July 13, Thursday - Day 21 On Water – Another night of camping on an island. Certainly, no problems finding camping spots. Particularly in the Yukon Flats. Stormy and I are both tired. Fort Yukon is 90 miles from Circle. I have a feeling KC and I are going to be having a parting of the ways.
1562102497455I ran into a woman, Lisa Fredric and a young guy from Germany. She in a Fobot Kayak which is like mine. He in a canoe, a knock down he brought with him from Germany.
Upon talking to her, she knows Steve Calhoun very well. She is from Kodiak, and Steve had the Royal Quarry based out of there for years. Her brother who just recently passed away worked for Steve on the boat for years.
It is my intention to hit the water early, get to Fort Yukon. There is cell service, store and internet so once again after the stop I should be stocked up and caught up.
July 14, Friday - Day 22 On Water – As planned I was up at 5:30 and on the water by 7. KC was in a very sour mood.
I was in a lagoon at town by 9. It took me close to 1½ hours to send some texts and make some phone calls. Lisa and the young guy showed up. KC also. He came over to me, made a few smart remarks and I told him he needed to “take off”. He did.
I had to make 3 trips but got everything done. Total of 3 miles. You aren’t going to get any help from the natives. We left town about 3:30 and only paddled an hour. With those few miles, I figure 200 miles left for Dalton Bridge, 5 days.
We had another good camp spot and slept well.
July 15, Saturday - Day 23 On Water – Up at 4 and on the water at 5:45.
1562106447790This part of the trip is tricky and stressful. I have no map nor GPS. Phone doesn’t pick up GPS/maps like it did on last years trip. I am trying to stay in the main current. All this water ends up at the same place, at the end of The Yukon Flats there is a canyon that channels all this water. Up until about noon I did good. I even went by Lisa and the German.
We stopped about 2:30 that is close to 9 hours on the water. It is hot again, good wind up river out of the west. River has changed direction from North to West. We are now headed for the Bering Sea. I know I took the wrong channel, but there is lots of water and current. It all goes to the same place. If Lisa and her paddling partner come by later it would get rid of some anxiety.
Today I saw a moose. A small black bear. The moose was in an area between 2 islands. The bear was on shore playing in the water. It came out of the trees just as I was going by and there was too much current to get close enough for pictures or a video.
I also saw a Bobcat/Lynk swimming across a very wide channel. I managed to get pictures of it swimming and exiting the water.
It is very hot. It looks and feels like thunderstorms coming. I am ready at 5. One of the distinct advantages of getting on the water early.
It didn’t storm but there was some thunder and lightning.
I am going to sleep with some anxiety to how long it is before I hit the main channel.
July 16, Sunday - Day 24 On Water – I wake up early so when I looked at my watch and it said 4:15 I wasn’t surprised because that is the routine time for me. We got up and Stormy was a little slow about it. When I took the 1st load to the kayak I looked up and down river like I always do. There was a big black bear up river about 100 yards away. Needless to say, the packing went rather quickly.
All I could think of that bear was thinking “Hmm, I wonder how well fed that Stormy dog is”.
We shoved off and as I was attaching my watch to the kayak as I do every morning I noticed the watch read 11:45. The sun was setting not coming up, Stormy was looking at me the whole time like I was nuts. Nothing to do now but go forward.
We entered the main channel 1 ½ hours later to great relief. Soon a native fisherman in his boat came by. I started seeing gill nets and soon saw a couple fish camps. All this confirmed I was where I needed to be.
I got tired and sleepy about 4. We stopped and I got a tarp, my sleeping pad and bag and we slept for 3 hours. On the water, again about 7. This is 2nd day of wind, enough to blow the dust and sand off the beaches.
15621013559155We stopped at 1:30 on an island just next to the Native Fishing Village Beaver. I had to walk a good distance to get us set up but we are out of the wind. Mosquitos have not been a problem but the horse flies are a nuisance. Once evening comes they disappear which really helps.
1st day I am beat. I shaved, did a little sponge bath, will eat good and should feel good. I would like to think that by midmorning we will enter the canyon and be on our way to the Dalton bridge and then Tanana 90 miles or so.
July 17, Monday – Day 25 On Water – I am glad we stopped early yesterday. I was extremely tired. The only mistake I made was not going to the fishing village and filling my water bottles before camping. I couldn’t get there this morning because of the current. I should have bought a gallon of water in Fort Yukon.
I finally ran into a native family leaving their place/fish camp they call Purgatory. It was about 2. Once they told me where I was and that I still had about 80 miles to go to get to the Dalton Bridge it confirmed I certainty wasn’t going 50 miles a day anymore. Which is what I was expecting.
All the wind and sun makes for a very hot face this time of day no matter what. An afternoon shower is passing over but we are all set up. I hope to fly the drone.
I have only 1 midsize bottle of water left, stupid on my part. There should be a native village by noon I hope.
July 18, Tuesday – Day 26 on Water – Long day today. We were up again and on the water at 5:45. Beautiful morning, not even a breeze, water was very smooth
I had the drone on top and flew it off the kayak. My initial thinking the titanium frame might be interfering, not so. I flew taking a video of us in the kayak. I flew it a 2nd time later in a pretty spot. Both times I placed the drone at the right height andleftcenter
let the current take me to it. I grab the strut with my right hand then turn it off on the controller with my left.
