The following is a true story, only the names have been changed, to protect the guilty.

Monday, December 3, 2012

New Toy

I can't believe this is all you get for 850.00 $
 Last week I opened a new door to adventure, I got a packraft! I had the idea of getting a raft several years ago when the stories of bike, and boat, stared hitting the internet, but couldn't justify the need for one just then. I also didn't really want to spend that kind of money if I had no one to go with since none of my friends had them. Fast-forward several years and I meet ArcFlash (from this day forward, Steve shall be known as ArcFlash) who has the same addictive need for adventure as I do, and we decide to get rafts to further our quest for fun. He's had his for a couple weeks and has already done several short trips, so when I was ready to get out for the first time, he had a route already picked out.

We put out this wildfire on the way to the river
 Before the trip I had inflated the boat several times to get the knack for it. I also spent time in the basement the night before learning to attach the bike so I would not be wasting a lot of time when we were at the water's edge ready to go.
Oh look the bike matches the pack and the paddles, "for cute"

 I met A.Flash at his house early Saturday morning and we headed out to the Mississippi River for my first packraft adventure. I admit I was ill prepared for the day, I could have used more clothing, some food and a rope.
My first crossing of the Mississip'

It's so natural down there
 An extra set of gloves would have been nice, as well as a warmer jacket or under layers. It was December 1st and although it's been unseasonably warm I was cold once we got on the water and my stuff stared getting a little wet. The spray skirt I ordered with the boat would have kept me warmer and dry but I opted not to use it since I had not been in the boat and was unsure how likely a wet exit would be. It turns out the boat is super stable and being confined in the boat by the skirt would not have been an issue for me. lesson learned.
The lake appears to be very smooth

That's because it's covered in ice! 
  After making our initial crossing of the Mississip' we made our way to Pig's Eye Lake. The wind was really blowing on the river crossing and made the water quite choppy, but when we got to the lake it was smooth as glass. That glass turned out to be a thin layer of ice on nearly the entire lake. We thought we could ram our way through but as we got a few feet in, the ice thickened up and was too much to paddle through.The new plan was to get to the nearby island, walk across, and get to the open channel on the other side and complete the crossing. The one item I had that A.Flash did not, was my neoprene kayaking/water shoes. These proved invaluable in the pursuit to complete our route. Not being one to quit ArcFlash took my shoes slid them on and got in the water to break the ice and clear a path.
Great day for a swim in ice water

 A.Flash ordered the dry-suit from alpaka rafts when he got his boat, and this was just the test for it. The water was not too deep and the ice not too thick, I was laughing my ass off as he slipped into the water for the first time and stared breaking ice. This is when the rope would have come in handy, I was trying to pull his boat behind mine with a short bungee cord,which did not work due to the fact it was really narrow channel and I could not get any purchase on the ice with my paddle to move me forward. Eventually I had to get towed through the channel and up on top of the ice when it got thick enough to walk on. Meanwhile I was sitting in my boat barefoot in a small pool of splashed-in water, freezing. I was temped to walk across the ice once we got close to shore but my feet were numb and the thought of breaking through prevented me from doing just that.
Only about 500 more feet and were there

The ice is thick enough AF briefly gets on top of the ice before falling through, it's ok he likes doing stuff like this
Once we made landfall the rest was easy. We had a short walk on the island to an open channel, which we crossed in about five minutes. From there we packed up our stuff and rode back to A.F.'s house. This was a great little trip to break in the new boat, but has set the bar high for what we will do to complete a planned route.
That's a dead duck just to the right in the water

Time to pack it up and head home


  1. Awesome. I have been eyeing one for some time. Yukon or Alpacka? Bike went on okay? And mods to the raft?

  2. "it's ok he likes doing stuff like this" You bet I do! I only regret that it wasn't a blizzard.

    J-No, the raft sizes to you. Call them and ask. I'm 5-10 and the Yak is perfect for me.

  3. Are you serious? Mine showed up today... Mine is the yukon yak. Awesome!

  4. I think we're seeing a trend? This is going to be fun, Drew do you have any specific routes planned yet? I'm still waiting to see my blog linked on yours :)
    J-No I got the Yukon Yak and it seems a little short but not bad, I'm 5 11 - but I must have longer legs cause my knees are bent quite a bit, I also got the spray skirt which is necessary in cold water unless you like getting wet. I was out yesterday and was careful but still got wet without the skirt. I also got four tie downs installed so i can attach a bike with ease, I recommend these, it was only an additional 20 bucks for them. The boats are on sale right now, get one! You'll love it, and then we can get down to some real adventuring

  5. Boys and their Toys! Jealous. Deathrider- it looks pretty cramped with just a bike, would it be possible to get full touring gear and a bike in that little f'er? Man, what will they think of next, bikes that break down for ease of traveling?
    Ted L

  6. I could get a lot more on there, there are spaces in between the frame and some stuff could just go in my lap. here is no way it's going to sink, it's very buoyant. there are quite a few other people doing this already and have lots more stuff on their boats and in rougher water.

  7. Bad ass, man. I've got a bike or two to budget and then it's on!

  8. I envy this soo much. I would do almost anything for an adventure like that.