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Hiking across Kodiak Island, Alaska
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Philip Tschersich
(Philip.AK) - F

Locale: Kodiak Alaska
Kodiak saltwater packrafting on 06/17/2014 00:07:30 MDT Print View

To get my feet wet (pun intended) for an upcoming trip to Alaska's legendary Shuyak Island, I recently did a weekend packrafting trip outside of the city of Kodiak, crossing the islands that protect the town from the Gulf of Alaska. We are blessed with some amazing bird and marine life here, and the scenery is not too shabby either. Take a peek if you have 7 minutes to burn:

Packrafting Chiniak Bay

John McAlpine
(HairlessApe) - M

Locale: PNW
Awesome on 06/22/2014 19:51:48 MDT Print View

Thank you for sharing your videos..... Absolutely fantastic! Those bears would scare tbe hell out of me.

Philip Tschersich
(Philip.AK) - F

Locale: Kodiak Alaska
Goats, boats, and bears. Oh my! on 06/30/2014 15:40:31 MDT Print View

This weekend was lovely and I did a mountain hike and packrafting loop. I am getting ready for an upcoming slightly longer hike/raft trip and so am taking some opportunities to get my kit sorted. We are blessed in Kodiak with tons of wildlife and I checked all the boxes for the critters I was hoping to see, though my bear footage is a bit sparse since I kicked a rock loose and spooked the fattie I was hoping to film. Oh well.

Check it out: Goats, Boats & Bears. Oh My!

Matthew H
(vision-quest) - F - M

Locale: Portland, Oregon
Re: Goats, boats, and bears. Oh my! on 07/01/2014 18:11:56 MDT Print View

Very cool! You have a beautiful backyard, thanks for sharing.

Matthew H
(vision-quest) - F - M

Locale: Portland, Oregon
Video on 07/01/2014 18:20:47 MDT Print View

I'd love to ask you a couple of questions if you don't mind?

1. What mount are you using for you POV shots? I presume those are all done on the GoPro? I've only recently bought one and I'll be using it for the first time on an upcoming trip which I'm thoroughly looking forward to.

2. Assuming most of your POV shots are done on the GoPro, are most of your tripod shots of you from a distance done on the P&S?

3. What is that inflatable raft? Looks really cool! Does it weigh much and is it relatively durable? Tempted to get one to help me reach some harder areas for my photography in the Columbia River Gorge.

THanks!

Edited by vision-quest on 07/01/2014 18:21:17 MDT.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Trip report on 07/01/2014 18:57:41 MDT Print View

Phillip,

Thank you for the beautiful way you shared your adventure with us!

Philip Tschersich
(Philip.AK) - F

Locale: Kodiak Alaska
Re: Video on 07/01/2014 22:43:07 MDT Print View

Q- "1. What mount are you using for you POV shots? I presume those are all done on the GoPro? I've only recently bought one and I'll be using it for the first time on an upcoming trip which I'm thoroughly looking forward to."

A- I hate to admit it, but for those shots I just gripped the tripod mount on the bottom of the GoPro between my teeth. I do have a head-strap mount, but since I have a QR plate on the bottom of the GoPro tripod mount (I use a Gorillapod Original tripod) and I can bite down on it securely, I just do that for the quick POV shots when hiking.

Q- "2. Assuming most of your POV shots are done on the GoPro, are most of your tripod shots of you from a distance done on the P&S?"

A-Yes. The telephoto and self-exposures are done with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20.

Q- "3. What is that inflatable raft? Looks really cool! Does it weigh much and is it relatively durable?"

A- I have an Alapacka Raft Yukon Yak. The Alpackas are sized according to inseam. I fit nicely in a Yak based on my 32" inseam. The boat weighs about 7.5 pounds. The paddle is a Lendal Kinetic Touring in 4-piece with an MCS bent shaft. Lovely paddle. The raft and associated crap (inflation bag, PFD, etc) adds about 10 total pounds to your base weight, so you had better really want to do some boating to drag all that extra junk along. They are really amazingly durable. You can slide over any number of smooth river or ocean rocks, though I recommend you are a little careful around sharper stuff. I wouldn't claim they are indestructible, but with some care they will survive more than you would think possible.

