From Whittier to Chenega Island (Last Year)

Well, in the finest spirit of procrastination here are the links to a couple of web albums detailing a two week packrafting trip through Prince William Sound last May/June. We (Brett Roth, Jake Waits and I) had five or six days of beautiful sun and over a week of rain and clouds. Our original goal was the lofty heights of Seward and if we had been absolutely militaristic about moving along without lollygagging, the weather broke in such a way that we MIGHT have made it. But that’s just not our style. As it was, we decided to call it quits off of Chenega Island in the southern Sound, where my dad was anchored up black bear hunting. Then we kicked it with him and his hunting party for the next six days, before we all went back to Whittier. There was a ton of snow and it being last summer (cold) it seemed most days like it wasn’t melting at all.

Our route went like this: Hike/Paddle down Passage Canal to Shotgun Cove. Hiked over Shotgun Pass, paddled down Blackstone. Hiked over the ridge to Surprise Cove. Paddled down Cochrane to Three-Finger Bay. Hiked to Long Bay lagoon. Paddled out Long Bay, down Culross and across Port Nellie Juan to Mclure Bay. Paddled to Foul Bay. Hiked to Falls Bay. Paddled to Eshamy Bay (holed up in a friendly cabin for a few days while the rain poured down). Paddled to the head of Eshamy Lagoon. Hiked to Paddy Bay via Eshamy Lake. And finally paddled out of Paddy Bay across Dangerous Passage to Masked Bay on Chenega Island. It was about 75 miles total.

The hiking varied from fun and easy to nasty bushwacking, often within a half a mile. A lot of the lakes we wanted to walk across were too soft to hold us, so many detours became necessary. As it was, we cut out some of our hiking plans. The paddling was mostly gentle, but with some two to three foot swells on the beam crossing Falls and Main Bay (a little scary). All in all, not the best country for packrafting at that time of year. The brush would be much thicker in mid summer, but at least the fresh water would be unfrozen.

Ryan Hickel

For whatever reason, I clicked on these links - first one was “rather” limited, just showing one photo…second one was diametrically opposite, and… I looked at them all.

You guys obviously had a fantastic trip, and probably one to be proud of having done… BUT, in my “down-under opinion” you have negated almost all of this by the way it has been portrayed to “us all”.

Of the 109 photos offered, there are some absolutely spectacular ones. However, there would not be more than 30 (of the 109). If you’d done some serious editing (including rotating photos), I reckon you’d get some very positive comments about your trip, but to sit through them all was a struggle (for me).

I think it’s a shame to waste such precious trips this way. Sure, you’ve had a great time yourselves, but if you want others to enjoy it as well, it needs to be succinct, and visually appealing, and the number of repeated or average quality photos presented here has detracted from what is probably an unusually large proportion of spectacular ones.

Apologies for sounding negative, but you guys obviously have so much to offer, if it’s just presented properly.


Andrew, all you have to do is click on the single photo’… And the entire album opens!

Guys, thanks for the photo’s, I loved them.

What a fantastic trip in such breathtaking scenery, this will inspire quite a few of us.

Thanks for the feedback about the trip. It was a great trip for us and I’m sorry that it’s not as well presented as it could be. The problem is that we originally posted ALL of our pictures online to share them amongst OURSELVES, as we were all living in different places after the trip. To edit them now and post them on one slideshow would require a gathering of photos and an editing collaboration between Jake, now operating on gunshot wounds in an emergency room in downtown Detroit, Brett in Girdwood (who currently can’t figure out how to use his new TOPO program) and myself whose pathetic self doesn’t even own a computer at the moment. But it’s obviously possible and I will probably solicit photos from them and edit them myself in the future, wherein I will post a link to an single edited slideshow.

I apologize if the experience of viewing the pics was painful. I honestly didn’t expect most folks to sift through them all, but I suppose I should have. And I guess I should mention that Erin and Hig’s trip yearlong trip up the WA, B.C. and Alaskan coasts was my inspiration for this obviously much less ambitious trip. Their trip gave me the confidence to do this one. Packrafts “pack” a lot of performance. Ha!

Thanks and Sorry,


Don’t worry, I enjoyed your report. The other poster may have been a little zelous in his demands, I don’t see that dude posting sweet trips like you did.

Dear HammBone (and “rhickel”).

Yep , I now look at that post of mine, and agree it sounded harsh. I have been known to get up people’s noses that way, but I’m afraid I am just one of those “direct” people (it irks my wife as well, but at the end of the day, I’m not one to say anything I don’t actually mean, even if I haven’t been as sensitive as I should have)

It was done late at night… and having looked at the 130 something piccies ( of which, proportionately, far more than expected were fantastic), I was a bit “over” the dud ones by then. I understand rhickels response, in terms of sharing the photos amongst the group, but I still think a high quality forum like this warrants high quality photos… and rhickel certainly took some absolutely fantastic photos on that trip.

As to my postings and trips, I manage 1 x 10 day NZ fly-fishing/hiking/rafting trip (of consequence) per year . I’m based in Melbourne, Australia, where there is little to raft nearby, and, as a doctor (GP) with 4 kids, there is little time to spend packrafting. If you look on the Australia/NZ bit of the forum, or the video bit of the general discussion forums, you will find a video I did of our most recent trip packrafting in NZ. It took me about 3hrs to put together, and I hope it is “to the point”. Our previous trip did not have sufficent quality photos to be able to put together a sequence that I thought would interest others ------- perhaps I have unusually high expectations???

Lastly, I want to make sure that “rhickel” understands that the trip they did sounded fantastic, and a great achievement, and I didn’t mean to detract from this in making my response.


Hey, cool trip…I tried looking at your photos but it just sent me to a page trying to sell kodak printing services…do you have an updated link or something?

Hopefully this works: