Want to Plan a Packraft Trip?

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by JesseC, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

    Jesse, hit the Puyallup Washington Sportsman's Show this weekend and check on outfitter prices-most of `em will be there!
  2. zagnut

    zagnut Grad student, in fishing, and in life.

    Hey Jesse,

    Here is an idea that would still allow you to backpack in, but would allow you to carry more weight.

    click on "here" to access link
  3. Jim Hagenau

    Jim Hagenau Member

    The South Fork of the Flathead in Montana. You would need an outfitter to horse pack your rafts but you will be in The heart of The Bob Marshall Wilderness. This is very remote and great fishing.
  4. jumbo215

    jumbo215 Jasper hickman

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    Ive been brewing on this idea for awhile now and it sounds like somthing you would be interested in. A multi day float pack down the upper streaches of the Cascade river. There is plenty of river access way up there toward the headwaters and there will some serious hikes around sections of huge log jams. Too do it you would have to go ultra lite weight and plan on plenty of climbing and bushwacking. The reward would be fishing in areas that havent seen a fly, in my opinon the best scenery in western WA, a chance to float water that only a handful of people have seen. I floated from a bridge off a logging road to marble creek campground. According from the camp host our group was the first people that had floated that section since he had been there (3yrs). An absolutly amazing float, Ive floated nearly every raftable in Wa and the scenery was about the best. Picked up a few fish in really high water in early season but I can imagine once the river drops back in shape and water turns semi clear the fishing would be great.

    The float we did was just a small tip of the iceburg and soon as we hit the bank Ive been trying to figure out how to fully explore the upper reaches. Ive also talked to the most vetern river guide Ive worked with and they have made an attempt with a raft and didnt work well about 15 years ago, but with a packable boat it would be doable. If this sounds like something you interested in we can hammer out some details.

    Ive also got some more pics if your interested
  5. Bill Aubrey

    Bill Aubrey Active Member

    Jesse, sounds like a great trip. Jumbo, looks good. I am going to try to float a couple of Montana rivers this summer and early fall.
  6. Gregg Lundgren

    Gregg Lundgren Now fishing on weekdays too!

  7. jumbo215

    jumbo215 Jasper hickman

    Once you pass the campground the river changing from a meandering stream to about
    5 miles of continous class 5+ white water as the cascade crashes down to the skagit. The campground is both the take out for the upper float and putin for the white water section. Does that clear up the discrepancy?
  8. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

    The more it is discussed, the more intrigued I am. When doe the WW kayakers hit that area in full force, that might be something to go and check out. As for the above campground meandering, that is more my style. Sounds like the basis for a good trip plan gents, hope we hear more about it.
  9. Gregg Lundgren

    Gregg Lundgren Now fishing on weekdays too!

    Thanks. That clears it up for me jumbo215. Don't want to miss that take-out on the way down!
  10. JesseC

    JesseC Active Member

    Jumbo - I'm definitely interested. Lets start working out some plans. Looks like an awesome trip. I think packable rafts look like they'd be required to move around some of those jams!
  11. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

    I recall Cupo's photo's from the previous thread, and they mirror my impressions from years past exactly. I'd expect about as much portaging as floating (it will seem like it even if it isn't), and frankly don't think the fishing would be that good. I'll pass on this one and consider an alternative.

  12. JesseC

    JesseC Active Member

    Well- what are you suggestions Sg? Bob Marshall seems like a big winner from all the feedback I've heard.
  13. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

    That is a big Duh :) A trip to the upper SF Flathead would be incredible. If you use an alpaca type setup and practice good lightweight backpacking techinque (Ray Jardine's book on long distance backpacking is money well spent in ths department) you won't need to use horse packers. THere are several horse packers to use though if you need to for heavier boats, pm for details. There is enough water to float it all summer long.
  14. jumbo215

    jumbo215 Jasper hickman

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    As far as the kyakers/Rafters go they will be up there when the rivers flowing about 700-1000 cfs, up there thats usually in November or June into August. Not really much to see after you push off from the campground not really any place to watch em run unless you repell into the canyon. It would be tough to predict when guys would be up there, not a real popular spot. Theres only one outfit that runs the lower section in a raft commercaily.

    As far as the float we ran it took place in July and the flow was about 1900 cfs, I would recomend running it a little lower.Most likly in Auguest would be the best month.

    The pack/raft plan could take place much farther up the river it would inlcude alot of hiking/packing, but I would be really interested to revisit this idea in July and start making some concrete plans

    If find yourself up there the campground is closed but its about 1/2 mile hike down to the river but its a great place to burn a weekend afternoon
  15. Snake

    Snake tryin' not to get too comfortable

    The nice thing about using an alpacka and going light is its really easy to portage serious whitewater and logjams.

    I would highly recommend the S. Fork Flathead. I've done it twice (the past two summers), and it was awesome. I hired a horsepacker to go in, but it would be hikeable. Kind of a hassle getting your rig to Meadow Creek, and then getting to the start point, though (setting the shuttle).

    The Selway would be another good trip with an alpacka. Hike in from the end of the road as far as you want, then float back out. No shuttle hassles. Probably better later in the summer, though, after the flows subside a bit.

    The Wenaha would fun, too, but a packraft isn't really necessary, because there's a good trail next to the river the whole way.

    In July, I'm taking my alpacka up to Alaska to do the Swan Lake Trail System (http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/aktrails/ats/ken/swanlk.htm). Float/portage 10-12 lakes to the Moose River, 17 miles down the Moose to the Kenai, then 4 miles down the Kenai to my Dad's place. That was one of the first trips I did when I bought my alpacka 5 years ago, and definitely worthy of a repeat.

    Whatever you end up doing, have fun and be safe!
  16. Ray

    Ray Member

    Don't forget that you need a permit to float the Selway (above Selway Falls) between May 15th and August 1st. Sadly, after August 1st, most of the rapids turn into giant bone gardens and are a pain in the ass to negotiate or portage.
  17. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

    I am actually putting together a Selway trip for the second week in August. Any IK paddlers or packrafters out there want to join? planning to fly to Shearer from Grangeville, float the wild/scenic stretch and go all the way to lowell, or possibly kooskia. week long trip. We will then head over to SF clearwater and do some rock climbing around the lightning dome area. The permit season is May 15 to July 31. Aug 1 is a free for all, in every sense of the word. One Aug 1 I heard there was 22 parties that launched. During low water it is fairly easily done in IKs and packrafts by class III boaters. Rafts of just about any flavor are another matter when the gage hits about 1.0 ft. Any class III paddlers welcome