Search found 136 matches

by bradmeiklejohn
Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:14 pm
Forum: Packrafting Gear
Topic: Paddles
Replies: 28
Views: 14313

Re: Paddles

Roman has a beautiful 4-piece carbon fiber Werner Shuna touring paddle that I simply cannot find anywhere. I recently purchased an 4-piece fiberglass Aquabound Shred, which is slightly beefier than the Splat or Manta Ray. I don't know the exact weight, but compared to my Sawyer it feels like a battl...
by bradmeiklejohn
Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:08 pm
Forum: Packrafting Gear
Topic: Dry Suits
Replies: 7
Views: 3320

Re: Dry Suits

I want to respond to an earlier comment from Paddling Regression about Kokatak Dry Suits: " One thing to keep in mind when shelling out for a Dry Suit, especially for pack rafting, is the amount of portaging/bushwacking you're likely to do. Portaging through devils club definately takes a toll on yo...
by bradmeiklejohn
Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:52 pm
Forum: Packrafting Gear
Topic: Alpacka offers new packraft Paddle
Replies: 21
Views: 7946

Re: Alpacka offers new packraft Paddle

After my first Sawyer paddle broke on its second day on the water, I've been hesitant to tout this paddle for hard and rocky whitewater. Last year the Sawyer stayed home on the harder and longer trips, displaced by my trusty fiberglass Manta Ray. This year, though, I've been taking the Sawyer more o...
by bradmeiklejohn
Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:13 pm
Forum: Packrafting Gear
Topic: In Search of A Dry Boat
Replies: 22
Views: 5995

Re: In Search of A Dry Boat

I am really impressed with the 2009 Alpacka rafts that I've just seen for the first time. There were two features that I was particularly excited about. The first is that Sheri put the mouth inflation tube on the back of the boat, adjacent to the main inflation valve. I have been bitching about this...
by bradmeiklejohn
Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:57 pm
Forum: Packrafting Gear
Topic: Helmets
Replies: 17
Views: 5821

Re: Helmets

I am quite serious about a helmet that doubles as a cookpot. Soldiers in World War I used to cook out of their helmets. Such an invention would be ideal for mountaineers, kayakers, and packrafters (and perhaps adventurous skateboarders). Made out of titanium, with a clip-in liner system and a visor ...
by bradmeiklejohn
Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:45 am
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: South Fork of Eagle River
Replies: 68
Views: 25462

Re: South Fork of Eagle River

I live on Hiland Road right next to the South Fork and still have not figured out a correlation to any of the the surrounding creeks. The South Fork comes up in really big rains and really warm weather when the headwater glaciers are melting, but otherwise tends to be too low for decent boating, as ...
by bradmeiklejohn
Fri Jun 26, 2009 10:59 pm
Forum: Southeast
Topic: Lakina River
Replies: 6
Views: 4400

Lakina River

A group of four of us recently packrafted a classic route in the Wrangells that we've dubbed "Lacking? Nah!" for the superb variety, spectacular terrain, and fun boating. The route starts at Kennicott, crosses the Root and Kennicott glaciers, enters Hidden Creek valley, climbs to the pass at the hea...
by bradmeiklejohn
Fri Jun 26, 2009 10:14 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Echo Bend, Eagle River
Replies: 23
Views: 18283

Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Roman and I ran Echo Bend today, June 26th 2009, at a guage reading of approximately 3.3 feet and found it to be substantially higher, pushier and harder than in prior years at similar guage heights. My guess is that the guage reading is somehow different this year when compared to previous years. I...
by bradmeiklejohn
Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:05 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Peters Creek....has anyone been?
Replies: 2
Views: 863

Re: Peters Creek....has anyone been?

