Saturday, June 4, 2011

Floating the Karluk River

Two inflatable canoes and 1000 lbs of gear including four archaeologists.

Packed up to move camp

Patrick paddling us down river

Mary and Mark
Patrick and I
Mary and Mark, looking toward the mountains around Karluk Lake

We were lucky to have some great weather in the first week of our survey. We were also lucky that it had rained  right before we flew out there. The river was really high and we were able to float straight through sections that are usually so shallow you have to get out and drag your raft. The floating was so much fun that it really should not be called work!

Patrick has these two inflatable canoes that he uses for archaeological river surveys and I think he also uses them while hunting. Rolled up they each weigh 50 lbs. They are easily inflatable with a foot pump and can hold a lot of weight. We loaded them up with 1000 lbs of gear and people. They are definitely sturdy, but not really very maneuverable when heavy. Luckily the Karluk River is mostly very mellow.

On the first day we floated from the outlet of Karluk Lake just around the first bend in the river where we camped for 5 days. After that we floated several miles to Portage, surveying three sites along the way. That was a long day of floating but we had amazing weather. I also had a particularly awesome time because I didn't have a paddle. Patrick did all the padding for our raft! My official job was to take pictures. =) I even experimented with the underwater video mode on my camera. You can how shallow the river is!

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