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Naha Recreation Area Backpacking

Trips

All trips will meet at KAP at 7 AM on the day the trip begins. For each trip, there is a mandatory meeting for both participants and parents/legal guardians the Saturday prior at 12pm, where we will go over the itinerary, and expectations, and pack the bags. Here are the details. It will be an opportunity for participants to meet and for Staff to answer any questions.

Backpacking

Naha Recreation Area

  • June 13-17

  • July 11-15

  • Aug 15-19

Sign up for a 5 day/4 night backpacking trip into the Naha Recreation Area. These trips will take 6 middle school-aged youth and two Staff on a summer adventure where we will fish along the Naha river, and learn wilderness navigation, fire safety, and campsite management. We'll be staying in the Forest Service Cabins located at Jordan and Heckman Lakes which make this trip great for first-time backpackers.

What to Expect

Backpacking is a lifestyle. Those who participate learn self-reliance, patience and resourcefulness/problem-solving skill.   There is no room-service, grocery store or dish-washer; a backpacker maintains their own gear, cooks their own food and cleans the dishes and keeps gear in good repair. Participants on these trips will learn teamwork and will work together to cook meals, harvest water, and prepare for each day. 

 

 The Naha Recreation Trail is 6 miles long and travels along a mix of board walk and trail. The difficulty is low as the terrain in fairly level; there are no substantial elevation gains, some hills but no big climbs. The trail contains obstacles consisting largely of wind-fall timber and overgrowth. The is also plenty of mud as one would expect but with careful steps one can travel the 12-mile round trip without getting waterlogged.

The hiking will be broken up as follows:

  • Day 1: Naha Bay dock to Jordan Lake Cabin; 4 miles

  • Day 2: Jordan Lake to Heckman Lake cabin: 2 miles

  • Day 3: Day hiking/fishing with day packs

  • Day 4: Heckman Lake to Jordan Lake Cabin; 2miles

  • Day 5: Jordan Lake to Naha Bay dock; 4 miles

The cabins are dry (mostly) and provided there is wood for the fireplace they will be warm too (and dryer). The cabins are open to the public so we cannot guarantee the availability of firewood.

Participants must pack only those items on the packing list. As each participant will be carrying part of the groups supplies there will be no room for extra food, beverages or equipment. Some exceptions can be made so contact us if you would like to pack anything not on the packing list

Participants will carry their own personal gear and a share of the food and equipment. Packs will weigh approximately 35lbs. We use the REI Tarn 65 to outfit our participants which is a completely different type of backpack than the typical school backpack or an external frame backpack. We fit each pack to the participant before the trip and will help make adjustments as needed along the way.

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12 Miles Round-Trip
 

Hiking with a pack is a different experience. The packs we use are designed to carry weight along trails for great distances by transferring most of the load to the hips. A properly fitted backpack makes all the difference, but there is still a lot more "gravity" in each step so it's important we make our way carefully- the biggest threat on this trip is the Trail.

The longest hike we'll do on any given day with our packs is 4 miles. This isn't a lot, but you'll feel it by the time we get to the cabin. It's important you understand backpacking is physically challenging and requires focus and determination.  This trip is ideal for a first-time backpacking experience, challenging but not physically overwhelming. 

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Safety

KAP's primary goal with this trip to bring all 6 participants back safely.  All the requirements are for this purpose. Staff will have both a satellite phone for emergency and a Garmin inReach handheld device so you can see our location during the trip. 

 

Backpacking is a basic, long-term practice which involves an element of comfort as an aspect of safety- to go great distances we need rest and recovery.  Backpacking is about thriving in the wilderness as opposed to survival. We practice minimalism- we pack in everything we need (and pack out everything we bring), and we develop endurance to travel the distance and learn about preparedness.  Backpacking is also about teamwork, knowledge, respect and teaches self-awareness and confidence. KAP Director and Lead Guide Andy Eisenberg has experience as a professional backpacking and climbing guide and has been enjoying his travels in the wilderness for three decades. As a professional Andy carries a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Wilderness First Responder certification. These trips are organized to benefit the participant's connection to the land upon which we travel. The goal is to teach the skill of staying safe in the wilderness and being open to experiencing the magic and beauty one can find in wild places. 

 

Water

We will need water to drink and to catch fish from, so water safety is twofold.

We will be fishing from forest Service skiffs and the shores of the Naha River, Jordan and Heckman Lakes. PFDs will be packed in for boating and we will fish in groups with Staff present and directing all fishing activities.

 

 

Hydration

We will use the Katadyn Hiker (0.3 micron pleated glassfiber filer) for our drinking water, hand washing and kitchen clean up. We will also boil water. This will be one skill we learn- how to manage drinking water safely. We will cover proper filtering practices and organization of water containers and gear, and how to prevent contamination from the filtering process. Dehydration reduces our capacity for good decision making, softens of coordination and weakens our body. We will stay hydrated as a matter of safety, but also because the water we drink will taste better than what we're used to. There is no shortage of fresh water on our trip and will draw from the best sources of clear running water.  

Nutrition

Everything we eat we have to pack in so it creates a logistical challenge. Our menu relies on the tried and true backcountry kitchen. We will all have a chance to help prepare a meal and learn about backcountry food safety.  ITs important we eat at every meal and for some this will be a challenge. we will have some options for a variety of eaters but the nature of backpacking calls for packable staples, such as oatmeal, pasta, flat breads/tortilla, dried or canned meats and fish, dried fruits, cheese, trail mix, nut butter and some vegetables.  If you child is uneasy with these foods we encourage you to introduce some of these items  int he diet now in preparation for the trip. We use honey and raisin for sweetening, coconut oil and nut butter for fat/energy content and oats and wheat based foods for carbohydrates. 

 

Hand Washing

This is perhaps the most common cause of transient stomach/digestive illness in the back country.  We will wash hands before all meals, after the bathroom, and all fishing activities.  We will also use hand sanitizer when on the trail.

The Trail

This is our biggest threat. Each step is an opportunity for a injury but fortunately we all have a lot of experience walking!  We need only stay focused on the trail at our feet and think "one step ahead". We won't be in a rush and  we'll take several breaks so our pace will be easy going. Trail safety is  easily managed but avoiding injury requires each hiker to stay relaxed and focused.

 

Wilderness 

We will be in a wilderness environment so as a rule we don't take unnecessary risks, which includes rough-play, or any behavior which can cause accidents or injuries- there is plenty to do otherwise. We must treat all gear with respect as it provides us with sustenance, shelter, warmth and comfort and all of that equals safety.  Backpacking teaches us to appreciate the tools which allow us to go further in relative safety and comfort. Staff will be present at all times to instruct and assist participants.

 

All trip participants, along with KAP Staff, are responsible for maintaining camp. Participants must follow direction from Staff at all times. We will learn to share the tasks required to maintain our health and keep the group safe and ready for adventure. We also have a responsibility to care for the land and we will practice Leave No Trace skills and act as stewards of the Naha while are on this adventure. We will work together, each taking a turn and the many disciplines required each day and learning the skill of wilderness travel. 

Overall, this trip is easy to moderate, and the distances we must cover and short. We need to behave with respect to both the  beauty and risk inherent in wilderness adventure and accept the personally responsibility to be safe and maintain comfort. We will only be successful in accomplishing our goal if we can instill this respect in our participants.  Please help by introducing these ideas with your child and talking about wilderness safety. KAP staff is available for any questions or comments you may have.

Food

Our diet, aside from what fish we may catch, will include the following staples:

​Breakfast

  • Oatmeal

  • Eggs

  • Pancakes

Lunch

  • Dried Meat; Beef, Pork Salami, Jerky 

  • Cheese

  • Cliff Bars

  • Whole Wheat Tortillas

  • Peanut Butter

  • Honey

  • Tuna fish

  • Salmon

 

Dinner

  • Couscous (wheat pasta)

  • Quinoa (grain)

  • Angel Hair Spaghetti

  • Alfredo and Red Pasta Sauce  

  • Curry

  • Fresh Veggies

  • Tuna and Salmon

Activities

There is plenty to do during camping. Our focus for this trip will include the following:

 

  • Maintaining and preparing our cabin.

  • Water Management and Education

  • Meal Prepping and Cooking

  • Fishing

  • Hiking

  • Day Hiking/Wilderness Travel - Reading topo maps/route planning, learning how to recognize and follow game trails, identify and harvest from safe water sources, and build emergency shelters.

  • Fire Safety - How to find dry wood, how to build a fire.

  • Trout Fishing - We'll cast into some spots along the Naha River above Jordan Lake and take the skiff out on the lakes to try our luck with bird, flora, and fauna identification.

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Sign Up

We are very excited to offer this opportunity and take this responsibility very seriously. We look forward to sharing this adventure with you! You will need to do a few things before you are signed up. Below is all the information you'll need so please read it carefully and contact us if you have any questions. 

  • All backpacking participants must be "willing participants."

  • All participants are responsible for maintaining camp, preparing meals and caring for equipment.

  • Participants must follow direction from Staff at all times. We encourage backpackers to share experiences and ways to do things, but Staff will decide how and when thing as done. Safety is the main concern. 

  • Short essay by the prospective participant which states the reason why they wish to join in the adventure, what experience they have in the outdoors (no experience necessary), and why they feel they are up to the challenge. 150 words or more. Please include Participant Name and Trip Date and send to andrewe@rycalaska.com.

  • Trip permission and medical information form completed.

  • Review of the packing list.

  • Attend mandatory meeting the Saturday prior to your trip. 

Click here to begin the registration process