Chilkoot Trail/Yukon River 2017

Galena to the Delta

August 7

It was a night of light sleeping. We were a little bit on edge with the knowledge of Slop Bucket Jerry and hoped that no one would check us out. There were cars driving by, but we were out of direct sight. There was also a barge that went by last night and the moon shone brightly in the door of the tent. I was glad when it was time to get up and make breakfast. We had about a mile to go to where we could land and go to the post office. At the landing a large barge was unloading equipment. The crew that we talked to were not appreciating all of the gnats. It seemed like Galena was in a boom era, perhaps rebuilding after the flood.

 The beach was quite busy with boats coming and going.

The beach was quite busy with boats coming and going.

Don headed up to the post office and returned with the knowledge that all five boxes had arrived. It seems pretty amazing how quickly they came from Palmer, till one realizes that mail comes in daily by plane. Not like years of past when mail came by steamboat or dogsled.

 The gnats made organizing our food not much fun. We quickly shipped back a couple of boxes and packed up the rest. Our other task of the morning was to find where we could get water. I asked a man by the beach and he said this was my lucky day. He delivered water to houses and had his truck parked above the beach. I grabbed the droms and soon they were all filled. Now we are back into an area known as the Yukon Flats. The river spreads out and again can go in a variety of channels. A large hill  called Bishop Rock helped us to head in the right direction.

The gnats made organizing our food not much fun. We quickly shipped back a couple of boxes and packed up the rest. Our other task of the morning was to find where we could get water. I asked a man by the beach and he said this was my lucky day. He delivered water to houses and had his truck parked above the beach. I grabbed the droms and soon they were all filled. Now we are back into an area known as the Yukon Flats. The river spreads out and again can go in a variety of channels. A large hill  called Bishop Rock helped us to head in the right direction.

 Bishop Rock, a good landmark

Bishop Rock, a good landmark

The river funnels some past the rock and when the salmon are running there are lots of fish wheels in this spot. We went by a tiny settlement that was slowly being eroded into the river. It has been here for many years, but some of the cabins may not be here much longer.

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 The river continually erodes the banks, often sending large chunks of debris into the river.

The river continually erodes the banks, often sending large chunks of debris into the river.

Campsites are taking on a new character. The gravel bars which we had come to appreciate are now sand bars. Sand bars that can extend for miles. The topography is very flat and we are aware of not needing the river to rise much before flooding our site.

 At least with all this sand, tracks show up very well. The majority of which are moose tracks.   

At least with all this sand, tracks show up very well. The majority of which are moose tracks.

 

 Tent stakes are easily able to be put into the sand.  There are definite different kinds of sand. We will have to experiment which ones are the best for putting the tent on. Today we paddled past the Koyukuk river which flows with a clear color into the Yukon. Upstream a ways is the town of Koyukuk, didn't really want to paddle up stream so passed on by. One of the books that we had read about the Yukon said that near here is the Last Chance Bar. Supposedly the last place one can buy alcohol from here to tBerintg Sea. We didn't see it, but really were not looking for it.  Each village makes their own decision about alcohol. We also met the man who told us about Slop Bucket Jerry. He was coming from the town of Koyukuk and wondered how we were treated in Galena. He also said that more boat traffic than usual was due to a funeral in the village of Koyukuk.  Miles paddled 33  August 8  It was another morning of dew, but the gnats must have gotten their wings wet as well. They were not quite as active. The other reason of their inactivity could been because of the moon. It was so bright last night that they might have stayed active all night.

Tent stakes are easily able to be put into the sand.

There are definite different kinds of sand. We will have to experiment which ones are the best for putting the tent on. Today we paddled past the Koyukuk river which flows with a clear color into the Yukon. Upstream a ways is the town of Koyukuk, didn't really want to paddle up stream so passed on by. One of the books that we had read about the Yukon said that near here is the Last Chance Bar. Supposedly the last place one can buy alcohol from here to tBerintg Sea. We didn't see it, but really were not looking for it.  Each village makes their own decision about alcohol. We also met the man who told us about Slop Bucket Jerry. He was coming from the town of Koyukuk and wondered how we were treated in Galena. He also said that more boat traffic than usual was due to a funeral in the village of Koyukuk.

