JUNE 23, Friday Day 1 - On River, I got up and started packing up, no way was I going spend another day in the camp ground. A group of 9 people, 3 guys and 6 girls from all over the United States were also packing up and getting ready to launch. One guy from Colorado had organized the trip and the all connected off the internet. The have 4 canoes and 1 small kayak without a rudder. Only 2 of them have ever been in a canoe. The guy who organized the trip has done the entire Mississippi and Missouri Rivers so he is experienced. The are going all the way to Emmonak where I am going and have air reservations for the 19th of August I believe. They plan on giving the 4 aluminum canoes and kayak to the school in Emmonak. Canoes were $300 a piece and kayak was $200 so makes sense considering what it would cost to send them out. Quite an adventurous crew to say the least. They are going to be very pushed to make the miles they have to per day to be there to make their plane.
-270583-270978200There was also a couple from Boston putting on this morning who have been coming to Canada and Alaska for 40 years every summer and have pretty much done every major river and tributary in both states. Quite a feat for sure. I will try to get a picture of them down the river, they are taking out where KC is also ending his trip.
I told KC I would wait for him down town Whitehorse at the canoe shop where there is a good place to stop. I still needed to get a few things, which would be the 3rd trip to the store.
Once packed up we headed down river which I think was about 10:30. Great feeling to finally feel the current moving us down stream after all the planning, driving, waiting and expense. Once more we get to start a trip with unbelievable weather. Sunny and 70 plus degrees and no wind.
At the canoe shop theY had also stopped and were finalizing things and about to launch once again.
I went into the Canoe shop and bought a couple of maps for about half way.
KC showed up about 3 and he went and got us hamburgers made from elk, buffalo and boar and French fries, about 4 to 5 inches thick and $23 a piece Canadian. The conversion rate is $1 US to $1.25 Canadian.
We launched at 4 and paddled until 8 setting up the 1st night on the Yukon River on an Island with a stiff breeze out of the S but we tucked in behind some brush.
Keep in mind the sun doesn’t go done until will after 10 and it never really gets dark. I think we went to bed about 11, way to late for me. Stormy was more than ready. What a great traveling companion. Everybody likes Stormy.
June 24, Saturday, Day 2 On River – KC is not an early riser and is not one that gets right with it. I got packed up and flew the drone for a bit. We got on the water about 9, a good 2 hours later than I like to, so we are going to have to make some changes there. Not sure yet, but I will probably pack up and just go. I like to make my cup of tea before finalizing packing the kayak and have my cup of tea 1st on the water than I have the yogurt and oats afterwards while drifting. I have a variety of energy bars, some salt water taffy, licorice both red and black, if I have them an energy drink in my day pack and of course water in the seat with me.
We hit the entrance to Lake Leberge about 11. This lake can be the most dangerous part of this trip on the Yukon. It is shallow and the wind can come up in minutes. The wind blows mostly down river out of the S. It was very smooth when we entered the lake. Our plan was to paddle the lake and get to the other end about 11, taking 12 hours to do the 30 miles. I had my doubts. I looked at the map and drew straight lines from point A to B, arriving at B which then becomes point A and so on. I had no intention of being on the open water after 1, 2 at the latest. I went straight down the lake. The way KC has his canoe set up he can only travel about ½ as fast as me and must work twice as hard. I knew we weren’t going to make the 30 miles in one day, nor should we.
I turned around once and saw KC way behind me. The next time he was nowhere in sight.
0190500At about 12 the wind came up from the S, which was at our back and it started raining. I was not prepared, I didn’t have my rain skirt on, didn’t have Stormy’s cover on and wasn’t dressed properly.
I headed directly for an Island on the East side which was my 1st B. I arrived at 1:30. I figured perhaps KC headed to the East bank to be closer to shore and safety if he needed to stop. I built a good fire, made a couple peanut butter and jam sandwiches and Stormy and I sat under a tree and waited for it to stop raining which it shortly did.
I gathered more wood to keep the fire going and walked to a high point to see if I could see KC, which he was nowhere in sight. I decided to go thru my gear, consolidate and eliminate which I did. Set my camp up, heated up a can of chili and sat by the fire awhile and then we went to bed. I can already see that because Stormy wants to be close to me at night, it is going to be easier for me to sleep on the floor of the tent than sleeping on the cot. Besides with the way this tent is configured Cam gave me it is better to sleep on the floor, there is more room.
-270583-1913077200Once off this lake and back in the current absent any really bad weather I am beginning to think this is not going to be that hard of trip. But 2 days certainly doesn’t make that true. June 25, Sunday Day 3 On River – I was up at 4:30 and on the water and 5:30 which is the time I like to hit it. The weather was beautiful, sun shunning No wind, barely a breeze. It was obvious that KC did 1 of 2 things. He went to the East side or let the wind blow him right down the middle of the lake. The wind yesterday quit blowing at about 5 or 6 so if he continued he wouldn’t have got to the end of the lake before 1 or 2 in the morning.
Before leaving I set my sail up in case the wind came up. After consolidating my gear yesterday, the kayak packed much more easily.
1562102194560000I paddled for a while and then the wind came up and I set the sail and sailed for several hours. The wind died down and had to paddle again. We got to sail again almost the rest of the way. I arrived at the end of the lake at 1:30 PM. No KC, so he obviously stopped for the night. I don’t think he is in very good shape. He smokes a combination of tobacco and pot, rolls his own. Says he has been coughing since he was a kid, mold on his lungs. He is admit the smoking has nothing to do with his smoking.
Nobody around, this is a very beautiful place. 1 guy in a canoe showed up and has camped up river from me a way. He is from Whitehorse and going to Carmacks I think.
I got my camp set up, I put a tarp up for shade in case it does rain and put the tent up right behind it, fire pit and table right out front. Great set up and I have decided to spend tomorrow here. I have caught a cold and am miserable. I only have Vicks and aspirin. I will probably get over it quickly but next time I can get to a store, will get some cough medicine and more cough drops.
0254000The couple from Boston went by and told me KC was about an hour behind them. So, that told me I am a head of all of them.
KC showed up and said he got tired and had to stop. This also told me the 9 kids are also behind me.
I am not sore or tired in any respect. If it weren’t for the cold I would be in great shape and it shows.
I told KC I wanted to stay here for a day and he concurred. I made a great vegetable soup out of dried soup, fried up some hamburger/onions and put diced stewed tomatoes in it. Delicious.
1562102784475000The crew of 9 showed up and decided to cook up their dinner here on the bank, no room foe that size of group to camp out in the open. There is a great site in the trees off the bank, but the bugs and black flies are prolific in the grass and trees, no breeze or winds.
There are bathrooms here and the natives own the place and take care of it.
We have had no issues with mosquitos or other insects yet.
I went to bed about 9 but had to get up and I took the cot and put it outside and set the bed up on the floor and Stormy was extremely happy.
June 26, Monday Day 4 On River - I didn’t wake up until 8:30 which is very unusual for me. I don’t feel that great. I set my fishing poles up last night. The spinning reel doesn’t work so it ended up in the Yukon. The fly reel doesn’t have enough fly line. Should have checked them before leaving. Hope there is a second-hand store down the river. I can use the fly pole.
My plan today is to get caught up on the Journal, do a Chapter in the book and take a nap. I have my gear very consolidated and packing the kayak is easy.
I also plan on flying the drone this afternoon. I saw a Dall Sheep on the lake and wished I would have been able to send the Drone up. But I can’t sail and have the drone out at the same time.
Had yogurt and my cereal for breakfast. I don’t eat granola anymore, but did break down and buy dairy based yogurt. I have plenty of food.
I am going to fly fish later and hope we can have fish and rice tonight. This must be one of the best places I have ever camped on any of my trips.
0000June 27 Tuesday 5 On River - No fish. They are there because you can see them jumping. Not a lot bugs on the water. I got a good night’s sleep. We had a mouse in the tent and with everything I had in there it drove Stormy nuts. We didn’t find it until I had everything out and was ready to take the tent down. Between the mice, the frogs and the squirrels Stormy is having a ball. I was up at Little after 5, feeling much better. Laying over for a day has made a difference in the way I felt.