I was determined today to get the next Native Village no matter how long it took. I ran into a couple guys and they said it was 25 miles. They also confirmed the canyon was anther 10 and the bridge another 20. We arrived at the village at 5:30. We stopped 3 times. That is a very long day paddling for anybody at any age.
We filled up my 7 water bottles and left. We have camped in sight of the village, this time in the shade. What a difference to be in the shade. I only ate a can of apricots last night. I had an orange and 2 candy bars today is all. As soon as I got set up I made some oatmeal and feel much better and have drank 2 bottles of the water. I have thrown away the cheese, summer sausage and the yogurt I had left. Won’t buy any more. If I do ice anymore it will be for drinks only for a few days, no more perishable foods, it is just too hot.
I shaved, took a sponge bath with clean water and put clean shorts and a shirt on. For a couple of very long days I don’t feel to bad. I would expect to be at the Dalton Bridge by 2 or before. I will eat something at the restaurant, fill my water bottles and get more if I can. In 4 days, I should be in Tanana
July 19, Wednesday – Day 27 On Water – I got hit last night with 1 of the worst cases of Diarrhea I have ever had. Had to be the water from the Villages community water source. My stomach is churning. I managed to get us packed up and had to pull the kayak along the shoreline to get back to the main channel.
What a long day. I went thru 2 rolls of toilet paper and have finally restored to going in the water and getting clean that way. Should have thought about it sooner. It certainly hasn’t helped that the only water I had is the very water that made me sick.
18796023857585We got to the canyon about 11 and arrived at the Dalton Bridge about 3. I was hoping to find a good ice-cold creek for good water. The hills are not that high or big. They are all dried up.
Here the 4 canoes/1kayak …6 girls and 3 guys are camped. One of the girls gave me a bag of tang and her Yukon Guide book, the 1 I should have gotten. I went to the restaurant and had 2 Ginger Ales and a bowl of ice cream. Then we went down the beach a way and made a shade cover out of a tarp and the tent. It was too slopped and way to hot for the tent. I leveled out a place big enough for the sleeping pad, put a log about my length on the down side under the shade cover, laid down the tent bottom, made our bed and laid down for a couple of hours.
We went back to the café and I ordered another Ginger Ale and a fried cheese sandwich but could only eat half. Not a lot of food and calories for all the energy I am expending. As you all know, I don’t say much, but this is a lot of work. I am paddling most of an 8 to 10-hour day. The setting up and breaking down camp twice a day is no easy task in itself.
We were down by 10 and I felt like I was feeling better. If nothing else I knew I could go to the Health Clinch in Tanana.
July 20, Thursday – Day 28 on Water – I went up and had a bowl of Oatmeal with raisins, blueberries, brown sugar and milk. I tried the internet Wi fi for the 2nd time to no avail. Lot of these people up here try to use the excuse for their lack of services it is remote. It is 2017. Remote has nothing to do with it. They are just being Stugoofids. Stupid. Goofy. Idiots. Unshaven. Dirty. Very unkempt. Disorganized.
I had to wait until 8 to call Mid Oregon Credit to see where I was on my account since I couldn’t check on line. The café let me use their phone and I have a calling card. With that done we were on the water by 8:30.
At 1:30 a huge thunder clap hit right behind us. Very loud and long. The river had turned east for a big horseshoe bend then we would turn west towards the sea again. The canyons were steep and high. I turned around and a huge thunderstorm was coming straight for us with a sheet of water. I had to paddle across and down the river to be able to get out and get set up. I knew I wasn’t going to make it. I managed to get the tent set up but not the cover. The wind hit us 1st along with continual lightning and thunder. The tent blew down and immediately filled up with sand. With in seconds the rain hit and it was a wall of water with continual lightning and thunder.
15621028853130Fortunately, it was warm. Then the tent was full of mud. I got it up and the rain cover on and got my chair and a few things including the sleeping pad and sleeping bag. All this time Stormy is up in the thick willows drenched with her tail between her legs and once she saw the tent up she made a beeline for it. I had also grabbed her bed. I took my wet clothes off, cleaned the tent the best I could with 2 towels and we both dried off with another towel I had in my clothes bag and we crawled in the bag. By now it is 2:30.
At 7:30 the storm had past. I took everything out, cleaned the tent good and got everything squared away. I was feeling better so I heated up noodles with currying sauce. It was very spicy, only ate half of it. About 9 3 guys from Norway in a good size canoe stopped by. I had seen them in the café at the bridge. They had paddled thru the storm which I had thought about doing and maybe should have. I can be water tight with Stormy’s cover and my rain skirt and rain coat. I was concerned with being on the water and the lightning.
Considering the amount of time we have been on the water and that so far has been the only storm there was nothing to care about. Things dry out so fast.
July 21, Friday – Day 29 on Water – Same routine up early and a good day. Beautiful weather. I did a lot of drifting and even got to sail for about an hour.