A few people have asked about the bears. Kodiak is a pretty safe place to be around bears. In modern history on this island, only one person has been killed by a bear, and it was not a predatory attack- the bear had claimed a deer a hunter had killed and left behind for a while, and when the hunter returned he got mauled badly enough to die of the injuries before getting to aid. Every couple of years someone gets slapped or chewed, but it is usually not too bad. The bears here are truly wild, wary of humans, and if you give them the chance they will leave you very much alone. There is a bear for every 1.5 square miles of land throughout the archipelago, and they add an amazing element to our landscape. I have solo sea kayaked thousands of miles and hiked many hundreds of miles around here. I have had a few tense moments with bears while waiting for them to decide what they wanted to do next, but invariably they exited expeditiously. Bottom line = you will eventually die, but from something else. Cherish the ability to share the Kodiak backcountry with the planet's largest land carnivore. :^)

Edited by Philip.AK on 07/01/2014 22:45:50 MDT.

Matthew H
(vision-quest) - F - M

Locale: Portland, Oregon
Re: Re: Video on 07/01/2014 22:55:30 MDT Print View

Thanks a lot Philip! Really love the way you've captured your journeys and hope to do the same once I've settled in after my big move. When I'm up your way I'd love to do some hiking with you, you seem like a good dude!

As a photographer and avid bear lover, heading to Alaska for some brown bear shooting has been up on my list for a long time.. unfortunately all the tours that allow you to safely do this in places like Denali and Katmai are so expensive! I'd imagine Kodiak is the same?

Forgot to mention also, great music choices in your videos. Some good bands!

Edited by vision-quest on 07/01/2014 23:56:24 MDT.

Philip Tschersich
(Philip.AK) - F

Locale: Kodiak Alaska
Packrafting around Shuyak Is on 07/09/2014 14:45:44 MDT Print View

I just got back from a 5-day packrafting and hiking trip I did around Shuyak Island, which is the northerly-most large island in the Kodiak Archipelago. I flew into and out of the old cannery at Port Williams on the south side of Shuyak, which is a mail plane stop. I did a counter clockwise loop around the island and hiked when that was convenient and paddled when that made more sense. I have been to Shuyak Island many times but this was my first time doing it in a packraft, which turned out to be the perfect tool for the job.

Take a peek: Packrafting around Shuyak Island

Anton Solovyev
(solovam) - F

Locale: Colorado, Utah
... on 08/09/2014 02:46:04 MDT Print View

Great videos! I recently got an Alpacka, did not realize it was so practical in coastal waters. How fast are you able to move? How is it compared to sea kayak? That kayak you are using in earlier videos seems to take a lot of abuse, is it polyethylene? Thanks!

Philip Tschersich
(Philip.AK) - F

Locale: Kodiak Alaska
Re: ... Answers on 08/28/2014 17:08:12 MDT Print View

Sorry it took a while to respond. I've been on a month-long crab research trip.

If there is nothing working in my favor or against me (wind, tide, chop, etc) I can cruise at 3.3 mph in the Alpacka. That is only about 1.2 mph slower than my sea kayak, which totally shocked me. The difference is that when confronted by challenging conditions, my speed drops quickly in the raft whereas I can maintain a good pace in my kayak. The raft is awesome when it's calm, but mediocre to downright poor when it's rough. Tail winds and following seas are always welcome. Anything over 15 knots beam sea has you crabbing sideways and you lose a lot of forward speed because of having to use a ferry angle. Head winds in excess of 15 pretty much stop you cold, especially when it is accompanied by a steep chop. I hardly even feel those conditions in my sea kayak.

The sea kayak is a polyethylene Valley Nordkapp. Awesome boat, and yes, I do beat the poo out of it. :^)

Edited by Philip.AK on 08/28/2014 17:09:45 MDT.