• If You Are Having Trouble Logging In with Your Old Username and Password, Please use this Forgot Your Password link to get re-established.
  • Hey! Be sure to login or register!

Floats to Alaska - 2018

Bill Rusk

Sandpoint, Idaho

I have a little down time so I thought I'd do a post on my Alaska time in 2018 and also expand on some of the cabins I have stayed in and give a little more info on those cabins. I hope that you are able to find some useful and helpful information in this thread. I will post more cabin info and pictures.

I departed Poplar Grove May 9 and headed West to my place in Spokane. I had the pleasure of a nice visit with Larry Vetterman for an afternoon.


He is building his second Javron Cub and it is coming together quite well. I wish he would post here more as he has a LOT of innovative ideas and is a great craftsman. I could have stayed a couple of days and would no doubt have learned even more. If you guys meet him at a fly-in, take the time to look closely at his Cub. Very high end and leading edge. It will be good in so many respects.


I was also Blessed to have Dan Lilja come up and rejoin on me as I flew up the Clark Fork River, a place that holds a special place in my heart, where I punched one of the 9 holes in my life card a few years prior.


Picture of my cub taken by Dan from his Cub over Plains, MT


Cabinet Gorge Dam on the Clark Fork River. Provides electricity for a big chunk of the Inland Pacific Northwest. Known airplane killer.

Dan built his Cub as well and has flown it extensively. One of the measures you can often use to find out how an experimental airplane is, is too look at how often the owners quickly put it up for sale and how many hours it has on it. You see certain models show up on Barnstormers/TAP often, and with low hours. The good ones are kept and flown like crazy because they fly great and they fit the owners mission. Bottom line, Dan built a CC kit and flys it a LOT. Skis and wheels. I just need to get him up on floats. LOL

I struggled with the weather coming through the mountains near Missoula, so had to drop in at Deer Lodge and call it a day. The next day I learned about a route from a local. At Missoula, turn North and follow 93, over Evaro, Ravalli, and at Dixon pick up the Flathead river, follow that to Plains MT etc. This is a lower route than following I-90/Mullan Pass and may help you get through the mountains. Both routes are incredibly scenic.


In Spokane I met up with my friend Eric, a relatively new SC guy, and we spent a few days doing the Idaho Back Country. It was Eric's first experience in backcountry Idaho type flying. He is a good stick and did quite well. Since I was on floats I landed at JC and parked until we flew back to Spokane. Just for those who are not sure, I did not take an amphib into the backcountry strips, nor would I recommend it. Johnson Creek is quite doable, however.

3 minute video here.....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJuTSj28LzU

Went back to work for a couple of weeks.

I departed solo for Alaska on May 31. Flew mostly direct from home (Spokane) to Lynden (38W) in 2.7 hrs. Lynden is a small airpark (houses lining the runway) North of Bellingham and about 2 or 3 miles from the Canadian Border. They have Credit Card fuel there, no tower. A small pilot lounge. Because of it's proximity to the border it makes a good place to file flight plans, call customs to set a time, file EAPIS etc.


As you can see in this photo I am running with the Airglass fuel pod. It holds 32 gallons and is just about the only option that works with floats. Several others are making pods and some are quite nice and light, like the ones made by Randy Apling at Carbon Concepts. But unfortunately they do not have the through holes for the cross brace wires. So if you are on floats, or planning it in the future, make sure your pod will work with floats. Airglass makes several pods for Cubs to include an all cargo, fuel and cargo combo, and the all fuel pod. Some have chosen the all cargo and then used fuel bags to add fuel capacity. The downside to this is you have to land to refuel. If you have the fuel/cargo, or fuel pod, you can set up a pump mechanism (see my thread on Building a Javron Cub for how to) that allows you to pump fuel up into the wing tank in flight. There are advantages and disadvantages to everything so I am not telling you what you should do, everyone is different and your mission may be different from mine. I have 36 gallons in the wings which gives comfortable 3 to 3.5 hour legs, but there are times when that is not enough. With the pod I have 68 gallons and about 8+ hours. I used that this summer to fly non-stop from the US (Lynden) overfly Canada, and land back in the US in Alaska. The advantage is you do not have to clear customs twice, which saves a lot of time and hassle. File a flight plan and go. Want to take a handgun? You can do so if you do not land in Canada but you have to have the capability of overflying Canada and going direct. It was awesome, and I plan to do that again this coming summer. Took about 5.5 hours to go from Lynden to the Humpback Lake Cabin.


The British Columbia coast is incredibly scenic like the SE part of Alaska. It really helps to get your rigging right here. I was able to fly several hours at a time without touching the stick, just using light pressure on the rudders to maintain or change heading. You can use the water rudders to fine tune your rigging.

On this long flight it helps to have a tailwind, however small. One of my favorite weather info sources in here.....https://www.windy.com/?46.307,-94.101,5
This site has a great wind chart. It also has charts for clouds and cloud base so it can be a GREAT planning tool. It also covers several days in the future. I highly recommend you get into this site. It is just fantastic.

Another weather site I really like is.....http://www.usairnet.com/cgi-bin/launch/code.cgi?sta=PANC&state=AK
You can choose your state and city. This one does great and seems to be very accurate with vis and cloud base. It only goes a couple of days in the future but it has winds, temp/dew point spread (handy for predicting fog), cloud base, vis etc. Between these two weather sites you can get a pretty good feel for what you are getting into. Hope this helps.


Heading into Humpback lake where the cabin is. The Humpback Lake Cabin (hereafter I will use LC for Lake Cabin) is the furtherest South cabin in the system so it is a good last stay when heading back south to the US or a good first stop when going North.


