Questions- Alaska Blog -X

Summer in AK,

Summer in AK,

Hi, David. Our excitement is building for our adventure with you – I can sense it in all our emails to each other. Below are questions from the group – some questions are more substantial than others. But you can see that we have entered the serious planning phase! We look forward to your answers to help us with our final planning. And I know I can speak for everyone in saying we are fortunate you are willing to be our fearless leader! XO – Julie

P.S. We are not sure how you are going to fit the port-a-potty on the raft, but we are confident you have that figured out. I’ve given up on the generator for my blow dryer.

Hi Julie,

Thanks for sending the questions. h4


1. On the food list there are Xs next to all the items. Does that mean we will have all those items (e.g., snack items including pistachios, GORP, etc.) or should we buy extra snacks – like nuts, dried fruit, etc.?

The Xs indeed mean we will have those items. Based on my experience with this company, I don’t think you will need extra snacks.

2. Can we bring some things like hard cheese to supplement the food?

Yes, but I wouldn’t get too much. The caloric intake in our menu is substantial. Nevertheless, we can always take what we don’t eat home.

3. If we decide we want to bring extra things, should we wait to buy those in Haines/Chitna or get them in Bellingham?

Wait to purchase those extra items in Haines or Hines Junction.

4. We will want beer and wine. Should be wait to buy those in Haine/Chitna or get them in Bellingham?

Lets purchase alcohol in Haines. Its a little more upscale than what awaits us down the road.

5. I think we will bring a cooler on the ferry (per your earlier suggestion). Will we want to get a good cooler that can go on the raft too or a cooler we will leave behind?

Get something inexpensive that meets your needs on the ferry. I will have coolers for the raft–although room is limited. We can make the final cooler decision at our campsite in Chitna the evening before we launch.


1. Is the place we are staying in Cordova called the “Orca Adventure Lodge?”

Yes. they are also picking us up at Flag Point.

2. If so, it looks like there are rooms for 2 and also suites for 3-4 persons. Do you want any help figuring out these accommodations?

I took the liberty of booking two rooms with triple occupancy each ($70). We can change those reservations anytime.  I might sleep in my tent–don’t be alarmed, I like it there and everyone knows me.


1. Day packs for hiking are on the list. Can you describe what the day pack should look like? How substantial does it need to be? Will we use the pack for items we need with us on the raft (like water bottles, glasses, camera) or will we need something else for on the raft in addition to a day pack?

A book bag or something similar will be just fine. I’m not sure what the hiking will be like, although I will do some research. I expect it to be brushy along the river and more open higher up along the river valley. There are interesting historical artifacts for us to hunt for, since the rail line for the Kennecott Copper Mine followed the CR. The state considered a trail over the old rail bed but the bridges necessary over the CR tributaries makes that unlikely.

Anything that cannot get wet will need to be put away. Water bottles should all be out and handy. Small cameras should be in plastic bags (one gal zip locks) and in your pocket. We can access anything during breaks, and if we need to while we’re afloat–although you can imagine it will take some effort to dig out gear while we are underway. I’ll bring a roll of trash compactor bags (the most durable) to line the inside of day packs. Rafting is a little like nesting–you find your spot and situate your day pack and water bottle near by.

We want to avoid lose clutter in the raft because it will likely get wet or blown over board when the wind comes up (every day at about noon).

Roberta has a specific question: “My backpack is my camera bag so I plan to use a fanny pack for hiking food. Also, since I want my camera at hand I have a dry bag just for it. Will my plans work? Roberta”

Great plan, Roberta. Your camera gear will be dry and all together. Your fanny pack will work fine for hiking. If anyone else is bringing an expensive camera or a camera with assorted lenses you should buy a suitable dry bag for that gear. The trash compactor bag liner idea will work fine, but if your camera is expensive, then it makes sense to compliment it with a suitable dry bag.

2. How big are the dry bags? What will we need to put in them (e.g., will we put our sleeping bags and pads in the dry bags in addition to our clothes and personal gear)?

The dry bags need to be big enough for everything that is not in your day pack or in a communal trash compactor bag (TCBs). We will line them with TCBs just to be sure everything stays dry. Yes, pads will go in our dry bags, but maybe not chairs.

I have not yet found the dry bags, but my plan is still to supply them. I thought I would arrange the dry bags to be sure we all have the right product. I know dry bags are available either through the school, as a rental, or something I can borrow from friends. I’ll send everyone a product description so that if you wish to purchase one you know what to shop for. But because they are so specific to rafting, and frankly, so important, I plan to provide

3. You indicated it would be a good idea to have chairs. Do we need to supply those, and if so, what kind? I am thinking of the padded cloth chairs Tom, Will and I used with you on our Alaska trip. These are chairs that sit on the ground with a strap that connects the seat and back – no metal parts. Is the type you have in mind?

Yes, you need to supply them. Chairs without large metal frames that sit on the ground are what we are looking for. Chairs are important for beach life, but if you can sit in the yoga position with your back straight and unsupported, you probably don’t need one. We will spend a lot of time on the beach, hanging around the kitchen stove, reading, snoozing, playing bridge, drinking hot drinks. Chairs are nice.

4. Iodine for purifying water is on the list for us to get. Do you have a recommendation about what specifically or should we just go with what REI recommends.?And how much? I (JM) am happy to get it when I know what and the quantity. h4>

We will use iodine because its simple and fast. You don’t have to treat your water if you are careful about where you fill your water bottle. But the problem is that birds as well as lots of other critters carry giardia and cryptosporidia. The symptoms don’t develop for a few weeks, but when they do they can be uncomfortable–although these diseases are completely treatable with Flagil. I will bring a filter in case any one objects to iodine, but filtering is slow and far from being a sure thing. Silt will quickly clog the filter and I never feel really secure when I’m filtering water.

5. On this list are mug, bowl, and spoon. Is it intended that we each bring our own for sanitary reasons or could I (JM) bring these for everyone since I have enough?

I said bring your own because these days everyone seems to have their favorite travel mug. JM could certainly bring bowls for everyone is she wants. A mug with a top is nice for camping for all the same reasons it is for

6. Will we have a pretty good sense of what the weather will be for the week when we put in on the raft or will it be unpredictable? (I -JM- ask this for planning purposes. If the weather looks warm I will pack an extra pair of underwear or two no matter what David says!)

We might have a weather forecast, but essentially it will be difficult to predict. My concern is that each of you is warm enough to hang out when it gets windy or if it gets rainy. There is a point where we bail for our tents and sleeping bags, but being cold on a daily basis is no fun. Remember, you can bring that extra piece of clothing to Chitna and we can send it back to Anchorage if we decide you don’t need it.


1. Do you want us to send money now? Should we each just be prepared for the expenses he’s described for the trip & bring our cash & credit cards to deal with it along the way?

I haven’t really paid for anything yet. The car is
on my CC, so is the Orca Inn, and the food will be too, but nothing has been charged yet. I think it can all wait until everyone arrives.


1. Will we have time to read on the rafting portion of the trip? (We are trying to figure out how many books to bring…)

Yes, you will do a lot of reading on this trip, including while on the raft, hanging around camp, and in your  tents as well.

I’m excited. A little nervous about the ice on the river, although I expect it to breakup before our trip.

More later,


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