Miles paddled 33

August 8

It was another morning of dew, but the gnats must have gotten their wings wet as well. They were not quite as active. The other reason of their inactivity could been because of the moon. It was so bright last night that they might have stayed active all night.

 Love full moons. The sunrise was another stunner!   

Love full moons. The sunrise was another stunner!

 

 We decided to cross over to the other side of the river and most likely will stay on the right side. All the remaining towns are on the right side. The wind picked up after we passed the town of Nulato

We decided to cross over to the other side of the river and most likely will stay on the right side. All the remaining towns are on the right side. The wind picked up after we passed the town of Nulato

 Nulato   This is the old part of town, newer buildings are in the back. There is also a brand new school being built. Often the largest building in the villages are the schools which are also a center for meetings.

Nulato   This is the old part of town, newer buildings are in the back. There is also a brand new school being built. Often the largest building in the villages are the schools which are also a center for meetings.

Right past Nulato the winds started blowing hard against us. Since we were not making any forward momentum we decided to pull off and take a break. The wind would keep the gnats away.

 When there are whitecaps being formed, it is time to take a break. We both took short naps and when the gnats came back it was time to get back on the water. We found a nice gravel beach and set up camp.

When there are whitecaps being formed, it is time to take a break. We both took short naps and when the gnats came back it was time to get back on the water. We found a nice gravel beach and set up camp.

 No complaints with our home tonight.  Miles paddled 38  August 9  We awoke to peregrine falcons screeching over our tent. It seemed like there were two adults and two young ones. A large stack of trees near our tent appeared to be a perching spot. Don't think that they liked sharing the area with us. It was another beautiful sunrise this morning.

No complaints with our home tonight.

Miles paddled 38

August 9

We awoke to peregrine falcons screeching over our tent. It seemed like there were two adults and two young ones. A large stack of trees near our tent appeared to be a perching spot. Don't think that they liked sharing the area with us. It was another beautiful sunrise this morning.

 The falcons liked perching on the top branch.  As we head down river there is a certain pattern to the topography. In the distance we will see a mountain range with ridges coming towards the river. As we approach the mountains we will come to cliffs that we pass and then see another one in the distance. It is great to see so many peregrines on the cliffs.

The falcons liked perching on the top branch.

As we head down river there is a certain pattern to the topography. In the distance we will see a mountain range with ridges coming towards the river. As we approach the mountains we will come to cliffs that we pass and then see another one in the distance. It is great to see so many peregrines on the cliffs.

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 Not much current here, but it picks up some when we get near to the cliffs.

Not much current here, but it picks up some when we get near to the cliffs.

The village that we stop at today is Kaltag. This stretch of the Yukon is where the Iditarod sled dog race takes place. It has been great to connect names from the race to actual places. Many boats are anchored in front of the village.

 Don heads into town to look for a place to get water and maybe internet. He stops at a large blue building which is a fish processing plant.

Don heads into town to look for a place to get water and maybe internet. He stops at a large blue building which is a fish processing plant.

 The men working there are quite friendly and invite him in to get water from their sink. They tell him there is not much here in the way of grocery stores nor any internet services. They, however, have internet in their office and let him use it to download our emails. It has been a good year for Chums coming up the river. They are currently busy processing fish. Down at the beach a larger motor boat goes up and down the river getting fish from the fish camps and delivers the fish back to the processors. The men ask Don if he has seen Slop bucket Jerry. They say that this is not a good year for canoers on the river. Don't think we will be stopping at any fish camps. Many of the buildings near the beach have fish drying.   

The men working there are quite friendly and invite him in to get water from their sink. They tell him there is not much here in the way of grocery stores nor any internet services. They, however, have internet in their office and let him use it to download our emails. It has been a good year for Chums coming up the river. They are currently busy processing fish. Down at the beach a larger motor boat goes up and down the river getting fish from the fish camps and delivers the fish back to the processors. The men ask Don if he has seen Slop bucket Jerry. They say that this is not a good year for canoers on the river. Don't think we will be stopping at any fish camps. Many of the buildings near the beach have fish drying.

 

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This has been a great day to paddle. There is no wind to fight against and on the river the gnats are almost non existent. We are always surprised that once we get several miles past the villages, the boat traffic drops off considerably. It is rare to have a boat come near us. We always wave when we do see one and get a wave back. One definitely feels quite alone on the river.

