Yukon River 2016

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When I first started this blog, I was posting about twice a month.  Then my writing spaced out util I took a total break from it all together for about two years.  I only just got last year’s Yukon River trip posted two months ago and now here it is, time to post the new one.  Fortunately, I have adventures to write about and now, inspiration to write.  Once again I am excited about writing and sharing the beauty and wonder that is Alaska.  Once again, I have beauty and wonder in my life.  It’s good to be back.

After last year’s trip with my sister from Ft. Worth,  Yukon River Paddle 2015, I knew I wanted to do it again.  I knew I wanted to conquer the fear and nervousness that it caused me.  The only way to conquer that fear was to do it again.  Unfortunately, we have had a record breaking rainy year so the river was super high.   Gone were the oh so handy gravel bars for camping with perimeters wide enough to make sure there was no wild life lurking.  Gone were the myriad wide banks with open views and plenty of drift wood.  Fortunately, my new love Daniel, had plenty of experience driving a canoe.  Yes, I said new love.  After the first few miles from Eagle to Wayne and Scarlett’s house, we agreed that it would be better for him to steer.  I learned so much about how to handle a canoe from him.  Thankfully he is a patient man and allowed me my nervousness the few times I got a bit scared.

We started off again this year at my dear friends’ Wayne and Scarlett’s place, Bush Alaska Expeditions, outside of Eagle.  Unfortunately, Scarlett had to unexpectedly fly out of Fairbanks to go see her mother in the lower 48.  I sure did miss getting to sit and visit with her.  Here is a picture of Ben, their handler, and Daniel.

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We had a beautiful sunset that night.

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After one night there, we got on the river.  It was then that I realized the sd card from my camera was sitting next to my laptop at home.  So all of these are photos from my iPhone.  I got this phone specifically for the camera and it did not let me down.  Although the storage is pretty lacking, the camera itself is very good.

Lazy Day video.

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These two moose swam by our camp while we were sitting there watching the river.  Once they got on the other side of us, they climbed up the bank and out of the water.  It was pretty interesting to see them just swimming down the big, powerful river.  Reminded me how big and powerful they are as well.

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We also saw 4 pairs of Trumpeter Swans and two Bald Eagles.  No bears this year though we did see a lynx track.

Mmm dinner.

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We got rained on a few times.  We spent most of two whole days running in between storms.  There were storms in front of us and storms behind us but we only caught a bit of rain here and there.

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The river was mostly calm and big, of course powerful.  We didn’t paddle as much as Char and I did last year because there was no need.  We got to just float a lot.  The first big tributary, the Tatonduk River, caused the scariest water.  It created waves and wakes and we were still running pretty heavily.  By the second big river, the Nation, we knew to expect it and it was not as bad.  IMG_0863IMG_0877IMG_0874IMG_0870IMG_0868IMG_0864

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Daniel putting out a burbet set to see if we can get some fish for breakfast.

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We stopped at a small creek for a short break.  It was interesting to see the clear, though tannin stained waters of the creek entering the cloudy silt filled Yukon.   IMG_0895

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On the third day, we arrived at Slaven’s Roadhouse.  I didn’t take many photos there as I knew I had plenty from last year and was worried about filling up the storage on my phone.  We had a wonderful time there with the current park ranger, his family, and 3 park service maintenance guys.  We sat around their campfire and brought out our instruments.  One of the fellows played a banjolelle, I had my fiddle, and Daniel brought a guitar.  Though I still get quite nervous playing in front of people, apparently sitting around a campfire, drinking a few beers, and being in the middle of nowhere is a pretty good remedy for that case of nerves.  Good times, good times.

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We found a really nice creek entering the river so we paddled up it a bit and found a good camp site.  It wasn’t silty like the main river so we took a little swim.  It was a bit cold but we had a good fire going by then.

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The next morning Daniel went fishing before we headed out for the day.  He caught two pike.  Too bad that we had already had breakfast!

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Back on the river with my sweetie pie.  Such a great trip.  Daniel said, “How do you know if you really love someone?  You spend 5 days on the Yukon River with them.”  Hahaha like I said, he’s a very patient man.  IMG_0912

IMG_0911We saw something on shore that we couldn’t identify so we just had to pull over and investigate.  It was a part of someone’s old fish wheel.  Maybe it got swept away from a broken line.  Or maybe it was taken out with an ice jam.

