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Floats to Alaska - 2017

Bill,

Great trip reports and fantastic videos. I am going to tell the Wipline crew that you're flying around on a set of their floats whilst wearing an EDO hat, however.

Thanks for the eye candy.

MTV
 
Great report and pics. Makes me want to return to the 1960's in Sitka and go tent camping near a salmon stream in bear country.

Gary
 
Passing through Petersburg. Yeah, I have a Wip hat but that old Edo hat is just comfortable (and it's up here) and the Wip hat is at home. Perhaps I'll remember it next time. I gave a couple of folks at Wip the link to this thread. Never heard anything. Guess they are not interested. Thanks for following Mike, Gary, cubpilot2, Steve, Pete, etal.
Yeah.....very attractive lady.

Bill
 
Bill, please wear the Wip hat more, it contains magical powers 8)

Petersburg has the finest glaciers in the general vicinity. Was just there on 2100As.

"Speedo" said "Hi" to me on CTAF from a Navajo in PAGS. He recognized my yellow bird from this forum.

JUNE-2017 Le Conte Glacier
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Folks

The hat has been switched out and I will wear the Wip hat on the next part of the trip. Not sure what happened to my SC.org hat. Oh well.....

After I got Terri safely on a plane back home I had a few days solo to mess around. Unfortunately the wx went to poo poo. Actually I am SUPER happy for the great weather we had for my family and Terri. I can handle the bad wx (I've seen the good) but when folks come to visit its nice for them to see the good wx Vs the bad stuff.


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I stayed at the Kook cabin over on Baranof Island for a night. Neat location but.......


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This is the wx landing at Kook Lake. I had to sail in to the beach which turned out to be interesting.....I was backing in just fine until about 10" from shore the wind started swirling around and I ended up beaching sideways. Thank heavens there were no trees around. It worked but I got surprised and it was not pretty.


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The next day (actually the next couple of days) the weather looked like this. I tried to get in to the Red Bay Cabin but it was just too low. Did a 180 and ended up staying in Petersburg for the night. Next day I made it in to the Alexander Lake cabin.


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Alex Lake Cabin is quite nice. I stayed there, partly because the wx was so bad I did not even try to get out.


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While I was there this very nice lady and her daughter came through. They were paddling across Admirality Island and the portage trail runs right next to the Alex lake cabin. A couple of pretty darn adventuresome ladies!! I was impressed.


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The view from the Alex Lake Cabin.

This concludes Part 4 of my summer in Alaska. I am home to work for a couple of weeks, then Lord willing, I will return to the SE and continue adventuring until around the 20th of Sept., then it will be time to fly home to Spokane for the winter. It has been an awesome summer. Stand by for Part 5.

Thanks for following.....

Bill
 
Just for clarification: Kook Lake is on Chichigof Island, and that is good weather for there!

How was the fishing? The outfall is a great spot to fish.
 
The saga of Kook Lake/Basket Bay in 1966.

Me and my summer's work partner Bruce Arndt were stream guarding for AK Fish and Game that summer in Basket Bay to the SE into which Kook Lake's outlet feeds water for spawning Red Salmon. On a sunny sunday prior to a commercial season opener a seine boat came into the bay. The pre-spawning Reds were jumping in the salt water and the temptation to set inside the closed area near the creek mouth was great. Easy big $.

They looked around and apparently spotted our supposedly hidden camp covered with black visqueen plastic up in the woods (sun does that to plastic when the angle is right). They fired about 25 rounds into the camp to run us off...which we did. Three of the boat's four crew came ashore in their seiner skiff with rifles and walked up towards the camp looking to do us. We took our Springfield O3-A3 and went further uphill to prepare for war. But fortunately another seiner soon entered the bay and the boat blew its horn so the onshore dudes returned. The left for other creek robbing I guess.

The outlet of Kook Lake (Kook Creek) is interesting in that it went (probably still does) underground for hundreds of feet midway before surfacing to flow to the sea. The migrating salmon pooled up at the lower pool, swam underground, then popped up to continue into the lake.

End of story.

Gary
 
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?
 
Doggoneit - I knew I should have checked a map before I posted that. There was a little voice in my head saying it might be Chichigof Island. Oops, I stand corrected. I did not try fishing there. Wx was bad and I was tired. Sat and read a book.

Gary - That is quite a story. Pretty sad when a Salmon catch is worth killing folks over. Thank heavens you were not under that tarp.

Bill
 
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
 
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.
 
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.
 
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
 
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.
 
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
 
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Lots of great input, great post Eric, and others. I appreciate it. Lots to think about.


Bill
 
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
 
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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.

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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.



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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.


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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.


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More abandoned equipment.






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





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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
 
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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.. ;-)

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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?
 
That looks like an old G Wagon, might be worth getting it running again and drive it out of there. (I say offhandedly.. ;-)

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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
 
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...
 
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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).


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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..........




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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.....




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


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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"


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


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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


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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.


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I think this was taken at the Young Lake Cabin.



Cabin tour video


Thanks for following. I hope you enjoy.

Bill
 
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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
 
Forks


The airplane is now safely back in the hangar 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
 
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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.

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The view from the Turner Lake Cabin


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


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From the Swan Lake Cabin, early morning mist​



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


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Photo by Buck.


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More photography by Buck.


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Buck flying up the Le Conte Glacier


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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.​



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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​







 
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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