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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Karluk River Float trip

Nate, Donn and Matt on the raft

Yesterday I did a quick, one-day float trip of the Karluk River with Donn, Matt and Nate. A lot of people hunt, fish, hike and camp along the river, and we were helping the landowner come up with ways to minimize everybody's impact on the landscape.  My job was to help with the archaeology.  The landowner wants to make sure the archaeological sites are protected. I've surveyed the entire river and lake and know the area very well, and I had some suggestions for where trails and campsites should or should not be situated.

We started our float trip downriver of where I visited on another quick visit just over a week ago.  At the outlet to Karluk Lake, where I was on that trip, the bears have been demolishing the archaeological village sites (click here to read post).  On this trip we saw relatively few bears and the sites were all in great shape - no digging bears or really any site damage at all (just lots and lots of digging voles).  No damage that is until we got to the Karluk Lagoon.  There, we again saw lots of bears and lots of bear damage.  On the Karluk River the bears seem to be mostly hanging out at the outlet to the lake and at the lagoon.

In years past when I've floated the Karluk River I have always been on survey, and very focused on my job.  Every time I saw a likely spot for a village site I had to stop and go onshore and check it out.  Then if it was a site I'd have to stay a while to map and record it.  It was always vaguely stressful and very much start and stop.

So this trip was a real pleasure. All of our stops were pretty much planned and I got to sit back in my kayak and enjoy the river.  The fall colors were stunning.  Patrick

The fireweed has gone from red to brown to white in the last week

This was my view for most of the day

The lower section of the Karluk River flows through a sort of canyon in the mountains 

Nate and Matt standing in the middle of a REALLY big prehistoric house depression 

The Karluk Lagoon where we ended our trip - that is the village of Karluk on the left

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