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Final Plans

Phil Lilley


Sorry for not writing more about our plans. Try to get current on our trip.

We mailed 5 packages to Kotzebue last week. Mailed 2 big soft duffle bags, one barely made the minimum size (108 inches) and weighed about 65 pounds. The other was smaller and much lighter. Mailed two boxes - the plano and another utility box. Sent them usps priority mail. Cost: about $390.00. Mailed them on 8/12 and they arrived on 8/17 with a weekend in between. Not bad. We have 2 more utility boxes to take up with us on the plane along with our 2nd check-on bag and carry on. We'll mail everything back except what we need for the second week usps ground from Kotzebue - we'll see how long it takes to get home using ground instead of priority.

Our plans have changed for our second week in AK. Instead of going to King Salmon and my cabin, we're heading to Kodiak from Anchorage and spend a week, or may be less. The flight will cost us $100 less than the flight to KS from Anchorage but we'll have to rent a car and pay for lodging on the island.

Why the change? I've never been there, Bill has. The silver run should just be starting when we arrive plus the char fishing should be really good. Next fall, we're planning on taking several groups of clients to Kodiak for KAA (Kids Across America) as a fund raiser so we're going to check things out and figure out the best plan of action. The plan is to take couples so we're going to look at bed and breakfast establishments.

I had bought a Canon 7D camera a couple of weeks ago thinking that would be the best all round camera for me. I had it 5 days and was totally overwhelmed. I'm not a photographer. I thought I could take a couple crash courses, plus I thought I had a line on a few camera lenses I could take to AK but both didn't work out. I took the camera back.

I bought a new Pentax Optio 90w, same as my 20 but newer. For this trip, I'm taking my GoPro, my Flip and my Panasonic minidv camcorder. I've bought extra batteries for all and should be set. Bought a couple of 16g sc cards off ebay too.

I bought a GPS and reserved a Sat Phone from this company - GPSphones.com We'll pick the phone up in Anchorage and drop it off on our way back through on the 6th. I don't think we'll need it but it will be handy if we get fogged in on our take-out day.

I check the weather for Kotzebue every few days to see if there's any changes on the horizon. None really. The outfitter said they're getting quite a bit of rain. That should help bring fish up into the headwaters. Again, the outfitter will tell us which river would be best for our float. Of course, we wouldn't want one that's high and off-colored.

http://www.weather.com/outlook/health/fitness/tenday/USAK0135 Highs are still reaching almost 60 but today's high was only 49. There seems to be wind most of the time which is a good thing- keeps the bugs down.

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Trying to put the gear together for this trip has been pretty much a full time job. After selling most of my Commercial Camp to Jim Johnson, I have put together a very nice smaller unit for two to 3 persons. At one time there was a rental place in Kotzebue to rent the entire camp, but the owner sold out, so we pretty much have to take all we will need for a 7 day float. Most other distinations in Alaska, you can rent gear. Usually about $150 a day for two people, not including the raft, which is another $100 plus per day, depending on the raft.

For this trip I purchased a new Coleman 2 burner 20,000 BTU stove, a complete kitchen from REI, and of course we already had a 4 man Alaskan Guide Series tent with 2 ZERO degree bags. I purchased two heavy sleeping pads that are really quite large and would not do to pack. They are 8 pounds each and are 3 1/2 inch thick foam. Compression pillows and dry sacks complete the hotel. 3 new camp lights from Rayban with 380 candle power on 4 D batteries for the light.

We packed our gear in two Cabelas Boundry Bags, 3 Plano totes, 1 Rubbermaid Action Packer. Price for those items alone just to transport the gear was $300.00 plus.

We each purchased a Orvis rod and reel protection box that houses 4 rods each plus the reels and terminal tackle. New waders and boots, and more beads and flys and leaders than we will probably use in a life time. We are taking 2 5wts. 1 6wt. 3 7wts.

We have also sent up dry food items for the trip, and will purchase stove gas, and any other food items before take off. Trip cost at this point is about $4,000.00 not including new equipment we purchased.

Let me state at this point, this is for about 16 days, and multiple destinations. About $250.00 each per day with the bush flights, lodging and rentals on Kodiak,and all the plane tickets. Not bad, YET.

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