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Patterson Lake Mission


At the start of the Alaska season, we send a crew up to Patterson Lake to check on our kayaks left there over the winter. This is remote Alaska. These kayaks were helicoptered in to Patterson Lake in spring 2011, in time for our first Active Adventures on our expedition vessels. This is quite the excursion for our guests.

Helicopter drops kayaks

The initial helicopter drop of the kayaks to Patterson Lake in 2011

kayaks in remote Alaska

A few of our kayaks at rest at Patterson Lake, Alaska

Our gung-ho can’t-say-no-to-adventure guests enjoy this trip immensely. It involves a hike of almost five miles from the shore to Patterson Lake where the kayaks are waiting for a paddle to the Patterson Glacier. After a paddle and time spent exploring where few people have ever been, the kayaks are stowed in the forest for the next group of adventurers and the group hikes back to the boat. It’s a long trip. But the smiles and stories told by those who accomplish it are proof it won’t be soon forgotten.

As you can imagine, critters large and small roam here and we are never sure what condition the kayaks will be in when we return after a long winter. After the first winter, we learned our lesson with the life jackets. Do NOT leave life jackets in the vessels. Critters found their way into the life jackets stuffed into the kayaks and gnawed away at the material to create nice, cozy nests for the winter. Here’s the report from the Safari Quest crew tasked with the prep of the kayaks for Alaska season 2013.

By Ian Strachan, Expedition Guide, Safari Quest
Mission Result: Resounding Success

Trail Overview: Six crew from the Safari Quest--Tate, Sam, Jackie, Joe, Monica and Ian--were dropped off in the inter-tidal zone of the Patterson River Delta with repair supplies and hiked the 4.6 miles up to the Un-Cruise Inland Kayak Base. The trail was very open and clear, with only 5 or 6 areas where trees had fallen that involved scrambling around/through.

Kayak Conditions: Kayaks were found still very securely attached to the rack. The lines used to lash them down were intact and there was no build up of foliage or detritus around the structure. Sign was not obscured. The rest of the line, used for rudder pedals, rudder pull and seat back was significantly eaten/destroyed. Upon inspection, 4 out of the 8 kayaks needed some minimal to moderate fiberglass repair. Two had minor holes/gashes on their hulls and there were some gouges patched up on three of the four. All paddles were in good condition.

Kayak Repair Report: The six crew quickly snapped into action, measuring, cutting and melting line to replace the rudder and seat line while Tate spearheaded the fiberglass work. I replaced a few of the plastic seat hinges and replaced seat hardware. After a few hours of efficient and rapid work all kayaks were finished, float bags inflated and installed.

Crew at work

The Safari Quest team at work cleaning and fixing the kayaks for the 2013 season of adventure

Fiberglass work

Repairing fiberglass

Lunch: Was excellent with a side of epic vistas. Conversation was of an appropriate subject matter.

We hope to see you soon on an adventure with us in Alaska!

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