PakCanoe Adventures
Kamoa River by PakCanoe, First Descent Print E-mail

Essequibo Headwaters Expedition, Guyana, South America (2000)


March 2000 by Eldon R. Gemmil

I gazed across the narrow channel, now at flood stage, and ochre colored from the oxidized iron of the tropical soils. It was a feeling of both relief and foreboding. One of those rare moments of truth when the culmination of over two years of planning, investment of time akamoa rivernd resources, and many days of grueling work as human pack mules had finally come to a reckoning. The critical question - is the upper Kamoa river, unknown to white men, capable of providing us safe passage back to civilization. The first part of the answer looked promising. Yes, the river was big enough for our 17 ft. portable canoes (or Pakboats) loaded with us and our gear. Since there was no recorded information on the river's size, and no maps including Landsat imagery that revealed its size through the forest canopy, the critical information could only be predicted. I had done this over a year earlier using some principals of fluvial geomorphology, a relatively new river science. Using Landsat imagery, one small segment of river that was visible enough to measure the wave length, amplitude and radius of curvature of its bends was found. This data plus measurements of drainage areas was plugged into some equations to predict a 40' to 60' wide by 4' to 6' deep channel. I even stuck my neck out and published this procedure and its results in the Summer, 1998 issue of Wilderness Canoeing Magazine.

Pakboats from Northwest Territories to Belize Print E-mail

PakCanoe as Travel Companion, From the Northwest Territories to Belize (2000)
Hi Alv and Linda,

We were just thinking of you, hoping that things are going well with you. You're probably off to Norway for some more fabulous paddling adventures.

Our Pak Boat is still a delight for us. It has taken us down the Mara and Burnside Rivers in the NWT, through the drowned canyons of Lake Powell, and along the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island (Broken Group Islands, a magical place) and the Sunshine Coast (Desolation Sound).

Pakboats on Upper John River, Alaska Print E-mail

Riding the Flood in a PakCanoe (2000)

Dear Sirs,

There are many rivers in Alaska that are hardly known to paddlers, and once in a while we decide to run one of them and try something new. Last year we picked the upper part of the John River in the Brooks Range. Pretty much everybody told us that the first 20 miles are not canoeable, but we wanted to find out for ourselves.

Pakboats Globetrotter Print E-mail

Australian Canoeist

Dear Alv

Thanks for your reply. I've been looking at the stories of trips posted on your website which has made me keen on doing more trips.

While travelling in North America, we did the Bowran Lakes circuit in BC for 6 days, the Moose river on the Kenai peninsula in Alaska for 3 days, a day trip on a river in Montana and a day trip in the Everglades. On the way home, we stopped off in New Zealand and did the Wanganui River for 4 days. I was very pleased with the performance of the Pakcanoe and it was a great conversation piece with other canoeists.

Pakboats on the Killik River Print E-mail

Killik River, Alaska (2000)

On short notice, my partner Linda and I were invited on a trip to boat on the Killik River in Alaska. There were several problems regarding this trip. Though we had tripped in my 40 year old Old Town Guide canoe, we had never paddled white water together, nor did we have a boat in Alaska. We bought airline tickets without resolving the problem of a boat, and I searched for river transportation.

Pakboats in 'Canoeing and Camping Beyond the Basics' by Cliff Jacobson Print E-mail

Pakboats Folding Canoes   - from the book Canoeing and Camping Beyond the Basics

Mention folding canoes and rapids in the same breath and you're apt to make experienced canoeists shudder. Too bad, because these canoes are quite amazing.

I first saw folding canoes in action in 1992, on the Hood River in Canada's Northwest Territories. The Hood is extremely remote - access is by charter floatplane from Yellowknife, 300 air miles away. The Hood has scores of big rapids, some of which go on for miles.

Pakboats on the Noatak River, Alaska Print E-mail

Noatak River, Alaska (1999)

Dear Alv, Linda, and crew -

We had a wonderful trip on the Noatak river last July. Our Pakboat was a great hit! In fact, our boat was the most photographed in the group.

Our trip started in Bettles, Alaska; a spectacular bush plane ride over the Brooks Range brought us to a plateau where the headwaters of the river are located. It was quite warm - temps in the 70's - and sunny. Snowcapped mountains and beautiful valleys allowed many options for excellent hiking.

Pakboats on Kuujjua River, NWT Print E-mail

Kuujjua River, Victoria Island, NWT (1999)
For several years, the Kuujjua has gleamed in my imagination like a jewel at the end of a long string of Arctic rivers. Located in remote western Victoria Island and 225 miles long, it represented a tough logistical and physical challenge. But, early in April, eight members of the Arctic Division of the Geriatric Adventure Society blocked out three weeks in late July and decided to try it.

Moving canoes north is always the biggest problem to be solved.

Pakboats on the Yukon River Print E-mail

Paddling the Yukon River, Alaska     July, 1999

Dear Alv,

I just had to write and let you know how well our adventure on the Yukon River in Alaska went this summer. First of all, our 17' PakCanoe was the star of the trip. We started out from our home in Michigan, flew to Fairbanks and caught a shuttle flight to Eagle on the river, all in the same day. It was very nice not having to make arrangements to rent a canoe and then have it transported to the river. We simply checked our PakCanoe as baggage and were on the river the same evening.

Pakboats on the Leaf River Print E-mail

Leaf River, Ungava Peninsula    August, 1998

Dear Alv,

Just a short note to compliment you on a great boat. As you know, I've paddled collapsible canoes for almost 15 years, and the PakCanoes are the best I've seen. I took my new 17' tandem and 15' (rigged solo) on our 200 mile trip on Quebec's Leaf River (R. aux Feuilles) last August. Both boats handled great. We flew to Kuujjuaq with the canoes checked as regular baggage (no extra charge!), and then chartered a float plane for our put in above Lac Minto.

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