We have not seen any gravel bars to camp on  so decide that a sand bar will be home for the night. We had stopped earlier at a stream and had noticed lots of bear tracks, so were glad to see none here in the sand.

 The gnats hitting our tent sound like a down pour.  We are hoping that the wind doesn't pick up tonight. If it does we are going to be sandblasted. Considering how slow the current seems we are satisfied with the milage we have made today.  Mileage paddled 44  August 10  Our hopes of it not getting windy were dashed when we were awoken to our tent shaking and sand hitting the sides of it. I took a look out of the tent and saw that the tarp was faring well and there was not much we could do but wait it out. In the distance we could see a wall of water coming our way. The wind was blowing so hard that when the rain did hit us it was horizontal. The tent got 5 stars for being so stable.  I scurried out of the tent and lowered the tarp as much as I could. Lots of wet sand covered the items under the tarp. During lulls in the storm we were able to eat a quick breakfast and then retreat back to the tent. We both took a nap and figured that this might be a true layover day. By early afternoon though the front had passed and the wind had died. The sun even came out, and since we were still having the long days of summer we decided to continue on down the river.

The gnats hitting our tent sound like a down pour.  We are hoping that the wind doesn't pick up tonight. If it does we are going to be sandblasted. Considering how slow the current seems we are satisfied with the milage we have made today.

Mileage paddled 44

August 10

Our hopes of it not getting windy were dashed when we were awoken to our tent shaking and sand hitting the sides of it. I took a look out of the tent and saw that the tarp was faring well and there was not much we could do but wait it out. In the distance we could see a wall of water coming our way. The wind was blowing so hard that when the rain did hit us it was horizontal. The tent got 5 stars for being so stable.  I scurried out of the tent and lowered the tarp as much as I could. Lots of wet sand covered the items under the tarp. During lulls in the storm we were able to eat a quick breakfast and then retreat back to the tent. We both took a nap and figured that this might be a true layover day. By early afternoon though the front had passed and the wind had died. The sun even came out, and since we were still having the long days of summer we decided to continue on down the river.

 Our tent was surrounded by sand that was picked up by the wind.

Our tent was surrounded by sand that was picked up by the wind.

 By early afternoon the seas had calmed and we were able to shake the sand off our our gear and continue on.   

By early afternoon the seas had calmed and we were able to shake the sand off our our gear and continue on.

 

 This was a surprising turn of events from the morning rain and wind storm. We often rely on our nowcast of the weather to determine our agenda. It is a go!   Miles paddled 19  August 11

This was a surprising turn of events from the morning rain and wind storm. We often rely on our nowcast of the weather to determine our agenda. It is a go! 

Miles paddled 19

August 11

No storms during the night and another morning of great light.

 We never tire of the sunrise! This was a morning that the light continued to make us take notice.

We never tire of the sunrise! This was a morning that the light continued to make us take notice.

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The wind was steady today, that is it was steady against us. We even pulled over to take a shore break when we saw a squall approaching. The river is so wide that we could see it hitting the other side. We managed to stay dry. Today was work for every stroke. It was too windy to listen to our book and really too windy to carry on a conversation. By hugging the shore we were able to move forward. We have added layers today and we are wondering if summer is over.

 We passed a clear stream coming into the Yukon and even went out of our way slightly to paddle in water that you could actually see the bottom. Where we pulled off above there were numerous bear tracks. Even knowing that bears can swim we still try to camp on islands and look for ones that do not have bear tracks. Even though we notice it just about everyday the power of the river to erode the banks and send dirt and trees into the river still causes us pause,

We passed a clear stream coming into the Yukon and even went out of our way slightly to paddle in water that you could actually see the bottom. Where we pulled off above there were numerous bear tracks. Even knowing that bears can swim we still try to camp on islands and look for ones that do not have bear tracks. Even though we notice it just about everyday the power of the river to erode the banks and send dirt and trees into the river still causes us pause,

 We often hear the booming sound of dirt calving into the river.  We passed by several fish camps today, but only will stop if we have a safety concern. We found a nice large island and made home for the night. Never tire of the ever changing scenery.

We often hear the booming sound of dirt calving into the river.

We passed by several fish camps today, but only will stop if we have a safety concern. We found a nice large island and made home for the night. Never tire of the ever changing scenery.

