Current trail between Bethel & Kwethluk as of 12- 4-14
December 4, 2014 – Bethel Search & Rescue River Report*
BSAR members did a survey of the recently established trail to Kwethluk. This is what was observed.
With cooler weather and increased river traffic from Kwethluk to Bethel, a BSAR team did an assessment of the trail. The conditions they found were better than expected. The trail on the River is very smooth and ice thicknesses ranged from 8” to 12” along the entire route. Measurements were taken by chainsaw with a marked bar. The trail is all on the ice except for the one portage that comes out at Max Olick’s fish camp. No open water was visible from this trail.
This is a description of the current route between Bethel and Kwethluk:
Leaving Bethel the trail can be picked up just above the entrance to the small boat harbor. Right now it is just one main trail that has been well used. There are side trails turning off to nets but the main trail is obvious. Do not follow any single tracks.
The trail continues on up around Joe Pete’s Bend. It does not go through Straight Slough at this time. From Joe Pete’s Bend it crosses over to the mouth of Church Slough. The ice at this crossing was 12” thick. Ice through Church Slough was averaging 10”.
Coming out of Church Slough the trail favors the right (west) side of the River up to just below the Kwethluk/Akiachak Y. There is no trail up Kuskoquak at this time. Instead the trail turns into the Akiachak Channel and uses “Max Olick’s” portage (so-named because the upper end comes out at Max’s fish camp)
Coming back out to the River the trail goes over to the mouth of the Kwethluk River and on into the village.
Caution: there is still an open hole up near the high school. Travelers should enter the village from one of the lower landings like by the Sport’s Store.
Closing: No immediate danger was observed along the current trail between Bethel and Kwethluk. The ice is pretty thick – especially considering we’ve had a record warm November. There are no open holes. And there is enough snow on the ice to make the trail easy to follow. However it is slippery with just a little snow on top of glare ice and there are patches of shallow shell ice from puddles of recently frozen overflow so travel under 30 miles per hour is recommended. Also if the wind picks up or it starts melting again and the little snow we have goes away, the trail will be hard to follow.
BSAR will be working to mark this trail over the weekend if conditions continue to improve.
Safe Traveling from BSAR.
*Please note: This is not an advisory that it is safe for travel. It is for informational purposes only.