Alaska Blog- Ice and Wind – XII

Haine Harbor

Haine Harbor

Hi Everyone,

I thought I should say a few more words about what it means that the ice is still in at Miles Lake.
Basically, the Copper is open from our put in at Chitna to Miles lake, about five or six days of travel down river, and frozen over from Miles lake into the Delta beyond flag point. It will melt, break up, and go away, but the question is when?

We have these options:

1.  The ice clears and we continue as planned.

2.  The ice doesn’t clear by the time we get to Chitna–we chance it and hope the ice will be out by the time we get to Miles Lake. If we are wrong, either we wait or we have a ski plane pick us up at Miles Lake (probably two flights at $200/person–just guessing)

3. We adjust and enjoy the drive back to Anchorage, hiking every day, stopping at the Kennecott Mine Nat Park near McCarthy for maybe three days, the Matenuska Glacier for two days, and arriving in Anchorage after maybe five or six days on the road. This could be a very enjoyable tour. We could even swing North and come down through Denali Park. One summer I was an REI Van Tour guide, so I have a model in mind that involves carcamping, hiking, kitchen tables, and happy hour.

I’m optimistic about the ice, but we have had a record winter and that snow fall is still insulating lake and river ice  over much of South Central AK. When it goes it will go fast…all at once even…but I cannot predict the date.

Here is what I understand our schedule to be:

6/3   David arrive Hanies

6/4   Group arrives: stay in Haines, camp along the road, or both

6/5   Camp along the road or camp at Chitna

6/6   Put in on Copper or camp Chitna

6/11 Camp at Flag Point

6/12 Orca Inn

6/13 Anchorage

We have seven days of food, beginning the first night at Chitna and ending with lunch at Flag Point. That’s one extra. Depending on when we launch and how fast we travel, we might have a lay over or weather day along the way.

In Haines we should buy two suppers and two breakfasts. Of course we can stay in Haines that night if we want to, eat at one of several good resaurants. After several days on the ferry, you might not want to start driving right away. Haines is a beautiful town. We should at least spend a few hours there.

Not sure where we will camp between Haines and Chitna (700) mi.) It might be an established place with all the amenities, and it might be a private little spot with only a good view. If we stay in Haines we will still camp one night before arriving Chitna.

Our drivers, the two Sarah’s, will not leave Anchorage until we call and confirm our plans. That gives us some flexibility in our choices.

I anticipate camping along the river outside Chitna the first evening of our Copper expedition and getting an early start the following morning. We should expect the wind to start blowing about noon every day. It can pick up sand and silt, get into your hair, and in general be a nuisance–but it keeps the bugs down. We should be up at 6 am and on the water by 8 am or so to avoid a head wind. We’ll float until the wind blows blows and then camp.

See you in Haines,


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