Will they float?

Once the farmers and city folk had built their first boats from handcut logs, they faced the challenge of descending the Upper Klutina River to Klutina Lake. Here was the true test of their boat building efforts.

Although the Upper Klutina was little more than a glacially swollen creek, its waters proved treacherous for many of the boats, especially the boats that had been built with little knowledge or skill -- the rafts that looked more like oversized packing crates. These soon disintegrated in the rough and tumble of the creek's strong currents and silt-laden rapids.

Diarists report numerous prospectors watching wet and bedraggled from shore as their year's worth of supplies vanished into the glacier stream's turbulent waters after their boats disintegrated or overturned. Having successfully avoided the glacier's crevasses and avalanches, they now fell victim's to its melt waters.

Those with better boats and boating skills soon learned how to steer a safe course through the rapids or uprooted snags or to jump quickly from the boat to shove it off a bar. So frequently did they have to climb out to keep the boat from being swept side-ways in the current that Copper River Joe dubbed the offending stream, "Wet Seat Creek."


Thus it was with relief that the prospectors finally landed at Peninsula Camp at the head of Lake Klutina.

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