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Another from The Last Frontier

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    Another from The Last Frontier

    Good Day,

    I've been paddling some thing or another since I was 8 years old and won the canoe race in an aluminum Grumman at YMCA Camp Douglass in Michigan. Got my first boat in the late 1970's, a 14' glass canoe from Bart Hauthaway, raced it on the Kenduskeag, wrong boat for racing but also took it down the Dead, Pleasant, Sebois Stream, East Branch of Penobscot, St. Croix, all of the Down East Streams, Machias, etc ...

    Once floated with Mike Krepner down the lower Narraguagas River out into Narraguagas Bay and camped on one of the islands out there. We caught mackerel, dug clams, foraged chanterelles. Of course Mike had brought the canned corn, potatoes cream and white wine. Gotta be the best pot of fire brewed chowder ever known to man. The full moon rising over the bay driving the tides viscerally cemented my understanding.

    First learned to roll in a Gyramax C-1. At one point I could solo roll an Old Town Tripper as outfitted by the Boston Chapter of the AMC with the foam blocks along the insides. Did the AMC whitewater circuit in a Dancer. I remember competing with Roger Marshall to see who could collect the most and highest ratings. I tied him with Class IV in OC1, OC2, C1 and Kayak, but he beat me with a Senior Leader rating. One summer I guided sea kayak trips in Boston Outer Harbor from Hull Gut, kind of like playing on an expressway with a bicycle.

    A couple lifetimes later I'm up in Anchorage, AK where cold grey glacial water reigns. Love my IK for that, drysuits are de rigeur, rafts are too big and cumbersome, and I've been playing with a packraft.

    But, this is a canoe tripping forum. My darling is the used royalex Bell Wildfire I picked up used for $500. Just put on some Dynel skid plates having worn through at the stern. There is world class canoe tripping to be had here in Alaska. Forty Mile, Birch Creek, Swan Lakes / Swanson River, Nancy Lakes, Little Susitna, Gulkana, Delta, Yukon, and those are just the well known ones on the road system.

    The Swan Lakes / Swanson canoe trails are superb in my Wildfire going traditional bushcrafting style. Build a fire, catch and grill some rainbows or shoot a grouse on the portage.

    I'd like to trip the Kenai River from Snow River all the way down to tidewater, not sure what boat, might be a sea kayak because there are no portages and some large long windy lakes. I like solo tripping and my greatest fear is capsizing a canoe in big cold water far from shore. I can roll or renter my sea kayak in gnarly conditions.

    Bucket list is the Nahanni, but I'm planning on getting in as many arctic / Brooks Range rivers as I can while I am here. Forgive me if I take my IK as I don't have a folding canoe and most of them need a bush plane to fly in and out.

    I'm always ready to be a resource if you are planning on a trip up here, might even have a spare bedroom or a ride from the airport.

    For those other folks from Alaska, I'm always looking for paddling partners, keep in touch.

    Doug (Monel) Stephens
    Anchorage, AK

    I'll try to add a few photos.



      Welcome! Nice pics!



        Nice intro, Welcome.


          Thanks for joining us. I'm sure you'll find this to be a friendly, like-minded group of folks.

          Take care and until next well.



            Welcome Monel!

            After 65 years of canoes, I find some of my longer trips are now done in a square stern with an outboard. Especially on the big lakes.

            Should you get up this way, check in. The Delta Clearwater is a short trip on beautiful water full of grayling and I can always pick you up at the bridge for a ride back to your vehicle.


              Welcome, I need to get back up there someday. Have a canoe leaving the shop today headed to it's new home in Soldatna on the Kenai.
              Not all who are lost wish to be found..............


                Welcome Doug, and welcome to Anchorage it's a great town.


                  Welcome Doug! Glad you joined our group. I also travel solo and have been looking for a remote trip and have been thinking about NWT or Alaska. If I have to, I'll buy a folding boat, but not for this year. I just bought royalex Mad River Guide for tripping looks similar to your Courier...internet, if correct says the Guide was the next incarnation of the Courier. I am looking forward to paddling it on some rivers.


                    Welcome to board Doug! Nice to see someone else paddles a Courier! I have one and love it for whitewater, great solo boat for that! Mine was a rebuild also. Would love to hear what you had to do on that rebuild.



                      Welcome to a wonderful community Doug

                      Originally posted by Monel View Post
                      We caught mackerel, dug clams, foraged chanterelles. Of course Mike had brought the canned corn, potatoes cream and white wine. Gotta be the best pot of fire brewed chowder ever known to man.
                      I’m salivating just reading that, although I usually skip the fish and fungi.

                      Fresh raked (and bay water rinsed clams), steamed open over the fire
                      Fresh plucked mussels (rinsed repeatedly), likewise steamed open over the fire
                      Can of clam chowder (I cheat with the base, chef friends make it from scratch)
                      Can of new potatoes
                      Can of shoepeg corn
                      Splash of wine
                      Heated over an open fire

                      Freaking A, best backcountry eating ever.


                        Originally posted by Monel View Post
                        One summer I guided sea kayak trips in Boston Outer Harbor from Hull Gut, kind of like playing on an expressway with a bicycle
                        That was a pretty filthy stretch of water back in the day. I spent a summer working on Peddocks Island, just across from Hull, in the early 80s.


                          G'Day VernAK. Turns out I'm planning on floating the Delta from Tangle Lakes down to the highway in July. Looking forward to some grayling to grace my grill. I'll get in touch and look you up along the way.

                          BWCA66, Soldotna is Swan Lakes / Swanson River canoe country. What sort of boats do you build? I'll look for it!

                          Lowangle, what type of paddling do you favor? I'm always on the hunt for folks to go adventuring with. Not so many solo canoeists out any more, the packrafts have made it all too easy.

                          alsg, yeah, I paddled those water before the new sewage treatment plant at Deer Island. The inner islands, including Peddocks were kind of skanky, the outer islands were a bit better but I never did go in voluntarily.

                          Thanks for the welcomes,

                          Last edited by Monel; 03-22-2019, 01:12 AM.