Last weekend I had my first paddle with my Yukon-Yak raft from Alpacka rafts. Out at my folks place in the country we have a small river that twists and winds its way thru farmland for 20-30 kilometers before finally linking up with the much larger North Saskatchewan river.
|Packed down to the river|
|Topping it off|
|"Tempering" the raft|
Since I dont plan on running any whitewater with this raft I decided to forgo the skirt to save some $$ and weight. I stepped into the raft, sat down, placed my backpack in between my legs and "schootched" off the shore. If I was packing more gear I may have to lash the back to the bow of the boat but with my usual 1-2 day loadout I can easily place the back where it sits in the above photo.
The new hull designs of the rafts track quite well for a flat bottom boat. Under very hard upstream paddling the boat yaws from side to side but still makes good forward speed. The sawyer paddle is VERY nice to paddle with and quite adjustable. For most of my paddling I will keep it quite extended and seem to prefer a 15-20 degree difference between the blades. Much to my amazement very little water gets into the boat during normal paddling. The hard upstream paddles would sling a few droplets onto my pack but nothing I would worry about.
|Silently floating along|
The river is sitting about 2-3 feet above its normal water level which let me float over areas where I would normally have to portage (like the 2 beaver dams I could effortlessly float over). Its amazing how the photo opportunities change when your sitting on the water moving silently, I'm very much looking forward to some early morning coffee's aboard the raft.
Once I made it to the end of my little adventure I deflated the raft and made the short hike home. The temperature was sitting at about 5C to 10C with a moderate wind which made fiddling with the silnylon stuff sack a little cold for the fingers but will be a non-issue once the temps climb a little higher. The next packrafting adventure (while I wait for the lakes ice to melt) will be a longer 2 day paddle along this river...which could possibly be quite a bit more lively that I had planned due to the massive quantity of snow we accumulated this winter!