?

    Regards

    A C Muller

  27. #67
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    AC

    Here are some numbers from the Wipline website

    Husky on 2100A Floats 11’3"
    Piper PA18 or PA12 on 2100A Floats 10’2"
    Champion Scout on 2100A Floats 11′
    Glastar on 2100A Floats 10’6"



    These are all amphib floats. Straight would depend on the height of the trailer or dolly system

    Hope this helps

    Bill
    Very Blessed.
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  28. #68

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    Not sure if you meant the runways in Watson Lake are dirt...they are paved.

  29. #69
    aktango58's Avatar
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    What a ride!

    Glad it all worked our. Sometimes you have to just stay put up here, others you have to choose your spot to weather the storm well- you seemed to have figured that out with great success.

    Thank you for including me/us in the adventures, reminds me why I fly, and why I keep watching this site.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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