Wood rafters Kuskokwim adventure

Tecumseh Hensely (at left) and Bailey McCallson of Bethel went on a log raft adventure on the Kuskokwim from Aniak to Bethel last week. They arrived home early Saturday morning after a great trip experiencing wild Alaska. photo by Kelly J. Lincoln

by Delta Discovery Staff


n adventurous pair can be found in Bethel’s very own Bailey McCallson and Tecumseh Hensely. They had a grand adventure on the Kuskokwim this past week, sailing their self-made log raft from below Aniak to Bethel and arriving last Saturday into homeport.

They made their log raft on their own, figuring it out as they went – a first time log rafting Kuskokwim Alaskan experience – and strengthening that bond of friendship.

How did you come up with the idea to do the log raft?

“We just wanted to go on an adventure together”, said Tecumseh. “I had a week off from work and was a good time to go logging.”

“It was always just that Alaskan thing you want to do, really appreciate and get out into it. Nature is really the biggest draw,” added Bailey.

Huge ice chunks were a hindrance but the two got the job done.

“The first day we were collecting logs there wasn’t very many logs that were flowing. We’d see them on the high banks and in between us there was a ton of huge ice, the biggest ice chunks. We ended up having to pull them all the way over the ice and down and bring them to our raft. We made it a lot more work than we had to make it. The others ones though we just fished them as they came down the river,” said Bailey.

Did you camp?

“We stayed in my father-in-law’s cabin the whole time we were out there,” said Tecumseh.

Were there any other challenges, besides the ice?

I think just fetching the logs, for the most part,” said Tecumseh. “And then learning how to build the raft was definitely different. We built one raft initially and then we built another one and we joined them together.”

“We didn’t really have any experience, we had some pointers from people who were logging. We had a hard time, we were figuring it out ourselves, mostly,” said Bailey.

What are you going to do with all your wood?

First we are going to get it off the river, then we’re going to round it, and get it chopped, and keep it dry,” said Tecumseh. It will be firewood.

Do you have plans on going on another log raft adventure?

“I definitely plan on doing this again for sure for as long as I can,” said Tecumseh.

“This was just something that was more for the experience because I think that is what life is about, it’s about your experience,” Bailey said. “If you really love somebody or you want to love them more and its someone you care about then I think you should go out and do some hard work together or do some adventuring and chase that stuff. Experience is better when it comes in two,” added Bailey.

The team borrowed Tecumseh’s father-in-law’s 18’ extra plus Wooldridge boat with a Suzuki 140 that powered the trip. But there was more than that that fueled the adventure. The two friends share a birthday – born on the very same day only two hours apart in the same hospital, they are closer than brothers.

“My adventure buddy,” said Bailey.

Thumbs up and we wish you many more happy adventures!