27 Oct 2004 12:02:44
Tim Kelley
Time for new xc training gear? How about a raft ... !

Recently there was a post on RSN about backpacking / xc skiing.

I thought readers might be interested in a training / hiking trend that
has gained a lot of popularity in Alaska the last several years. It's
called packrafting. The idea here is - say you want to go on a 20 mile
hike/run. In Alaska, where there aren't many roads, your options are
to do a loop, or more likely a 10 mile in, 10 mile out trip.

With the new 4 lb packrafts they make these days you have more options.
You can hike in away from a road for as long as you want ... as long
as you end up at a river. You then pull your pacraft out of your pack,
inflate it and then paddle and float back out.

I realize this gear and type of training will not be a good fit for
many RSN readers ... but I'm making this post because it's an
interesting trend. And it's interesting because even activities as old
and simple as backpacking can morph and create new interest and
markets.

There are quite a few good pictures of packrafting on the 'Gallery'
pages of this web site: http://www.alpackaraft.com/Site/Index.cfm
Tim Kelley



30 Oct 2004 14:12:17
Roman Dial
Re: Time for new xc training gear? How about a raft ... !

Tim Kelly recently posted on packrafting -- if anyone is interested in
some good packrafting trips around Anchorage I have some route
descriptions which are day trips.

We also did a bunch of hike, ski, and packraft trips around Alaska:
Harding Icefield, Black Rapids/Susitna Glaciers, and "Baby Ruth" from
base of Mt. Mckinley to Talkeetna being my favorites.

These are really fun trips 'cause they mix it up. But they require a
variety of skills, too: off trail navigation, reading rivers, and
skiing on glaciers for instance.

A couple of the more intersting packraft trips we've done recently are
week long journeys in the Brooks Range that include floating several
rivers and walking over the mountains between them. These don't
include skiing but they are cool 'cause on one trip you do a complete
loop, hiking over the mountains and floating on eriver (the upper,
upper Noatak) and then crossing back over the mountains and floating a
second river (the Alatna) back to where you started, and on the other
you hike half a day and float half a day for three days in a row on
three different rivers (Hulahula, Okpilak, Jago) sandwiched between
two other full days of walking and floating. So it goes like Day1-
walk, Day2- float, Day3 walk&float, Day4-walk&float, Day5-walk&float,
Day6-Float, Day7-walk to end.

Anyway, packrafting is the most adventuresome way to see Alaska during
the summer.

If you are interested in knowing more about these routes email me at
borneo@gci.net. I'll send you the Topo computerized routes.....if
you'd like.