 Miles paddled 35  August 12  If the word for yesterday was wind, it is the opposite word today The word is calm with heavy rain at times. With no wind pushing us backward, we did not need to hug the shore and were able to go out more towards the middle where there was a more obvious current.

Miles paddled 35

August 12

If the word for yesterday was wind, it is the opposite word today The word is calm with heavy rain at times. With no wind pushing us backward, we did not need to hug the shore and were able to go out more towards the middle where there was a more obvious current.

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Glad to have functional rain protection for both us and the canoe today. We took a shore break and noticed a hose with water flowing from it. We had been told of springs along the Yukon and this appeared to be one.

 Took a break and noticed water coming out of a hose.

Took a break and noticed water coming out of a hose.

 We grabbed our droms and filled them up from the spring .

We grabbed our droms and filled them up from the spring .

  Lots of flowers were enjoying the flowing water as well.

 Lots of flowers were enjoying the flowing water as well.

We noticed a cemetery and soon the small village of Grayling appeared.

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 Thought that we would check out the grocery store here. The clerks were quite friendly and invited us to camp in a pavilion by the river. There were some canned goods, but not anything that we would need. Don bought a couple of packaged cookies and a couple packages of crackers. Every village that we have stopped at have made us feel welcomed. They all seemed to be surprised that we are from Alaska. It seems that most people that travel on this section are Europeans or from Japan. Most villages have an old church which does not seem to get much use,

 It was a rainy, muddy day in Grayling. We still had plenty of daylight and decided to push on.

It was a rainy, muddy day in Grayling. We still had plenty of daylight and decided to push on.

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Our maps are not always accurate and when an island appeared that wasn't marked we pulled in, checked it out .and were happy to be home.

 Miles paddled 42  August 13

Miles paddled 42

August 13

With no wind shaking our tent, no bugs dive bombing our tent and no rain falling, sleep was superb. The nights are getting longer as fall approaches and with an overcast morning I even at 5 o'clock had to use a head lamp to start breakfast. We were visited by a very curious snowshoe hare. His oversized feet were just beginning to show signs of turning white.

 The hare was enjoying munching on the beach grass next to our tent. It was not as calm as yesterday, but still relatively good paddling conditions. We passed by more cliffs with falcons circling them. It was obvious that the young needed more landing practice as some attempts at landing were not successful.

The hare was enjoying munching on the beach grass next to our tent. It was not as calm as yesterday, but still relatively good paddling conditions. We passed by more cliffs with falcons circling them. It was obvious that the young needed more landing practice as some attempts at landing were not successful.

 We had several choices to get to the next small villages. One was going thru a rather small slough. We thought it would be a nice contrast to the size of the river that we are now on. Not only were we enjoying the small size of the slough, but we came upon a large flock of White Fronted geese.

We had several choices to get to the next small villages. One was going thru a rather small slough. We thought it would be a nice contrast to the size of the river that we are now on. Not only were we enjoying the small size of the slough, but we came upon a large flock of White Fronted geese.

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 Most flocks of geese fly the minute they see us. We were down below the bank and were able to get a good view before they took off. We are encountering more flocks of birds as we get closer to the coast. They all seem to be filling up on the grasses and it seems like they are practicing flying in formation. This will be the first trip south for the young so preparing for the long flight is most likely a necessity.

Most flocks of geese fly the minute they see us. We were down below the bank and were able to get a good view before they took off. We are encountering more flocks of birds as we get closer to the coast. They all seem to be filling up on the grasses and it seems like they are practicing flying in formation. This will be the first trip south for the young so preparing for the long flight is most likely a necessity.

We pass the mouth of the Anvik River which is clear and just a little bit upstream is the town of Anvik.

 As we pull into the shore a group of four men are getting off of a boat. They welcome us to the town of Anvik. We have some interesting conversations as they tell us a little bit about their lives here. Two of the men were born here and point out their birth house. They also tell us of some native lore and want to know if we have seen any of the little people that live in the woods.

As we pull into the shore a group of four men are getting off of a boat. They welcome us to the town of Anvik. We have some interesting conversations as they tell us a little bit about their lives here. Two of the men were born here and point out their birth house. They also tell us of some native lore and want to know if we have seen any of the little people that live in the woods.