On June 7th I hiked over to Peters Creek from Ram Valley and ran about 6 miles of Peters Creek down to approximately Mile 5. The creek was fun and fast Class II and III but got more wood-infested as I went along. Eventually the wood became too annoying and dangerous and I pulled out and hiked out th...
by bradmeiklejohn
Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:21 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: South Fork of Eagle River
Replies: 68
Views: 25462

Re: South Fork of Eagle River

As of June 10th 2009, the South Fork of Eagle River is running at a nice level. Creek cleaning has removed several nasty sweepers and strainers, and as of today the upper two-thirds of the run is passable from approximately 1 mile below the lakes downstream to the road bridge near the South Fork tra...
by bradmeiklejohn
Thu May 14, 2009 2:32 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: South Fork of Eagle River
Replies: 68
Views: 25462

Re: South Fork of Eagle River

As of today, May 14th 2009 the Southfork is too low. With not much snow remaining to melt we'll have to rely on rain to bring the Southfork up to runnable levels. Echo Bend is good right now. Ship Creek is a bit too burly. Willow is at a good level.
by bradmeiklejohn
Tue May 05, 2009 3:42 pm
Forum: Packrafting Gear
Topic: Paddles
Replies: 28
Views: 14313

Re: Paddles

For more on the Sawyer paddles, see the following thread: http://www.alpackaraft.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=175 There was a spate of broken Sawyers last summer. The company was great about replacing the broken blades, but I still remain very leery of getting far from the road with only my Sawye...
by bradmeiklejohn
Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:36 am
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: South Fork of Eagle River
Replies: 68
Views: 25462

Re: South Fork of Eagle River

As of September 19th, the South Fork of Eagle River still is quite low, despite the rains. Whereas an earlier post of mine suggested that the South Fork is boatable when the Ship Creek guage is above 5.0 feet, that correlation appears not to hold true. The main distinction between the drainages is t...
by bradmeiklejohn
Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:17 am
Forum: General Discussion
Topic: Packrafting in the News
Replies: 6
Views: 1443

Packrafting in the News

A good piece on Roman Dial and packrafting appeared in the September 7th Anchorage Daily News. Here is the link:

http://www.adn.com/outdoors/story/518406.html
by bradmeiklejohn
Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:31 pm
Forum: Northern
Topic: Packrafting the Arctic Refuge the Dirtbag Way
Replies: 3
Views: 3504

Packrafting the Arctic Refuge the Dirtbag Way

It's often said that a river trip in the Arctic Refuge is only possible for the "wealthy elite" who can afford the air taxi flights that now run in the thousands of dollars. But, armed with a packraft, a multi-river Arctic Refuge trip is possible for only the cost of gas to drive to Mile 275 of the ...
by bradmeiklejohn
Sat Aug 09, 2008 9:51 pm
Forum: Packrafting Gear
Topic: Helmets
Replies: 17
Views: 5821

Re: Helmets

Here is a challenge for the designers/mad scientists in the crowd (Sheri, you listening?). How about a helmet that can also be used as a cook pot? Obviously it would have to made out of a lightweight metal, like titanium, and would need to have a removable padding system that clips into place for bo...
by bradmeiklejohn
Sat Aug 09, 2008 9:42 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Bull River
Replies: 7
Views: 8829

Dunkle Bullnuts

A tip o' the hat to Mik Shain for turning us on to the Bull River. Put it on your list of "must-do" packraft trips. Bull Put-In2.jpg Tony Perelli and I did a Bull River triathalon by starting at about Mile 187 of the Parks Highway. A dirt road takes off to the west immediately adjacent to a communic...
by bradmeiklejohn
Wed Aug 06, 2008 5:28 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Ship Creek -- Lower Canyon
Replies: 23
Views: 7777

August 6 2008 Scouting Report

As of August 6th, 2008 the lower Ship Creek canyon is clear of wood and running at a great level.
by bradmeiklejohn
Tue Aug 05, 2008 5:51 am
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Curry to Clear Creek
Replies: 17
Views: 16698

Re: Curry to Clear Creek

John, We did camp up on the ridge above Bacon Creek. This ridge is not Curry Ridge, which is on the west side of the Susitna. I don't know that the area has a name, but as you can see from the photo it is beautiful country. We were a bit surprised to intersect the Fairbanks intertie powerline on the...
by bradmeiklejohn
Mon Aug 04, 2008 8:21 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Curry to Clear Creek
Replies: 17
Views: 16698