The lake water was high this year so the beach was pretty much under water. If you are going to fly floatplanes in the SE I recommend you get a pair of hip waders. You can turn the top down in flight to keep the temp down, but don't forget to pull em back up before you step off the floats. Trust me you will forget a few times, and get a boot full of VERY cold water. It is self correcting after a couple of times. But I don't know how many times I have needed the height of the hip wader over something shorter or just boots.


You can see even the wood shed was flooded this year. Skiff half under water.


Humpback LC


Humpback LC


Inside the cabin. This cabin has skylights which really help with the lighting.


View from the cabin


Picture taken another year. Note the beach and how far from the water the wood shed is. This will give you an idea of the difference in the lake water height from this year when it was quite high, and there was not really a good place to beach the floats.


Nice to enjoy a fire when it is not raining. I have enjoyed good fishing in this lake. My notes say I woke up the next morning to a steady rain which I noted was pretty loud on the skylights. Reading a book called the Accidental Airline about a floatplane business flying the BC coast. Good book.

Much more to come in this thread.

Hope this helps

Last edited:
After a night at the Humpback LC I flew into Ketchikan in a steady rain all the way. My logbook shows it was a .8 hr flight. I still had 2.5 hours of fuel in the plane so a good safety margin. I like to stay at the Inn at Creek Street hotel in Ketch. It is right on Creek Street and the water. Not too bad a price either. Ketch airport is not on the mainland, it is across the channel, so you have to take the ferry to get anything. It is not bad but it is a little bit of time, money and hassle. From the ferry dock it is a short walk, 1 mile, to a grocery story, auto parts store, and a little further to a hotel and restaurant. The hotel picked me up and a pretty, young lady named Aftan got me checked in. Next day was spent just bumming around Ketch. It is a neat town. Yeah it is touristy but still pretty cool. My first visitor for the season, Jay DeRosier arrived that evening, we got some dinner, and then checked the weather via the websites above and hit the sack.

6/3 Had breakfast at the Mermaid Cafe. They make a great breakfast and at a pretty reasonable price. Recommended. Then we went to get Jay a pair of waders. As noted Hip waders. He checked the fit of one and off we went. You know where this is going. When we got ready to land at the cabin he discovered he had two left feet. Yup.....LOL.....the waders were sealed in plastic so the mistake happened at the factory. It was entertaining to watch him with two left feet. Before he left we went back to the Tongas Trading Store (also recommended) and they made it right.....well at least one wader was made right.
So back to Ketch. It was still raining when we checked the wx so we needed a cabin that had a low entry. i.e. no high terrain between the ocean and the lake. Ceilings were pretty low so a ridge even 5 or 6 hundred feet could be a problem. We elected to go to the Big Shaheen Cabin as Jay had not been there. It is on Admirality Island. Probably my favorite island. It is a Nat'l Forest so no roads and no development. Just about all the cabins on Admirality are nice. Big Shaheen, Little Shaheen, Jims Lake, Alexander Lake, Sportsmans (now closed) are all good. Hasselborg is pretty rough - I do not recommend that one. Prince of Wales Island (POW) has a lot of development on it and a lot of the cabins are pretty rough. There are a couple of good ones but given a choice I will head to Admirality before POW most of the time.


Coming into the Hasselborg cabin. Not much of a place to beach the plane and a lot of weeds and lilly pads on the entry.


Inside the Hasselborg cabin. As noted it is pretty rough. There are only two cabins in the SE Forrest Service System that have a fireplace (not wood stove but a fireplace), the other is Turner Lake West Cabin - I will cover later.


The bank next to the cabin drops off quite steep so you can't really beach here. If you pull the tail in you might damage your water rudders, you could go bows in maybe, or sideways as shown here, but you can see that just about puts the wing in your living room. So....given that the cabin is pretty rough (to its credit it is quite old, built in the 1930's, and historic) and there is not a great place for the plane.....I don't really recommend this cabin. But Jay and I only went to look. The Big Shaheen Cabin, our destination for the night, is on the same lake. The Hasselborg lake is quite large.


The Big Shaheen Cabin. This one was also built in the 1930's but is in much better shape than the Hasselborg Cabin. This cabin has a lot going for it. Recommended. It is a (sorta) two bedroom so it gives a little privacy, and it could comfortably handle two couples. There is plenty of nice beach to park several floatplanes. There is another cabin, The Little Shaheen Cabin about 100 yards away, so this would be an ideal place for a larger gathering of say 4 floatplanes and 4 couples. Pretty good fishing here as well.


Looking into the Big Shaheen Cabin. Nice beach for the airplane.


Looking in to one of the two sleeping rooms in the cabin. Each room has 4 bunks so you could theoretically sleep 8 in this cabin. That would probably get pretty crowded. Use the Little Shaheen Cabin to spread out a little.


Eating area in the cabin.


Cooking area in the cabin. This cabin has an oil heat stove. You will need to bring stove oil (kerosene) if your cabin has an oil stove. All the cabins have a stove. Some are wood stoves, in which case the Forest Service Dept supplies the wood, you may have to split it. Please leave a nice supply for the next guest. I keep a 2.5 gallon plastic can of fuel oil in the float compartment. You can get stove oil in Juneau at the gas station right outside the FBO, also at the gas station in Petersburg. If you buy it at the grocery store they charge about 30 bucks for 2.5 gallons, at the gas station it is about 3 bucks a gallon. So make sure you don't get caught short. It takes about a gallon for an evening depending on how cold it is. Once you fill the hopper with what you think you will use you really can't get it back out so you end up leaving it for the next cabin occupant. Sometimes I have found a full hopper....that was nice, and sometimes I ended up filling much more than I used so I left it for the next guy. It all works out. I try not to leave a hopper empty. The next occupant might be wet and cold (accident maybe) and not have any fuel, and REALLY need that heat source. The oil stoves require less tending and provide a nice heat, but you really can't cook in one like you can a wood stove. The wood stoves are great for baked potatoes in the coals and are just much better for atmosphere. If you are bring a lady friend, find a cabin with a wood stove. You will thank me later.