 The man in the plaid shirt is from Nulato and ran the Iditarod in the 80's. He is here for a potlatch that is being held here for a memorial for his niece's baby. The two men to his right have lived here their entire lives.. The man to his left is from a distant village. We take a short walk up the bank. An old church and boarding school is boarded up.   

The man in the plaid shirt is from Nulato and ran the Iditarod in the 80's. He is here for a potlatch that is being held here for a memorial for his niece's baby. The two men to his right have lived here their entire lives.. The man to his left is from a distant village. We take a short walk up the bank. An old church and boarding school is boarded up.

 

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A new gazebo has been built near here.

 The use of old tires for flower pots is similar to the ones that we have seen in Mexico.   

The use of old tires for flower pots is similar to the ones that we have seen in Mexico.

 

 Looking over the Anvik River.

Looking over the Anvik River.

Time to paddle so we wave good by and spend the day enjoying the river. Camping sites are not as frequent here and we start searching around 5 to find one. Finally several hours later we see one that would probably work. It is on an island that is being eroded on both sides.  We try to set our tent up in the middle and hope that there will still be land surrounding us in the morning. During dinner there is several loud splashes as the ground falls into the river.

 We go to sleep with one ear listening for approaching water.  Miles paddled 38  August 14  We were still surrounded by ground in the morning. I did get up once in the night to check our surroundings after several large chunks of land fell into the river. Today we are going to try to  get  water at Holy Cross. There is some wind, but hugging the shore allows us  to get some protection. We see Dean's boat, the man we met in Anvik, he sends us a wave and speeds up the river. We pass a very neat and rustic dwelling. It is quite artistic in how it is built.

We go to sleep with one ear listening for approaching water.

Miles paddled 38

August 14

We were still surrounded by ground in the morning. I did get up once in the night to check our surroundings after several large chunks of land fell into the river. Today we are going to try to  get  water at Holy Cross. There is some wind, but hugging the shore allows us  to get some protection. We see Dean's boat, the man we met in Anvik, he sends us a wave and speeds up the river. We pass a very neat and rustic dwelling. It is quite artistic in how it is built.

 Appears to have a nice garden as well.

Appears to have a nice garden as well.

We take a channel that will take us to Holy Cross.  There are several boats along the shore, but the village is not in sight. A man walking towards the shore tells Don where to find the washerteria and a small grocery store. Don heads down the road and the man who gave him directions then takes him to the two locations. Once again we feel quite welcome. he clerk at the grocery store lets Don use his internet and download some emails. As I wait with our boat, several men come by and talk. We get a little glimpse of what life is like here. A lot of time is spent hunting and gathering food.

 Holy Cross.   The green building is the school

Holy Cross.   The green building is the school

As the day continued the wind continued to die which we never mind. The clouds were fun to watch today.

 The most common shore bird that we see is a small sand piper. Unfortunately the bird never stays still long enough to take a photo. Generally it is found by itself moving rapidly along the shore. The other bird that we often see is the sea gull. Earlier in the trip when they were protecting their young we would often get dive-bombed by them as we went past the nesting areas. Several times we would have to put our paddles over our heads as they would come rather close. Later in the trip when their young were grown, it seems like they were doing it either to show their young or to have some excitement in their day. These immature gulls didn't seem to mind us as we passed by.

The most common shore bird that we see is a small sand piper. Unfortunately the bird never stays still long enough to take a photo. Generally it is found by itself moving rapidly along the shore. The other bird that we often see is the sea gull. Earlier in the trip when they were protecting their young we would often get dive-bombed by them as we went past the nesting areas. Several times we would have to put our paddles over our heads as they would come rather close. Later in the trip when their young were grown, it seems like they were doing it either to show their young or to have some excitement in their day. These immature gulls didn't seem to mind us as we passed by.

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We paddled into early evening. We are still averaging over 30 miles a day, but our day on the water is much longer than when we had the current of the upper Yukon. Today's camp is on the biggest sand bar yet. It is also our longest carry to where we want to place our tent. We are taking advantage of a log to keep our gear off of the sand.

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Miles paddled 39

August 15

During the night we heard the sound of thunder and thought that a storm was headed our way. Fortunately it passed by without any rain or wind. It was overcast this morning as we headed out. It took awhile to get all of our gear down to the water. The water had come up a little, not sure if it is from the tide or from all the previous rain that had occurred. It will be something that we will watch when we set up camp. We passed by some steep mountains and marvel at the variety of the terrain that we are passing.

