Customer Spotlight: Luke Rollie Rogers
Alaskan Luke Rollie Rogers is traveling around the world for one year. He recently sent us an email and a stack of fun photos to share with our fans. Thanks Luke! We’re a bit envious, but also super stoked for you. Stop by the Alpacka shop if you’re ever in Southwest Colorado.
Story and photos by Luke.
I grew up in small-town Fairbanks, Alaska. Each summer my family went on a one- to two-week raft trips under the midnight sun. On those trips, I developed a love for wilderness and a passion for floating on free-flowing rivers.
So, I’ve packrafted for over four years now. In that time, I’ve done several different style packrafting trips, from hike in overnight adventures to float out day trips. I’ve been to the Talkeetna mountains, on road runs on the Nenana River in Denali National Park. And, I’ve done multi-day trips without seeing other humans in the Brooks Range.
While at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, I took an introduction to packrafting course for college credit (crazy!). I immediately knew it was the perfect sport for me. The ability to combine other activities such as hiking, rock climbing, and skiing with packrafting made it unique from big rafting.
My favorite packraft trips are those on which I bring first-time packrafters! It really brings me joy to see others try the sport and get that same huge grin and happy feeling that I got when I first tried packrafting.
I’ve convinced my sister, best friend, and even my neighbors to pick it up. It was so much fun when I connected with my neighbors, helped them pick out the right packraft, taught them how to paddle, and took them on a seven-night trip in the Brooks range along the famous John River.
I recently graduated from UAF, spring of 2018, with a degree in Wildlife Biology, and have been traveling the world with a goal to packraft as many rivers possible.
After upgrading to my gorgeous blue and lime Gnarwhal, I was able to teach my cousin from Detroit, Mich., the great sport with my older Denali Llama while on a USA road trip. We used them everywhere. The Kennebec gorge in Maine, New River Gorge in West Virginia, the Colorado River, the Umpqua river in Oregon, and Payette River in Idaho, to name a few.
I am now on an “endless summer” backpacking and packrafting trip in Asia and Oceania. I recently had an unforgettable time charging some big water and technical drops in Nepal. At the same time, I also stopped at villages along the way to experience dances and local greetings.
A new and cool sport, packrafting instantly makes me new friends and paddling buddies in the raft and kayak communities. These folks have been eager to lead me down some exciting Class III-IV rapids to see what the craft can do.
I just arrived in New Zealand with a fellow Alaskan, who I taught the basics of packrafting to and who I am learning the advanced techniques with. We have one month of packrafting the country ahead of us (and we just bought a car to take us around. Yay!)
After that, we will spend a month in Tasmania/Australia checking out more dope rivers, and then hopefully see some of the rivers in Thailand, Vietnam, and even Japan, before heading back to Alaska for the next boating season. Such a rad way to spend my gap year off.
As you can see, I’m very passionate about packrafting. I couldn’t spare any little detail of my love for the sport. Cheers Alpacka, and keep making awesome boats!