The view from the Big Shaheen Cabin. It does not get much better than that.

More to come

Last edited:
Thanks Bill for the post. Very inspiring indeed. Definitely on my "gotta do it" list - and sooner rather than later.

Look forward to more of your great posts,

Most folks don't enjoy the incredible Blessing we have to fly and own our own plane so they typically charter a Beaver, C185, or Otter to get to the Cabins. This creates several dynamics. A Beaver charters for about 600 and hour right now. So a cabin that is 1/2 hour from a major town (Juneau, Ketch, Sitka) will cost 600 each way, (you pay to get him back to his base too, so 1/2hr out to drop you, and 1/2hr back). So to get to a cabin 1/2hr away is a total of 1200 bucks. Not too bad if there are 4 of you in the party. 300 bucks per person for the round trip. But now lets select a cabin that is 1hr away from Juneau. Now it is 2400 for the same week in a cabin. Is that cabin worth the extra 1200 dollars? Probably not. So....the cabins that are closer in to town get rented a lot more. That means I can reserve a cabin further out at the last minute because the odds are it will be open. Closer in cabins need to be reserved in advance. You can reserve up to 6 months in advance and some cabins you better be on the website that day (6 months prior) to make sure you get your choice.
But that creates another dynamic. Folks are not going to rent a cabin for 2 or 3 days only. Too expensive. If they are going to pay that charter they want to stay 5 days (or more). This means there may be a day or two open in between the larger blocks. No one wants those one or two day slots, so if you have your own plane you can jump on that. I have found that to be pretty useful.
Some cabins can be accessed by boat, then hike. These tend to be used more as well as you can charter, or use your own boat much cheaper than chartering a plane. If the cabin is easily accessed by boat or trail it tends to be a little less clean. In an ideal world each cabin occupant takes out EVERYTHING they brought in. But if they hiked in they will convince themselves the next occupant would really like that half bottle of ketchup, broken camp chair, etc. I have hauled out a lot of trash over the last 3 seasons. I try very hard to leave a cabin better than I found it.

Back to our story.....Jay and I woke up to more rain so we happily enjoyed the warmth of the stove, and read. Went fishing in the rain. You will want to have good rain gear for this trip. No Frog Togs. Helly Hansen might be overkill, but good stuff from Marmont, North Face etc is a must. Plan to spend a couple of hundred here. It will make the trip much better. So we fished a couple of hours in the rain and were quite comfortable. Caught a ton of 10"ers but could not find the big guys.
We stayed in this cabin 2 nights. That is about my limit. I often just stay in each cabin one night. I enjoy flying and sightseeing, and seeing other cabins, so I tend to move around a lot. If you were just looking to relax, certainly staying several nights would be more restful. Also....I frequently have a visitor so I want them to see and stay in several locations.

Next day we had better weather so we flew up to Skagway....pretty much the Northern most town in the SE playground.


Jay DeRosier on the floats in Skagway. Notice he still has his boots on. Not two left waders.


After Skagway we went into Juneau to resupply. This is a good stop. Just outside the airport is everything you could want. Groceries, Sporting goods store, Hardware, gas station (fuel oil), restaurants, hotels, etc. All within easy walking distance. Also sometimes the FBO will have a courtesy car if you want/need to go to downtown Juneau, about 10 miles away. After that stop we went to the Turner Lake West Cabin. This is one of the best, if not the best in the system. If you take your family to a cabin this is it. Stunning scenery, great cabin, reasonably close to Juneau, 1/2hr flight, but you will feel like you are two hundred miles from the end of the earth. Just stunning.
I try to make sure that all my visitors get a night here. It is that good. Reserve early, or hope for that one or two day slot between usual 5 day+, blocks.


Looking into the bunk room. 4 bunks. You could get two on the lower so I guess it sleeps 6, but you might want to be in a close relationship if you are both on the bottom bunk.


From the bunk room into the rest of the cabin. Cooking area to the left. Note it has an oil stove. Because of this the Forest Service Dept does not supply fire wood for the fireplace. And believe me, the area around the cabin has been picked clean. At this cabin you will want both fuel oil, and also a couple of bundles of firewood available from the grocery store in Juneau. If you put the wood in the float locker you MUST get it out as soon as you land. The lockers, although they may be dry, they also seem to be about 100% humidity. I left a batch of wood in there a couple of days once and it was soaking wet and would not burn. Lesson learned and now passed on to you.


Jay is a good fire man. Shortly thereafter we grilled some ribeye steaks. Life is good.


Scenery. Right across the lake are several waterfalls. Just absolutely stunning.


Fishing can be good. If the salmon are running it is excellent in the stream coming out of the lake behind the cabin going to the ocean.


Each cabin has a journal that folks write in. This can be hugely entertaining. There are some funny folks out there. The Turner Lake West Cabin has a family of mice headed up by Myron the mouse. Myron is immortal. It does not matter how many times you kill him, he will be back shortly.


A write up about Myron.


Another less flattering write up.....


Turner even has a little dock which is really nice. The water is clear and cold.


From the other end of the lake


Looking down the lake from the cockpit of a Beaver.

I could write a book just on Turner. It is that good. Here are a couple of videos

Jays trip and filmed a loading sequence at the dock at Turner


This is my family visit where we stayed 4 nights at Turner.

