The following letter was written to Larry Bartlett of Pristine Ventures.
I would like to thank you for your assistance in helping plan our Alaska wilderness hunting adventure and give you some feedback on the inflatable canoes that we rented from you. As you know, our party of three floated a North Slope river on a combination sheep, bear and caribou hunt in two of your SOAR Pro Pioneer inflatable canoes. It was an adventure of a lifetime.
Your planning service certainly saved us a lot of time and effort in logistical planning (both upfront and during recovery) and enabled us to have a most successful trip. Nothing ever goes exactly as planned, but this trip came darned close. We only had to deal with two changes to the plan and in both cases, the changes made the adventure even more memorable. We had to deal with some seriously low water for the first 7 or 8 miles of the float, and the pilot decided that he would prefer to pick us up about 40 miles farther downstream than planned.
The float would have been nearly impossible without the use of your excellent canoes. The combination of low water and narrow streams would have been most difficult in a raft. We did have to drag the canoes in the upper stretches of the river and I can tell you that the Pro Pioneers are extremely well made, tough and reliable. The patch kit stayed in its container. The canoes enabled us to access and successfully hunt an area that would have been extremely arduous at best in a raft. The beefy canoes also allowed us to carry considerable gear and meat that would have exceeded the limitations of all other canoes that I am familiar with. The Pro Pioneers are extremely maneuverable, stable and fun to float.
The extra 40 miles through the tundra was not a problem. In fact, we were able to see more bear, many more caribou and got some great close-up video of a musk oxen.
Floating and spending time in the Alaska wilderness is both a humbling and awesome experience and equates to success even if no game animals are taken. However, we also managed a 100% success rate on animals that we were hunting. Your canoes allowed us access to some difficult country and easily carry out all meat, trophies, hunters and gear. This was not an easy hunt, and a lot of hard work was required - exactly what we wanted. However, I am sure there was some luck involved. ...but of course those that plan well and work hard have more luck.
Thanks again for your great service. You certainly gave us more luck. I will be calling you about a future float hunt.