Makin' Bacon Variation

Based on the above write-up, we recently did this route, and it is a classic. Just the train ride alone is a great part of the journey. The walking is mostly fabulous, and the boating is tremendous. Clear Creek is labeled "Chunilna Creek" on most maps and Bacon Creek is a major tributary that enters...
by bradmeiklejohn
Sat Aug 02, 2008 6:16 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Ptarmigan Lake - Paradise Valley - Snow River
Replies: 3
Views: 4637

Ptarmigan Lake - Paradise Valley - Snow River

If you're looking for big adventure on the Kenai Peninsula, here's one for you, but you've gotta love bushwhacking. Start at the Ptarmigan Lake trailhead at Mile 23 of the Seward Highway, roughly 6 miles south of Moose Pass. Follow the Ptarmigan Lake trail upstream along Ptarmigan Creek (which itsel...
by bradmeiklejohn
Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:23 am
Forum: General Discussion
Topic: Consequences of Posting Trip Reports
Replies: 5
Views: 1995

Re: Consequences of Posting Trip Reports

Mr. Van Horn works in Denali NP where we have a perfect example of Roman's turn of phrase about misplaced priorities. The Sanctuary is one of the classic packraft routes and has been amply described in this forum. Undoubtedly the use of this route has increased in recent years, to the point where it...
by bradmeiklejohn
Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:57 pm
Forum: General Discussion
Topic: Consequences of Posting Trip Reports
Replies: 5
Views: 1995

Re: Consequences of Posting Trip Reports

Joe's piece is an interesting academic excercise of wishing the genie back into the bottle. Wiggle your nose like Tabitha and, shazam, the technology goes away. But in real life the technology won't be going away, and will likely get more sophisticated in the coming years. We'll look back ten years ...
by bradmeiklejohn
Fri Jul 11, 2008 9:46 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Chickaloon River
Replies: 5
Views: 5620

Re: Chickaloon River

The Talkeetnas are full of classic packraft adventures, and the Chickaloon can be the centerpiece of lots of different trips. One great route involves walking up the Kings River drainage along the Permanente Road, which departs the Glenn Highway near Mile 72. The Permanente Road is a good 4WD/ATV tr...
by bradmeiklejohn
Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:54 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Moose Creek - Palmer Area
Replies: 3
Views: 1229

Moose Creek - Palmer Area

Moose Creek flows out of the Talkeetna Mtns and into the Matanuska River east of Palmer. The take-out is reached by the Glenn Hwy and the put-in is accessed off the Buffalo Mine Road. Proceed up the Buffalo Mine Road approximately 4 miles on pavement and another 3 miles on dirt before reaching No Tr...
by bradmeiklejohn
Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:41 pm
Forum: Tips & Technique
Topic: Ways to keep spray deck from ripping open?
Replies: 6
Views: 2169

Re: Ways to keep spray deck from ripping open?

I installed a button snap on my spray skirt near the top. It provides just enough resistance to keep the velcro closed, but is still easy to bust open when you have to. You can get a snap kit at REI for a few bucks.
by bradmeiklejohn
Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:28 pm
Forum: Southwest
Topic: Aniakchak -- JT Lindholm
Replies: 12
Views: 6582

Re: Aniakchak -- JT Lindholm

Far, far better than the Meshik flatwater would be to continue down the coast to the Chigniks. Penair flies into/out of the Chigniks on the same route that stops at Port Heiden, thus completing your roundtrip ticket.
by bradmeiklejohn
Mon Jun 23, 2008 3:20 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Dog-friendly Packraft Trips
Replies: 2
Views: 1624

Dog-friendly Packraft Trips

As an owner of multiple dogs I am always on the lookout for buttboating trips that the pups can come along on. A key criterion seems to be a riverbank or shoreline that the dogs can run along without encountering major obstacles such as cliffs, roads, canyons or major tributaries. So far, I've had g...
by bradmeiklejohn
Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:48 am
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Chickaloon River
Replies: 5
Views: 5620