Part 1.....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Sw4vIbZ_0M

Part 2.....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVQQg1xa77s

6/7 After a great stay at Turner Lake West Cabin Jay and I packed out (as seen in the video) and headed South East to Petersburg.
Last edited:
Petersburg is probably my favorite town in the SE. For the record, the major towns are from NW to SE are

There are certainly other smaller places but these are the ones you are likely to visit. Some of the others are more native and they really don't want non- locals there unless you have a reason to be there.

Back to Petersburg. It sits at about the half way point between Juneau and Ketch. About an hour to either place at 100 mph. Petersburg has everything you need and it is easy into and out. I've seen some pretty crummy wx in the SE and I've always been able to get into Pete. About a 15 minute walk into town. And while you are there be sure to eat at Papa Bears Pizza. Not Cheap but REALLY good. I usually stay in the Scandia House Hotel if I need to. Nice, clean, and reasonable (thats a relative term, as prices tend to be high during the tourist season from May to Sept.) There is a coin laundry in town to do a little laundry and they also have a coin shower so you can get cleaned up as well. You can bathe in the lakes but it is COLD. Much nicer to use the shower in Petersburg. In the event the laundry is closed there is another coin shower at the dock a block behind the laundry. Let me see if I can find a few pictures of Petersburg.


Downtown Petersburg. Thats most of it right there.


Looking back the other way. The Scandia House hotel is in the center with the green awning. The library in town has pretty good wifi for those "Trip Reports" back home.


Sometimes it rains in the SE


Looking at the airport ramp and the town in the background. You can see it is a pretty easy walk into town.


A little further out so you can see the layout a little better.

Petersburg is a great resupply location. I go into town every couple of days to resupply, get fuel, and get on the internet to check the weather. Weather....weather.....weather.....always stay on top of it. I often adjust my plan, which cabin I will go to, etc based on that weather check. If the wx is good, lets fly and see everything we can, if its low that can determine cabins etc. If you go to Sitka....be double careful. The wx there can drop in a heartbeat and it sits up against the mountains on Baranof and Chichagof Islands for days. I have a huge amount of respect for George Campbell and Speedo, both who have flown commercially out of Sitka. If the weather is good.....Go......Sitka is awesome and beautiful.

So after Jay and I went to Pete and resupplied we flew to the Eagle Lake Cabin. WATCH OUT FOR POWER LINES GOING INTO THIS CABIN at the North end of the trench that flows into Eagle Lake. The trench is deep and the power lines are probably 1000' AGL so you just don't expect lines up that high. They go from ridge top - span the valley - to ridge top. There is another set crossing Bell Arm on the South Route out of the cabin going toward Ketch. Again.....you just don't expect the lines to be that high up....it scares the crap out of me every time I see them.


The Eagle lake cabin is quite nice, about half way between Wrangell and Ketch.


Here is Jay fishing with two left waders. LOL We fished the stuffings out of this lake and got ZIP, nada nothing, not even a strike. I don't think there are any fish in this lake.


The cabin


Inside the cabin


From the Cabin. Very scenic. Great place but not much for fishing.

More to come tomorrow. Thanks for following

Hope this helps


More junk. After a night in the Eagle Lake Cabin we moved to the McDonald LC. This cabin sits on an island. It has a large covered porch which is really nice when it rains. It gives a lot more usable space to hang out and enjoy the down time. We didn't catch any fish here but spent a lot of time exploring. There is a trail from the cabin down to a shelter then on to Yes Bay Lodge. It's a pretty rugged trail. OK .....VERY rugged. This cabin is relatively close to Ketch and pretty low entry. It is a good one even if you don't catch much. I have heard that when the steelhead are running the stream that runs from the Yes Bay Lodge to McDonald lake is world class fishing.


McDonald Lake Cabin


Air shot of the cabin. You can see the island it sits on. You can also see there is a small bridge that connects it to the mainland where the trail goes down to Yes Bay Lodge.


Porch time with Tom Anderson from 2017.


Interior of McDonald LC. Note how bright the interior is from the skylights.


Nice big wood stove here.

After a stay at the McDonalald LC it was time to move on. We did a little flight seeing trip around Misty Fiords and dropped in to the SE Heckman LC. This is a great cabin pretty close to Ketchikan and a very low entry so it makes for a good last stop before taking a visitor into Ketch to catch their flight back home. It is relatively large cabin with a (sorta) separate sleeping area. It has a dock which is also nice and a good wood stove. All in all a good cabin I have stayed at several times.


Quite a dock at the SE Heckman cabin. There are several cabins that have docks. This can be useful if someone in your party is not very mobile, i.e. elderly, handicapped etc. It is much easier to get in and out of the airplane onto a dock than dropping into the water and wading up a beach.


Inside SE Heckman. Skylights are nice, nice big wood stove, and a separate sleeping area you can see a little in the background.


Backside of the cabin looking from the privy. the structure to the left is the woodshed.

After a night here I took Jay in to Ketchikan where he caught a flight home.

Last edited:

After I got Jay on a flight home I met up with our good friend and a great SC.org contributor, Doc Randy.


Hero shot of Doc on the floats in Juneau getting ready to head out


Our first stop was to go explore the town of Gustavus. I have to be honest here. Not much there folks. Don't waste your time on this stop. We went to the grocery store to stock up for the next couple of days and the selection was so limited we flew back to Juneau just to go to the grocery store. The "town" is very spread out so that you have a store here, 1/2 mile away is another business, then another mile for the next business. But....that said....


We did bump into a SC.org member who lives there. GBFlyer is a super guy and it was a real pleasure to meet up with him. He is someone I have no doubt would be happy to help any Sc.org member (and probably anyone in general). A genuinely nice guy. I would go back to Gustavus for no other reason than to have lunch with Justin and his dad. Good people.


Neat covered bridge outside Gustavus


Doc Randy driving the boat. Then it was over to Turner LC because everyone should go to Turner at least once. The best fishing is at Cutty Cove. I have also had some success at the BIG waterfall. You will know it when you see it.