I was packed up and on the water at 6:30. It was an absolutely beautiful sunny morning. Slight breeze but with the river running 4/5 miles an hour a slight breeze one does not notice.
KC was not far behind me. We have agreed that since I am an early riser and get right with it, I will go ahead and go, he catches up or he stops where I have stopped for the day. We have also agreed to do an average of 40 miles a day on the average. He fishes a little bit, but does nothing else at night. So, he doesn’t like stopping early. I on the other hand have this journal, a book I am reading and 6 more, the book to finish writing, a drone to learn how to fly and a dog to play with and take for a walk. I am a busy guy.
1562103512820000I stopped and flew the drone twice. It doesn’t want to work on the platform I built. I thinly it is a combination of the copper pipe for the frame, and or the solar charger, battery and inverter. I am going to play with this evening and try to figure it out. It works fine away and off the kayak.
I also caught a nice Grayling but released it, didn’t want to drag it for 20 miles.
We arrived at our camp ground at about 3:30, along with a guy from France who lives in Reno, NV and is a retired Pastry Chef. He has come up here quite often. He is also a bike idea and has his bike in his canoe. There are also a father and son from Holland and 2 more couples just showed up. Lots of people on the river.
The Yukon Quest starts tomorrow so there will be hundreds and hundreds of racers on the river, starting at Whitehorse to Dawson City. I believe it is one of the longest canoe/kayak races to participate in, in the world. They in fact come from all over the world.
Another good place to camp tonight, someone does a good job of keeping these public campgrounds clean and stocked with wood and the outhouses clean.
So far this is nothing like I imagined. Day 5, so we shall see if I think the same on day 50.
June 28, Wednesday Day 6 On River – Where we camped last night once again there were tables and outhouses. Something I never expected. Spending the night also were the father and son from Holland, the retired pastry chef from Reno/France, two Canadians couples who paddled the Teslin River that comes into the Yukon at this place. 3 more canoes went by with 5 guys who also paddled the Teslin.
I got a good night’s sleep. I have eaten good, will once again try to catch some fish when I am done getting caught up.
I left at 6:45 and paddled 43 miles arriving at 1:30. That is an average of 6 miles an hour. We compromised last night, KC wants to do 50 miles, I am happy with the 30.
But 40 or more miles is easy on this river especially if you get up and get going. I am beginning to question if KC is going to last with me. Guys who have smoked a lot of dope all their lives are a little goofy.
There are plenty of places to camp. The only animal’s I have seen was a Dali Sheep on the lake, some beaver and bald eagles.
June 29, Thursday 7 On Water – There are no shortage of good places to camp and they have all been used extensively. Last night was no exception. I went to bed about 8. 1 don’t go right to sleep but it doesn’t take long despite it not getting dark. I was awakened at 3 by the 1st paddlers of the Yukon Quest. I never really went back to sleep so I got up at 4 and on the water at 5. Lots of the race participants all day, I arrived at the 50-mile predetermined camp spot on an Island at 1:00. One hopes that camping on an Island means no bears or porcupines. Stormy was up most the night chasing squirrels, mice and rabbits. She caught a baby rabbit, I probably will never break her of that. She kills rats down on the lake often.
1562104090733500This getting on the water early and making the miles for the day by 1 or 2 is great. It is barely 3 and I have camp set up, kayak cleaned out and cleaned up, went thru all the gear again and consolidated. Got clothes ready to wash tomorrow morning in Carmacks and a grocery list and a few odds and ends. I have also practiced flying the drone. Have no idea what is available but will know by 10, we should be there by 8 or at least I will, it is only 5 miles an hour’s paddle.
When it comes to the drone. I don’t think the solar charge and battery storage put out enough Amps to charge the Drone batteries. Also, my idea of flying it off the kayak won’t work because I think the Titanium frame creates a magnetic field/metal interference. It works great on the sand bars away from the kayak. I am also hoping there is a library or Wi-fi spot so I can get some things accomplished and communicate some. I didn’t realize how much I would miss doing so.
1562104396930500One of the many all women participants in the Yukon Quest race of 450 miles.