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 We get around one mountain range and then there is one in the distance. 

We get around one mountain range and then there is one in the distance. 

Today the word is amazing wildlife. We were paddling close to the shore when a animal came down the bank. It did not look like something we had seen before.  It was a small wolverine! We had surprised it and it crouched close to the ground where we could get a closer look.  It almost looked like a small bear cub with beautiful fur of brown and black. The rounded ears helped to identify it as a wolverine. Shortly it was off and running and we were just left with a visual memory.

Not much further and we saw a large black bear that looked like he was eating something on the shore. We were too far away for the bear to be concerned so the bear just kept on eating.

 When we paddle close to the shore any geese that are nearby take off in flight. They often circle and return to the same area that they had been eating. We never tire of seeing the flocks that seem to be getting larger by the day.

When we paddle close to the shore any geese that are nearby take off in flight. They often circle and return to the same area that they had been eating. We never tire of seeing the flocks that seem to be getting larger by the day.

 The last mammal of the day was a slow moving porcupine. Nothing to fear for the slow moving animal  as it turned its weaponry towards us.

The last mammal of the day was a slow moving porcupine. Nothing to fear for the slow moving animal  as it turned its weaponry towards us.

 We pass more fish camps. At Holy Cross we were told that if we needed water just look for fish camps. Sure enough we notice that most of the camps have a water source nearby.

We pass more fish camps. At Holy Cross we were told that if we needed water just look for fish camps. Sure enough we notice that most of the camps have a water source nearby.

 It took awhile for us to finally find a campsite. The terrain was mostly a mud flat and we do not look forward to rain, if it occurs. The mud as it dried formed interesting patterns.

It took awhile for us to finally find a campsite. The terrain was mostly a mud flat and we do not look forward to rain, if it occurs. The mud as it dried formed interesting patterns.

 A larger overview of the pattern.

A larger overview of the pattern.

 Tomorrow we plan on visiting Russian Mission. With a name like that one can see the influence of the early Russian explorers. We only saw one boat today and that was right before we found a place to camp.  Miles paddled 39  August 16  About five o'clock this morning the rain started falling and the wind blowing. We may not be going anywhere today. I decided to get up anyway and stuff my sleeping bag. We have down bags and are particularly careful about not getting them wet. If we stay and move in and out of the tent it would be difficult to keep them dry. I needed a flashlight to heat up water for hot drinks under the kitchen tarp. I have decided to embrace the sand, not much we can do about it except live in harmony and brush it away. It is a real skill to keep the sand out of the food. Since we were moving rather slowly this morning to see what the weather was going to do, I decided to take some photos of how plant life on the mud flats progresses.  First tiny little plants with their leaves close to the ground begin to grow.

Tomorrow we plan on visiting Russian Mission. With a name like that one can see the influence of the early Russian explorers. We only saw one boat today and that was right before we found a place to camp.

Miles paddled 39

August 16

About five o'clock this morning the rain started falling and the wind blowing. We may not be going anywhere today. I decided to get up anyway and stuff my sleeping bag. We have down bags and are particularly careful about not getting them wet. If we stay and move in and out of the tent it would be difficult to keep them dry. I needed a flashlight to heat up water for hot drinks under the kitchen tarp. I have decided to embrace the sand, not much we can do about it except live in harmony and brush it away. It is a real skill to keep the sand out of the food. Since we were moving rather slowly this morning to see what the weather was going to do, I decided to take some photos of how plant life on the mud flats progresses.

First tiny little plants with their leaves close to the ground begin to grow.

 Next comes plants with longer stems and as one gets farther away from the water the stems get bigger.

Next comes plants with longer stems and as one gets farther away from the water the stems get bigger.

 And then small willow begin to take root

And then small willow begin to take root

 All this growth may continue or in many cases when the river changes courses it all gets washed away.  The wind and rain have momentarily stopped so in our mode of moving when we can, we break down camp and head to Russian Mission.

All this growth may continue or in many cases when the river changes courses it all gets washed away.

The wind and rain have momentarily stopped so in our mode of moving when we can, we break down camp and head to Russian Mission.

 At Russian Mission, there is activity at the beach. Several boys are playing and they entertain me with life in the village. Both have been to Anchorage at least once.   