The water is green at Turner. Clear, cold, and ......green???


There is a trail from the Turner LC to the ocean where the lake dumps out. Good trail. I have no idea how Salmon manage to get up the falls but they do. The river between the Ocean and Turner lake is great fishing when the salmon are running. Mostly Humpy/pink salmon.


Sportsman Cabin before the tree fell on it and they tore it down.


Inside Sportsman.....before it was doomed to closure.....


After a night at Turner we stopped to see the Sportsman Cabin. This is what's left. A few years ago a tree fell on the cabin and caved in the roof. The Forest Service Dept rebuilt the cabin and it was really nice. Then another tree fell on it and this time they just decided to take it down and out. We lost yet another cabin and a good one. They are not building any new cabins and it seems like they are taking them down as fast as they can. If you think you want to see or do the cabin adventure I recommend you do so ASAP. It may not be long before there is nothing left.


On a happier note we stopped in at Petersburg and had Pizza at Papa Bears. Best Pizza ever!!
We resupplied in Petersburg and went to the next best Cabin in the SE


If Turner Lake West Cabin is the best cabin, then Swan Lake Cabin is in a very close second place and it is truly spectacular. If you can only do two cabins in the SE, Turner and Swan are the tops. You do have to be a little careful with the wx here. It is easy to get "weathered in" in this cabin but I can not think of a better place to get stuck for a day or two.


It was my privilege to spend time w/ Doc this last summer. He has contributed so much to SC.org and members there.


Inside the cabin. Oil Stove here so bring fuel oil.


More of cabin


Cabin interior. There is a loft area as well so the cabin could sleep 6 or 8 folks.


Looking from the cabin back towards the outhouse. Nice path and a nice privy.


Stunning scenery at this cabin


More scenery


There is a good, pretty rugged trail, to the ocean. Well worth the hike.

This 3 minute video clip shows the flight into Swan, and also a little of the weather issue getting out.


More to follow

Last edited:

After a great stay at Swan it was time to move on and explore more of Alaska. We went to the Big Shaheen Cabin as Doc had not seen that cabin and we stayed the night. The next day the weather was pretty crummy so we ended up doing a 180 turn as the pass we planned was weathered in. We took different route to get to the big water. In the SE it seems the weather is usually not to bad out over the salt water/ocean. If you can make it out there you can usually get to a town or perhaps even to your next cabin. After our reroute we made it into the Kah Sheets Cabin.


Aerial shot of the Kah Sheets Cabin


Kah Sheets has a dock. I will have to go back and look at my notes and see if I can figure out how many cabins have a dock. I'm guessing about 10 out of 100. Nice cabin.


This is another cabin with a lift sleeping area if needed. There are a couple of bunks on the bottom level but I would imagine kids would love the loft.


Lots of stuff will fit in a Cub. We use every bit of it.


Doc caught a nice one for dinner. We weren't planning to keep any but this guy just swallowed the lure so he was not going to survive. We iced him down and ate him the next day.


There is a nice trail to the Bay, about 3.5 miles each way. It is a good hike.


The trail is a wood path almost all the way. I can't imagine the time and money it took to build the trail. It is great, but sometimes the boards can get slick. Still, it is a great hike.


There are some nice water falls along the trail.


A great day flying, hiking and fishing in Gods country.
After a couple of nights at Kah Sheets we flew in to Ketchikan to get Julie, Docs wife, and then did a little flight seeing on the way to the SE Heckman Cabin. We have covered that cabin so I won't go into all that detail again but it was a real pleasure to have Julie join us on this trip.

Here is a video for Doc and Julie's visit. About 5 minutes long....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=908-QKr63PA


On the way in to Ketch to pick up Julie we stopped at the Salmon Lake Thorn Bay Cabin. This is a unique cabin in a great setting. A little rough but still pretty cool.


Location, location, location. This cabin sits on the beach. Beautiful view off the front porch.


Julie about to get her first floatplane ride. Little does she know........


It was a stunning day over Misty Fiords


It was a surf and turf dinner. Remember that fish we caught the day prior?


Doc Randy and Julie, two of the nicest, kindest people you will ever meet. I am Blessed to have their friendship. But it was time for them to return home and help more couples start a family. My next visitor was on his way in....

More to come

Last edited:
After getting Doc Randy and Julie on a flight home I met up with my friend Mark Fiedler and we spent a few days flying, fishing, and exploring.


Mark owns a Carbon Cub on floats and flew it to Alaska last year. It was fun to exchange notes on equipment, routes, favorite places etc. Mark is a much more accomplished fisherman than I am.


We stopped in to Walker Lake in the Misty Fiords Park and did a little fishing. On the whole the bugs have never been bad for me in the SE. This was one of the few times I felt the need for a head net. Mark did OK without one so it wasn't too bad.


Mark caught this beautiful rainbow. And released.


We had to visit Baranof Hot Springs. I will talk more about this in a future post.


The Baranof cabin, also a future post.


It was a real pleasure to have Mark come up and fly with me for a few days. I hope we can do another trip in the future.


On the way home. 2018 was another great year. I was Blessed with great friends, and a successful adventure.

I will post more about various other cabins, with photos, and the advantages and disadvantages next.

Thanks for following

If you plan to go to the SE I would be happy to answer questions and help if I can. Shoot me a PM.

Hope this helps


Time to change the focus of the thread a little. Mostly I will just review cabins and offer thoughts on flying in the SE part of Alaska.

As I mentioned previously the primary towns in the SE are.....


