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.
We had a beautiful sunset that night.
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.
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.
We also saw 4 pairs of Trumpeter Swans and two Bald Eagles. No bears this year though we did see a lynx track.
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.
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.
Daniel putting out a burbet set to see if we can get some fish for breakfast.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
We 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.
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.