It was only a couple of weeks ago, but it seems like ages since I floated down the Karluk River with Jill and Matt. I got back and left for the field again so quickly that I never really got to think back on my time on the river. And it was a good trip. Matt and I both got Pushki burns, but the symptoms waited until we got back to town to get bad - and other than that nothing went wrong. Actually pretty much everything went right!
Beautiful scenery. I brought my good camera and even a telephoto lens. I wanted to get a good picture of a bear. But we never saw a bear, and I never even used my telephoto lens. I took the eagle pictures with my normal camera lens. Really no need for a telephoto when it comes to eagles.
Below is Jill taking test pit notes at a site along the river. She wanted me to take the picture because she loved the creek in the background. We nicknamed it 'Disney Creek' because it looked like a creek from a Disney movie.
We went VERY lightweight for the trip. When Jill and I flew out of Kodiak our total weight - including us and 2 rafts - was 690 pounds. That was so light that it had me worried we had forgotten something major. The weight also did not include Matt who later joined us at Karluk Lake. But our light load did make sense when I thought about how we did not bring a full sized teepee - or even our usual cast iron skillet and Coleman stove. We made do in the lightweight teepee I usually take elk hunting, and did most of our cooking right on the lightweight wood stove (see photo below). The teepee and wood stove weighed around 5 pounds all together.
The main reason we went so lightweight is that I wanted to fit into just 2 inflatable canoes. Also, I worried that if Matt did not join us at Karluk Lake that Jill and I would've had to fit into just one canoe. But Matt did make it and as you can see below the three of us and all our gear fit easily into the 2 canoes.
Going lightweight made it so much easier to set up camp every evening. The less stuff you have the less you have to carry up into to camp and set up. Less is really more if you want to get a camp set up quickly. And the quicker you get everything set up - the sooner you get the wood stove and dinner going. Patrick