All of these cities and airports have "commercial/airline" traffic and as such THEY must comply with all the TSA bull that goes with being a "commercial" airport. They honestly try to do the best they can to accommodate GA but you will see and feel the affects. You can't walk across the ramp without getting yelled at by someone. Most prevalent at Juneau. Secondarily at Ketch.
In Petersburg, as long as you stay in the GA parking area at the East side of the ramp, (there is an access gate to get outside the fence to go shopping), you will be OK. Do not walk to the other end of the ramp where the helicopter operation sells fuel. To do so you will walk through the "operations" area of Alaska Airlines and violate the secure area. To get fuel at Petersburg, TAXI to the fueling area on the West end. After getting fuel TAXI around the secure area to the East side to tie down. Sitka has the same set up. Fuel on one end of the ramp, commercial ops in the center, parking on the other end.
Skagway and Haines are both more GA friendly, but fuel can be a problem unless you are M-F 9am to 4pm. Then it is generally available. Haines has seen a lot of construction the last couple of years. I have been told it is mostly complete. If you get in trouble in the SE a great contact is SC.org member George Campbell. Super helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable guy.
Juneau, Ketch, and Sitka are serviced by Aero Services, FBO. They have always been good to me and have been helpful. But since you do not have an airport badge for that airport you must be "escorted" when on the ramp. Just be nice, talk to the folks at the FBO, and be understanding that they are trying to follow the rules so they don't get fined by the TSA, while still trying to be understanding to you that all you want is fuel, bathroom etc. There are no open GA airports in the SE, like in the lower 48 where you can walk around unmolested, get CC fuel, hang out in the FBO office/building alone, etc.

If you are on straight floats - it will be different. I don't have much info in that regard. Perhaps Dennis Bedford or someone from the SE will chip in and offer some advice.

I have purchased fuel at all the 7 towns listed above but tend to get most of it in Juneau, and Ketch. Sitka is also good. At the other places, Pete, Skag, Haines, Wrang - it is sold as a secondary courtesy by the local helicopter operation. Generally, just when they are open, and that is not always guaranteed but usually M-F about 8 to 5. But don't count on it. Call first if you are really going to need fuel at one of these places.

Skagway - short walk into town to get food and supplies
Haines - long way to town, not recommended as a place to resupply (unless George will let you use his truck) Pretty neat town however
Juneau - excellent resupply place. Everything is close walking distance. Courtesy car sometimes available if you want to go downtown
Petersburg - about 15 minute walk to get downtown. Excellent resupply place. My favorite
Wrangell - pretty long walk to town about 2 miles each way
Sitka - nice to visit, pretty long walk, so not recommended as a resupply place, but fun to visit. Recommended for that
Ketchikan - Not a great resupply point because must take ferry (6 bucks) and not much within close walking, but there is a grocery store)


I have not stayed in any salt water accessible cabins at this point. So my notes are all fresh water cabins. If you are on straight floats you have no choice, as all the fuel in the SE is going to be in salt water, so you can hit both fresh and salt water cabins. One advantage to amphibs is the ability to land on asphalt, get fuel, and stay out of salt water. I have been told by reliable sources that the water in the SE is probably a little less corrosive that in other parts of the world. The cool temps help, unlike the Gulf of Mexico, and also all the rain means the top few inches of water in the SE may be more fresh that salt.
Take it with a grain of salt....LOL


You need this map. It can be ordered here......https://www.nationalforestmapstore.com/product-p/ak-1.htm


It looks like this. It shows the whole SE of Alaska and all the little red squares are cabins. So this shows you where the cabins are.

Next you need to go to this website to look at the cabins.....http://www.publiclakecabinsak.com
This website is absolutely the best thing since sliced bread. Many Many thanks to Tom Bass for putting it together and maintaining it.
It also links you to the Forest Service site where you can make your reservation and pay the fee.

Gotta go for now. More to follow......

Last edited:
Bill, thanks so much to again take the time to post these great stories. They are really inspiring. I’m going to have restart the search for some used Wip’s[emoji3]

Sent from my iPad using SuperCub.Org
This Is about the best travel guide you could ever have for cabins!! Great Bill.

If on strait floats, Ketchikan, Juneau and Petersburg sell fuel- call ahead as always.

In Sitka you can get fuel sometimes, but need to land in the harbor, (cove) across the runway from the terminal and the fuel truck will get escorted over for you at the ramp by the windsock. Takes some planning and discussion with the airport office, but can be done. Caution, north winds blow right into that cove, so can be tough in bad days.

Pretty much, there is NO FRESHWATER fuel available in Southeast Alaska unless you pack it in or out.

Haines's fuel is operated by the local distributor. A phone call ahead usually gets you fuel every time.

Yes, let me know and I will try to have wheels available for you to tour our city. Though not for sale, I have my own fuel at home, now 1,100' of dirt (mud this week) with trees gone from each end. Phase II of the runway is happening now, so by fall will have about 1,500 or more, depending on how the bridge goes. If you need fuel in a strait float plane, I can put the pup tank in the truck and haul YOUR fuel to you. I don't sell fuel.

For Bill, I have a lake just up the road if he will ever come back.

Skagway has fuel across the street at the distributor if you have gas cans. PITA, but doable.

Most locals are nice and will offer you a ride around here, just use Lynette Campbell's name, not mine:lol:
I also think Petersburg is probably my favorite town in the SE . I love the Tongass and have enjoyed a few of the cabins . I can't wait to go back .
Thanks for posting !
Jeff, George and Doug. Thanks for the posts.


A short addition this morning then I gotta get to work on my Cub or "Floats to Alaska - 2019" ain't gonna happen.