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On the final day we had pulled over to send Jim a message that we were four hours out of Circle and that he could go ahead and start the drive to come pick us up.  Anyways, as we were getting back on the river, I tripped over a rock in the water, got bumped by the boat, and fell full on straight backwards into the river.  I had on raingear but all that did was scoop the water down my back.  After a second or two of stunned silence, I was able to laugh at my clumsiness.  Just call me Grace.  Daniel asked if I wanted to get back on shore and change into dry clothes or if we should start a fire.  I didn’t want to stop.  After all, we were only about 4 hours out and it wasn’t that cold.  I did end up paddling a bit more to stay warm the few times I got chilly.

This was a great trip and I am sure, the first of many we will enjoy with each other.  You’ll never guess what I am doing for my up coming 50th birthday this year.  You’re supposed to do something big for that birthday right?  I’m going to do the biggest thing I can think of.  Stay tuned.

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19 thoughts on “Yukon River 2016

  1. Donna says:

    Such an interesting blog, Georganne. Looking forward to reading the others and hearing of your new adventures. Do you have any recordings of your fiddle playing. I tried taking lessons when I was a pup but didn’t put in enough time on it to earn it. I know what a difficult instrument it is to play and admire you for taking it up and succeeding. Alaskan women rock!

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  2. sergei shushunov says:

    Hello and thank you for making this blog. I was planning to do this trip with a group of friends in August 2017 and run into an obstacle. I was unable to find anyone to offer drop off and pick up service. Any suggestions whom to ask?

    Sergei

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  3. Bill Houghton says:

    Gal, I finally took time to read your blog and surely enjoyed it. The pictures were excellent. Having been in a family of photographers, I really enjoy seeing other peoples good pix’s. I used to follow your posts on the forum as it helped me relive some of my hunting trips I use to take back when. So glad you have found some one, as I lost my wife in 2004, after 45 years and also found another woman to put up with me. I’m now 78, going on 90 with health problems that give me time to live through other people’s adventures like yours. I’m ‘williepete’ on the survival forum. Keep on having fun as life is just too short not too.

    Bill ‘williepete’

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    • cloud9doula says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Bill. I do so enjoy sharing my love for Alaska. I only wish that I had more then my cell phone camera on this trip. Ah well, next summer’s adventure has not been planned yet but I assure you, I’ll have my actual camera with me lol.

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  4. Glen Holt says:

    Hi Georganne: great posts and blog about your Yukon trip 2016. Do you think inflatable kayak/canoes would work? Any bad wind events? What time of year did you go? Hope to do part of the Yukon next Summer. Sounds like 5-days from Eagle to Circle. Would you take longer if possible or is that about right? Thanks!
    Glen

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    • cloud9doula says:

      Inflatables work! I have a friend who did it in her inflatable raft. Just make sure they are sturdy ones and you have a patch kit AND KNOW HOW TO USE IT! You may have a bit more issue with wind but if you give yourself 5 days, you will have enough time to just get off the river when the wind comes up. The first year I did it, we sat out two storms for a total of about 6-7 hours. The second year, last year, I had my boyfriend with me and he is a much stronger paddler and we didn’t have as bad of storms so we didn’t really have to sit out any. Both years we had extra time to hang out at Slaven’s, which I recommend. I went in August both years but even so, last year was a record breaking high water year. It was a bit scary at times and there were less sand bars to pull off on since so many were under water. Still, was able to find places to pull off when needed. Are you very experienced? Both years were so fantastic. Good luck! Georganne

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  5. jim shaw says:

    great times alive ,looks like it was a fun trip thanks for posting

    Sent from Windows Mail

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  6. Tom Juelson says:

    What a wonderful trip and write-up! Thanks!
    Glad to see you back and reporting on your exciting life again. We missed you.

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  7. W L Mak says:

    Hi Georganne,
    Like Jim, I enjoy reading your posts.
    I came across your blog 3 years ago when I made research for my trip to Alaska. I ended up spending 7 days in Fairbanks and a total of 28 days in Alaska. I like the wilderness and the sense of freedom your country gave me. It was September 2013 and I always dream to come back.
    Take care and keep writing!
    Wing Mak
    Hong Kong

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  8. James D Dahlke says:

    Hi Susan,
    Always enjoy reading your posts. Looks like a great trip down to Eagle. Still watch your show, forever a fan. Hope your health is doing better. I’m about 10 years older than you and know about those things. You’re tougher than most and admire you for that. Best of luck in your life’s journey. 😀
    Jim Dahlke
    Earlham, Iowa (lower 48)

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