The take out is about 11 miles from the exit of Alsek Lake. After a large right turn in the river make sure your boats are positioned on river left. A tall cut bank on river left will give way to a large cobble beach, that’s your takeout. At this point you should have already made arrangements to be picked up by someone from Dry Bay.
Pro Tips for the take-out scene
Arrive at the takeout at least an hour before your scheduled pick up time. If the weather is deteriorating, there is a chance the bush pilot may arrive earlier than expected. It’s better for you to be waiting on the logistics people instead of the other way around.
Immediately start de-rigging boats and separating gear on the high flat area into piles of similar sized gear. Break down the frames and keep them together with cam straps. Your boats will have accumulated a lot of silt, which equals extra weight. Tip and rinse out as much silt as you can and let the boats dry a little while you continue to organize gear. When the boats are ready to be rolled, make them as tight as possible for the flight out.
The person who picks up rafting groups is a welcoming man named Brandt Graber. With a four wheeler and trailer, Brandt will start taking loads of gear and people to the airstrip. Once you arrive at the airstrip, start making more piles or similarly sized gear for the pilots.
The pilots who fly rafting groups out of Dry Bay are expert bush pilots. Depending on who you fly with, the pilot may be quiet and diligent or a bit more ornery. =Organize gear, lend a hand carrying things to the plane, but ultimately the pilot decides what and who goes where, so respect that element. They may even ask you to re-roll a boat if it’s too bulky or the shape is wrong.
If people are flying out in waves, make sure you leave food, water, shelter, bear spray, and sat phone behind in case the return flight gets delayed due to weather. Flights rarely get canceled, but it does happen. There is a food cache at the takeout that can be used to store food, or even people if need be. In 2015 two guides spent four days in the food cache waiting for the weather to break. Dry Bay has an extremely high concentration of Brown Bears made massive from the abundance of salmon at. Be mindful of that if you elect to go for a walk.
Bush plane at Dry Bay takeout. Photo by Steve Merrow.