There are only three cabins in the freshwater system north of Juneau. Peterson Lake, Windfall, and Eagle Glacier.
These three cabins are on the "Trail System." They can be hiked into from a relatively near-by road. The Forrest Dept says the cabins are "public use" from 10AM to 5PM as a warming shelter. Thus you can rent them but you may have visitors, and they are allowed in your cabin during the day. That is not necessarily bad, I'm sure you would meet some great people, and it could be a lot of fun. But if you are looking for solitude, this is not it. These 3 cabins are rented heavily because of the easy access.

Eagle Glacier Cabin is on a relatively small lake at the base of the glacier. This is quite doable for a good performing Supercub, but is probably too short for a 185, Beaver etc. I have done several low passes and checked it out but have not landed there. The water is very murky from all the silt off the glacier and it was a case of "I'm sure I could.... but....why?" The water looks crummy, and there are so many other cabins, with scenery, fishing, and less traffic.


Eagle Glacier - the cabin is just out of the picture to the left...


Aerial shot of the Eagle Glacier Cabin

Bottom line....there are no cabins North of Juneau in the SE area. There are cabins near Yukatat, on Kodiak, The Kenai, etc. but I am referring to the SE playground.
If you are NE of Juneau you are probably just sight seeing in Skagway or Haines. The flight up the Lynn Canal between Juneau and Skagway is a great place to see whales and sea lions. Very scenic. Then.... weather permitting,.... fly back up high, over the mountains. Incredible scenery.

So....lets talk about cabins near Juneau.....

Young Lake North Cabin

This cabin is probably the closest to Juneau and is a VERY low entry cabin. I have stayed here when I (or a guest) had an early flight out of Juneau the next day. It would take some REALLY bad weather not to be able to get into Juneau from this cabin. There are two cabins on the lake, Young LC North and Young LC South. I much prefer the North Cabin. The terrain around the cabin is relatively flat and easy to walk. This might be important if you have someone who is not quite so mobile, perhaps your elderly mother or father. I took my Mom to Turner and it was a problem there. The area right around Turner Cabin is pretty rocky and the privy is up a long set of steps. She did OK but I was very concerned the whole time. If she had fallen it would have almost certainly resulted in a bad injury. So....if you are taking someone that has mobility issues consider a cabin with easy terrain. I sorta learned this lesson the hard way. Glad my mom did not fall, but I sure felt bad that I put her in that position because of my lack of thoughtfulness. Thus I am sharing my lesson learned with you.

There is a trail to the ocean, and a cabin at the Bay. It is about a 4 mile hike each way. When the salmon a running it is amazing to see them all in the creek following the hiking trail. Note - if the salmon a running the bears are there too. There is also a trail to the Young Lake South Cabin. About 3 miles. I did not see any bears on that hike but I sure saw a lot of signs.

I have had visitors come up from the South Cabin, and really had a great time visiting with local floatplane pilots and their families. We sat around the fire and talked for hours. That is probably the only time and place I can remember having visitors. Awesome.


Young Lake North Cabin. The Forest Service Dept calls this a Pan Abode Cabin and many in the cabin system are just like this.
So....if you are reading their description you will know what they are talking about.


Interior shot, standing in the door way.


Kitchen counter and oil stove. The door is just out side the photo to your left.


Scenery from the Cabin


More scenery


Notice the huge tree stump to the left of the plane. Wow!


There is a creek next to the Cabin. This is looking roughly South


You can see the cabin behind the airplane


It may not be the best cabin in the system but it is a good solid comfortable place. Low entry, close to Juneau, and easy. I've not had a lot of success fishing on this lake unless the salmon are running. Then the creek to the ocean is a salmonfest. Bottom line - a good cabin.
I'm sure I will stay here again.

Here is a little 22 second video of some otters at the Young Lake North Cabin.



This is the Young Lake South Cabin. I understand thee are a lot of berries near this cabin, so if you are into fresh blue berries, great place....by-the-way.....Bears like fresh blue berries too.....


Another shot of the Young Lake South Cabin.

These are the Young Lake North and South Cabins

More to follow...

Last edited:
Jeff - Love the Wip 2100A amphibs and HIGHLY recommend them but they can be tough to find used. If you find a set jump on them.

Floats open up a whole new world of flying.

Best regards

I believe all of the cabins are open during the day for warming.

Eagle Glacier cabin gets lots of hike in use, and the lake has some big rocks- come to shore easy. Remember, the glacier will produce big wind coming down the valley in the afternoons.

Young's lake have Coho as early as late august fyi.

Aerial shot of the Eagle Glacier Cabin

As George noted there are rocks in this lake. For those who may not have spent much time in remote locations with a float plane, this photo has some lessons to be learned and remembered. Glacial silt darkens the water so that it is very difficult to see into it from the air. When you scoop it up in a bucket, it can appear clear. Look at the picture. There are some rocks which are protruding above the surface just off shore. There are also some rocks further out which are visible in the picture but are under water. If you are taxing in towards the shore, those underwater rocks my not be visible. The rocks in this picture are giving you a clue. There are rocks in that lake and it is very likely that there are more a little further off shore which can not be seen from above or from the surface. It is those rocks which can really trip you up. Be very careful and be aware.

All of the lakes that Bill has visited are relatively close to civilization. When you go way out, there may not be help available should you have even a minor mishap.

Jims Lake Cabin

Another great cabin on Admirality Island. I've stayed in this cabin several times and it is great. The cabin is nice, wood stove, great view off the front porch, and excellent fishing (at the far end of the lake). You will need a motor to get to the good fishing. They aren't real big but the quantity is excellent. You can count on a fish dinner here.
If you are coming in to the Cabin from Juneau (North) you will probably enter the drainage at Windfall harbor. You need about an 800 foot ceiling to make it in on this route. If coming in from Petersburg (South) you will enter the drainage at Gambier Bay and you can get in with about a 400' ceiling. You can come in over Angoon from the West and if you can clear the ridge on the West side of the lake you can get in with about a 300' ceiling. If the wx is crummy and you want to get out, the lowest route is West over Angoon. If you can clear the ridge you can get out.


