Winner Creek- 20 mile

WOW!!! What a awesome trail. This must be one of the top trails in the country. Offering views, fauna and a great destination. Kudos to the hard working people that saw this project thru!!!

A group of 6 ( 2 young studs, 3 - 50yr youngins and a very strong 46 yr youngin embarked on this one day trip @ 6-a.m. 8/8/07. Raining as we began our hike - we found it very comforatble under the protection of the rainforest canopy. As we hiked this incredible trail we found it to get better and better. Arriving at the pass brought on feelings of lingering
in this alpine nirvana ( pics) I can see swimming here and camping and being very content with the world. The down trail to the 20 mile is becoming more traveled as I see it broading and opening up. This would be a bitch on a rainy day. One has to be careful decending here as there are many places to get caught up in roots and twisting or snapping something easily and the trip out would be painfully slow if not calling for a rescue. It is short though and actually fun. Getting to the put in took 6 hours with maybe 45 min total in rests and general bull. The flies made for a fast transition into the boats. WE all looked like we were dealing, not much talk and alot of action - were off - Well, we encountered our first sweeper on a quick narrow left with a tree trunk on the right side in the first couple of minuets - two of us almost went for a swim the third did. That being the wake up call - as we thought we lost a paddle and the confidence of the rafter was challenged. Found the paddle and the confidence came back - I postioned myself at the back now 50-100 yrds to sweep and be able to react to someone if they needed help - your not much help if your down river and have to come back up. I found that the advantage to being last is that you can watch were the rafters flow and how they react to the change in the river this allows you navigate and position yourself early resulting in a less strenuous and mellower float.
I found that after the long hike and being able to relax in the boat and positioned for viewing that this was most enjoyable… Actually focused on what surrounded us and not on moving forward and making the destination in a set time was like coasting down Haleakala Maui sp? on a bike from 10000 ft to sea level and taking in the view without peddeling.
The trip took 11hours total. We started at 6 a.m., put in the 20 mile @ noon and took out at the highway at 5 p.m.

I have feel that this is going to become a popular trip. High Adventure close to Anchorage in a multi diciplined trip. Over night would make this even more fun. Someone familiar with boating and paddeling can do this trip with maybe one refresher in the raft @ a local lake to get familiar with it and how to get in and out. Other than that it is about navigating and being able to get across the river and back with confidence so that one can avoid the sweepers and position themselves for a safe fun trip - with out a unexpected swim.
I made this trip to test out the Alpacka rafts before I purchase them for a rental business. Adventure rental and shuttle will be offering these boats and other unique gear (SNOW BIKES for the non river running season) and shuttles to assist in the logistics for groups wanting to have unique adventures in Alaska. We are working with Alpacka to offer these amazing boats for rent. Until now you could not rent them. Watch this site for more info about Adventure Rental and its offerings.

I had trouble with size of my pictures in the first post so I could not get them loaded. WFINLEY gave me a link to a free download from Google for their awesome Picassa picture editing software. I find this software the best software i have found for free. It atomatically reduces the size of the picture to a manageable size for the web. You can go to google search and puch in Picassa. I sent the pics to my desktop and then loaded them form there to this post…

On Saturday we floated 20-Mile; there were three in our party and we bumped into 3 others. We know of at least 2 others who were a few hours behind us - apparently it’s the thing to do!

The river is fairly high and shortly after the put-in there is one sweeper across the entire stream. This was the only sweeper we encountered. Further downstream the fishermen and jet boats are out in force - but they are pretty loud so it’s easy to avoid them.

Near the put-in we found a backpack and dry bag tangled in a tree. The dry bag was labeled “White”. Everything was waterlogged so we didn’t haul out the entire backpack; we did however haul out a jacket, water bottle, food, bear spray, some assorted fleece and keys. If you know who this backpack belongs to please let me know and I can get the gear back to them. I imagine they are really missing the keys.

We left the backpack and drybag sitting up on a log hoping that other rafters would haul out a piece or two. If you see it, be sure and grab an article (or two) and eventually it will be light enough to cart out entirely.

Below are some pix!