Re: Chickaloon River

If your plans involve the Chickaloon, be advised that there is a nasty strainer log immediately upstream of the Ledge Drop shown in the photo above. Also, the Chickaloon is running very high and feels like a big river for a little packrafter. This might be where Roman's PR rating system comes into p...
by bradmeiklejohn
Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:33 am
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Granite Creek
Replies: 13
Views: 4638

Granite Creek

Granite Creek, dropping south out of the Talkeetnas, is a beautiful clearwater creek that nicely combines the packing and rafting in roughly equal parts. This is a continuous Class III/IV run that shouldn't be attempted if your skills top out at Class III. Access is via the maze of ATV trails off th...
by bradmeiklejohn
Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:14 am
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Hicks Creek - Chitna Pass - Boulder Creek
Replies: 4
Views: 3594

Hicks Creek - Chitna Pass - Boulder Creek

A great 2-night/3-day trip involves the Chitna Pass loop described in 50 Ways to the Wilderness . If you haven't been to Chitna Pass, you owe it to yourself. Often described as the "Poor Man's Brooks Range" this area of the Talkeetna Mountains has great wildlife, great walking, Big-Rock-Candy Mounta...
by bradmeiklejohn
Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:54 am
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: South Fork of Eagle River
Replies: 68
Views: 25462

Re: South Fork of Eagle River

I think it looks good now (June 23rd). Be warned that there is some wood still in the river. The worst is a 6 tree jam in the segment between the road bridges.

Anybody want to go?

Brad Meiklejohn
by bradmeiklejohn
Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:56 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Willow Creek
Replies: 12
Views: 4420

Re: Willow Creek

The current level on the Willow (3.2 - 3.4 feet) is a ton of packrafting fun on the Guardrail and Red Gate sections. There is one cottonwood strainer several drops into the Guardrail section that can be portaged or passed on river left.
by bradmeiklejohn
Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:51 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Eagle River & Echo Bend 5/26
Replies: 1
Views: 998

Re: Eagle River & Echo Bend 5/26

I'm not sure what the upper limit flow level is for packrafting Echo Bend but it is still tons of fun right now at 3.7 feet. No wood, blue water, great drops and play spots, and spectacular scenery. I'm guessing that as the flow approaches 4.0 feet that Echo Bend may get too crazy.
by bradmeiklejohn
Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:47 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: South Fork of Eagle River
Replies: 68
Views: 25462

South Fork Status Report

Although both Ship Creek and Eagle River are running at good levels, the South Fork of Eagle River is still quite low and not currently runnable as of June 9th, 2008. Cold temperatures have minimized the glacial melt so that Eagle Lake is well-below full with little outflow. In fact, Symphony Lake w...
by bradmeiklejohn
Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:56 pm
Forum: Packrafting Gear
Topic: Break down paddle getting stuck????
Replies: 10
Views: 3347

Re: Break down paddle getting stuck????

I've had stuck blades on my Aquabound paddles and have used a razor blade to shave a tiny amount off of the male ferrule. Now, however, when the parts are dry the paddle is a bit loose. To cure that problem I put a bit of river silt on the offending joints, which tightens them up. The only problem i...
by bradmeiklejohn
Sat Jun 07, 2008 8:19 pm
Forum: Packrafting Gear
Topic: In Search of A Dry Boat
Replies: 22
Views: 5995

Re: In Search of A Dry Boat

The driest boat yet has arrived and it is a smash hit. Sheri, ever the innovator, has added some great features to the 2008 boat that are great leaps forward. The 2008 has an inflatable spoiler sewn into the spraydeck that prevents water from pooling in your lap. This feature is a bit like an inflat...
by bradmeiklejohn
Sat Jun 07, 2008 7:59 pm
Forum: Packrafting Gear
Topic: Alpacka offers new packraft Paddle
Replies: 21
Views: 7946

Re: Alpacka offers new packraft Paddle

Bad news on the beautiful Sawyer paddle, folks. I received one from Sheri and broke it within two days. One of the blades broke four inches from the tip (see the photo below). The amazing thing is that the blade broke while I was paddling. I didn't hit anything but water. While these paddles are bea...
by bradmeiklejohn
Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:12 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: New to Packrafting
Replies: 6
Views: 1781

Re: New to Packrafting

Dave, You might consider doing the Crow Pass/Eagle River route, which is a classic. The boating is fairly easy, although you should be on guard for snags and sweepers. You also should plan on getting out at Echo Bend because the next mile below Echo Bend is not for beginners. While this route is doa...
by bradmeiklejohn
Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:46 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Lion's Head, Matanuska River
Replies: 11
Views: 5689

Re: Lion's Head, Matanuska River

With Echo Bend, Six Mile and Ship Creek running at levels that are a bit challenging for packrafts, it's time to look elsewhere. Because of the cool weather, the Lion's Head run on the Matanuska is quite good right now. Jeff Jessen's description below still applies. If you are comfortable in Class I...
by bradmeiklejohn
Fri Dec 14, 2007 6:10 pm
Forum: Packrafting Gear
Topic: How to attach a spray deck
Replies: 6
Views: 3275

Re: How to attach a spray deck

I wouldn't mess with a removable spray deck. I think you should either have a boat with no deck or one with a permanently-affixed deck. A removable deck is likely to remove itself at inopportune moments, and the velcro seams will provide another point of water entry. Brad Meiklejohn Eagle River, Ala...
by bradmeiklejohn
Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:51 am
Forum: General Discussion
Topic: Safety First
Replies: 0
Views: 1158

Safety First

A tip of the hat to Forrest and Roman for promoting safety training specific to packrafting. Packrafting is just coming onto the radar screen of public land managers. It is essential that we collectively present a safety-conscious image. It would be hugely unfortunate if land managers perceive packr...
by bradmeiklejohn
Thu Nov 29, 2007 9:16 am
Forum: Packrafting Gear
Topic: In Search of A Dry Boat
Replies: 22
Views: 5995

Re: In Search of A Dry Boat

Late last night when I should have been sleeping but was counting rapids instead I had a thought. Not a revelation or divine inspiration, just a plain vanilla thought. The air dam as configured on Roman's boat is a full wrap-around deal, sort of like a doughnut, with the person sitting in the hole. ...
by bradmeiklejohn
Wed Nov 28, 2007 3:57 pm
Forum: Packrafting Gear
Topic: In Search of A Dry Boat
Replies: 22
Views: 5995

Re: In Search of A Dry Boat

I am glad to see Sheri joining this conversation. We love you for enabling our habit, Sheri, so don't take any of our feedback the wrong way. One of the simple things that I've done to modify my decks is to add a button snap at the top of the skirt. This helps keep the skirt from busting open at ino...
by bradmeiklejohn
Sun Nov 25, 2007 5:01 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Six Mile
Replies: 15
Views: 5626

Re: Six Mile

As of November 24th there was a river-wide strainer wedged in the 1st canyon just below 17th Ender and just upstream of the foot bridge.
by bradmeiklejohn
Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:54 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Six Mile
Replies: 15
Views: 5626

Re: Six Mile

Sixmile Web small.jpg
Sixmile Web small.jpg (1.24 KiB) Viewed 4692 times
by bradmeiklejohn
Thu Nov 08, 2007 5:51 pm
Forum: Southcentral
Topic: Ship Creek -- Lower Canyon
Replies: 23
Views: 7777

Re: Ship Creek -- Lower Canyon

You're right, Captain Swallowtail. It's time for an intervention.

Step away from the boat, Roman. Your wife and children need you. Don't do this to them anymore.
by bradmeiklejohn
Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:35 am
Forum: General Discussion
Topic: The Early Days
Replies: 5
Views: 2118

The Early Days

I'm opening this topic to elicit pics and tales from the Dark Ages of Buttboating.
The Early Days.jpg
The Early Days.jpg (226.57 KiB) Viewed 2067 times
by bradmeiklejohn
Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:26 am
Forum: Packrafting Gear
Topic: In Search of A Dry Boat
Replies: 22
Views: 5995

In Search of A Dry Boat

The quest continues for a spray deck that really keeps the water out, reducing or eliminating the need to stop and dump. As we push into more serious and committing rivers, this is a serious problem that needs a "Manhattan Project" approach. I've tried all the various deck designs produced so far an...