Here is my brother Dave’s outline of the Copper River trip. He sent it to us the day after we bought our ferry tickets. Just to remind you, the group joining Dave include his two sisters, Julie and Mary Ann, and our three friends, Peggy, Roberta and Paulette.
Day 1-4: AK Marine Highway Ferry from Bellingham to Haines.
Day 4-5: David meets group with vehicle and we drive to Chitna (two days, one night. Camp somewhere along the way).
Day 5-6: Camp in Chitna at the put in. Sort food and gear. I’m imagining gourmet dinners, with beer and wine, lawn chairs, and lots of laughter.
- We will need a second vehicle (my truck) with two drivers to meet us in Chitna with the raft and other gear, camp with us that night, and drive both the van and truck back to Anchorage.
Day 6-12: Float the Copper River from Chitna to Miles Lake near Cordova (million dollar bridge). Big party on the beach that night.
Day 13: Early morning, a local driver picks us up and transports us and all our gear—rafts, coolers, oars, everything—to the ferry terminal at Cordova where we schlep it all on board that afternoon and arrive at my place in Anchorage that evening. (Cordova is not on the road system, although there are some roads in the area).
Day 14: Using my place as a base, explore Anchorage and South Central Alaska as individuals wish to.
Note: We could shorten this by about two days if we want to. But I recommend we have at least one layover day on the River. There is interesting hiking and exploring nearby. Or if the weather is bad, we might hang out for a day or two.
Expenses will include:
1. Travel to Bellingham WA
2. Ferry passage to Haines
3. Rental van from Anchorage to Haines to Chitna. ($1500 est.)
4. Two drivers to get vehicles back to Anchorage. ($500 est.)
5. Group food for about ten days. ($1000 est.)
6. Ferry passage from Cordova to Anchorage ($150 est.)
7. Discretionary spending in Anchorage and beyond.
Group Size: We can get eight people in an 18’ raft, six in a 16 ‘
raft. Six is better.
Food: I’ll do the food in Anchorage before I meet you, including meals from Haines to Chitna. At some point I will need everyone’s dietary preferences.
Personal Equipment: I’ll send out an equipment list, but the big items will be rain wear (jacket and pants), rubber boots, and sleeping bag.
Group Equipment: Tents, tarps, dry bags, and kitchen—I’ll take care of it. Should be able to get it from the University.
One word of caution: It could rain for the entire Copper R trip. We will be prepared for that with tons of good food, kitchen tarps to eat it under, tents to sleep in, and rubber dry bags to stow our gear, but each of us needs to be able to get from the beach to their tent site, erect their tent, get inside and out of their wet gear and into their dry sleeping bag. Everyone has to be able to do that. Whoever is still standing can serve hot drinks to the rest of us.
Risk management: We will have a sat phone, but there is no midpoint on the copper where we could get off early. We can get an evacuation anywhere along the river if we need one, but that’s an expensive option. We can use our sat phone to coordinate our logistics, announce a change of plans, assure loved ones, phone in an evacuation, but the pickup is at Miles Lake…with nothing that between it and Chitna.
This is only the first installment. I’ll confirm the costs and logistics, send out an equipment list, and answer questions as they come up. As we get closer to departure anyone is welcome to call me with questions.
Next blog: looking at the map