Jims LC is a standard Pan Abode Cabin


Nice clean bright interior


Jay DeRosier tending the wood stove.


Nice small gravel/sand beach. You could get a couple of floatplanes here. Maybe even 3...??


The Cabin sits up on a little knoll, with a nice trail up to it.


My sister Mona enjoying the fire pit in front of the cabin


Looking down the lake from the cabin. Very nice view. Does not have the mountains like Turner, Swan, or some others, but it is still quite nice.


Looking down the little hill to the beach where the airplane sits.

This cabin may not have the spectacular scenery of some of the others but it is a great beach for the plane, and a very nice cabin.
I'm sure I will stay there again.

Alexander Lake Cabin

This cabin is on Admirality Island as well and is VERY VERY similar to Jims Lake Cabin. Same Pan Abode, same bright interior, sits on a little knoll, nice beach for the plane etc. I will only post a couple of pictures because it is so similar.


Aerial shot of the Lake Alexander Cabin


Standard Pan Abode Cabin


Porch time....


The view from the porch


Kitchen shot. All the cabins have a cabinet so you can keep the mice out of your food. I have not had any problems except at Turner LWC with Myron. I usually keep a trap or two in my kit but it really has not been a big problem.


Looking down on the beach area at the plane. Good beach here like Jims Lake but only room for 2 planes. No way to get three in this one.
Same info as Jims lake regarding altitudes to get in here from the different routes.

I may not have time to post again for a few days but there is much more to go. Many many cabins to cover. I don't really expect anyone to read all this unless you end up going....then hopefully it will be a reference point and have some info that might help.

All of the lakes that Bill has visited are relatively close to civilization. When you go way out, there may not be help available should you have even a minor mishap.

Relatively is a subjective term. While Eagle, Peterson and Windfall are only a few hours walk from the road, Youngs lake is not much further from the Juneau airport than Eagle, but with miles of water between... you are not walking back. Most of the lakes Bill visits are remote, with no roads, no civilization and not other traffic around except the occasional plane. Up here getting home from a wreck is often a helicopter or plane ride... so be careful, help is not just around the corner.

Because of that, we strive to leave a bit of margin.
As George noted there are rocks in this lake. For those who may not have spent much time in remote locations with a float plane, this photo has some lessons to be learned and remembered. Glacial silt darkens the water so that it is very difficult to see into it from the air. When you scoop it up in a bucket, it can appear clear. Look at the picture. There are some rocks which are protruding above the surface just off shore. There are also some rocks further out which are visible in the picture but are under water. If you are taxing in towards the shore, those underwater rocks my not be visible. The rocks in this picture are giving you a clue. There are rocks in that lake and it is very likely that there are more a little further off shore which can not be seen from above or from the surface. It is those rocks which can really trip you up. Be very careful and be aware.

All of the lakes that Bill has visited are relatively close to civilization. When you go way out, there may not be help available should you have even a minor mishap.

When I'm dragging a new landing spot and find some hazards I will take a couple aerial photos with my phone before landing. So that when I depart I can look at the photos and refresh my memory.

Amazing changes and improvements in the Tongass NF. I moved there in 1965 and worked summers until 1970 in remote locations. Two by tent and part of two by cabin. Last was by boat camping. At that time little was done to support visitors so it's good to see the improvements and facilities especially on freshwater. FWIW tent camping on Baranof, Chichagof, Yakobi, Kuiu, and Admiralty islands was a career challenge but doable. This was before tarps were available and plastic visqueen sheeting made the camp bearable. But still the ground was always soaked and sunk under any weight.

Thanks Bill for the updated guide.

Relatively is a subjective term. While Eagle, Peterson and Windfall are only a few hours walk from the road, Youngs lake is not much further from the Juneau airport than Eagle, but with miles of water between... you are not walking back. Most of the lakes Bill visits are remote, with no roads, no civilization and not other traffic around except the occasional plane. Up here getting home from a wreck is often a helicopter or plane ride... so be careful, help is not just around the corner.

Because of that, we strive to leave a bit of margin.
Agreed George, I was thinking of some places in interior Canada which are beyond helicopter fuel range when I used that relatively word. Places which are hundreds of miles as the crow flies from help. Places where you might be better off homesteading rather than even attempting to get out.
A few things I notice about Bill's adventures:

All his guests have smiles large enough to double as the Joker on Batman

He spins a tale so mesmerizing it makes me want to brave thousands of mosquitos and explore my home even more

3BR has become the gold standard on how a Cub should live!!!

For those getting into floats, or even those that have flown; here is a product you should have with you at all times:


Carry a Baseball sized glop of each part in ziplock baggies or water proof containers, (must be separate from each other) until you need it. When in need it will patch a hole under water and allow you to continue on. Do a good job smoothing it off and you can leave it until you reskin.

Stories of guys using this and drift wood to patch a big hole in a beaver during the oil spill. The wood was placed into the hole then the Splash Zone used to fill the void. The let it dry over night, then flew it back to Anchorage- word was the mechanics had to cut the aluminum to get the splash zone out. It works!
There was a time 30 years ago when a idiot kid landed in a glacial river and found more than one large rock under the silty water. He put a nice gash in the forward compartment of Edo 2000s.

He powered his cub up onto a sandbar as best he could. Using sap that oozed out of a spruce tree and a piece of bent aluminum that he used as a windscreen for a Optimus stove, a patch was made. Heating the sap helped get it to flow around the edges and seal.

Actually worked most of the summer and never got more than a pump or two out of that compartment before it was re-skinned.

Not recommended for those with short arms though.