At Russian Mission, there is activity at the beach. Several boys are playing and they entertain me with life in the village. Both have been to Anchorage at least once.

 

 School starts tomorrow. They are excited about the geese flying over and tell me about how they are hunted. Hunted with respect. There are about 350 people in the village and 100 students at the school  Another man is checking his nets for Silver Salmon. It has been a good day for getting fish. Don helps him carry his fish up towards his house before heading off to find a grocery store.  Mathew and Dolores walk down to the beach and after welcoming us, tell us a bit about their lives.   

School starts tomorrow. They are excited about the geese flying over and tell me about how they are hunted. Hunted with respect. There are about 350 people in the village and 100 students at the school

Another man is checking his nets for Silver Salmon. It has been a good day for getting fish. Don helps him carry his fish up towards his house before heading off to find a grocery store.

Mathew and Dolores walk down to the beach and after welcoming us, tell us a bit about their lives.

 

 Mathew's great great grandfather was a pilot for the steamboats on the Yukon. Mathew has retraced his journey on a boat going up the Yukon. Both Dolores and Mathew have lived in various towns in Alaska, but are glad to be living here. Dolores tells us of berry picking with the women in the mountains and Matthew tells us about his fish camp. Matthew tells us when the mist starts rising on the river in the morning, the silver salmon are on their way to their spawning grounds. This year has also been a good year for King Salmon. In fact this is the first time in six years that they have been able to keep King Salmon going up the river. We say our good-bys and head down the river.  Tomorrow we will be heading to the southern most part of the Yukon then turning North to the Bering Sea. When we reach our camp for the night we discover that someone has had a nice meal. Only the beautiful feathers are left.

Mathew's great great grandfather was a pilot for the steamboats on the Yukon. Mathew has retraced his journey on a boat going up the Yukon. Both Dolores and Mathew have lived in various towns in Alaska, but are glad to be living here. Dolores tells us of berry picking with the women in the mountains and Matthew tells us about his fish camp. Matthew tells us when the mist starts rising on the river in the morning, the silver salmon are on their way to their spawning grounds. This year has also been a good year for King Salmon. In fact this is the first time in six years that they have been able to keep King Salmon going up the river. We say our good-bys and head down the river.  Tomorrow we will be heading to the southern most part of the Yukon then turning North to the Bering Sea. When we reach our camp for the night we discover that someone has had a nice meal. Only the beautiful feathers are left.

 Miles paddled 23  August 17,  The rain started about 4 this morning and was on and off till 6. As previously discovered wet sand is to be avoided at all costs. Don experimented with putting the tent on hard packed mud. This seemed to work okay, not sure if it would work in hard rain, but the amount of rain we got today seems to be fine. It took awhile to clean all the sand off our gear, but by the time we had done that the rain had stopped and the wind had quieted some. A fox was the first animal of the day. It ran along the shore for quite a ways.

Miles paddled 23

August 17,

The rain started about 4 this morning and was on and off till 6. As previously discovered wet sand is to be avoided at all costs. Don experimented with putting the tent on hard packed mud. This seemed to work okay, not sure if it would work in hard rain, but the amount of rain we got today seems to be fine. It took awhile to clean all the sand off our gear, but by the time we had done that the rain had stopped and the wind had quieted some. A fox was the first animal of the day. It ran along the shore for quite a ways.

  Today we will be heading south, then we will be rounding the most southern point of the Yukon before heading North.

 Today we will be heading south, then we will be rounding the most southern point of the Yukon before heading North.

 There it is!

There it is!

 One of the books that we have been reading about this section warns of winds that can develop here as well as strong currents that can occur. The river gets divided into 3 channels and one is to be avoided. Matthew from Russian Mission warned us about the current.

One of the books that we have been reading about this section warns of winds that can develop here as well as strong currents that can occur. The river gets divided into 3 channels and one is to be avoided. Matthew from Russian Mission warned us about the current.

 We are excited about the new direction that the the river takes. Once around the point we pull into shore and plan to explore an abandoned fishing village from over 200 years ago.

We are excited about the new direction that the the river takes. Once around the point we pull into shore and plan to explore an abandoned fishing village from over 200 years ago.

 This was a village that had Russian influence.  Several of the cabins have mostly fallen down.

This was a village that had Russian influence.

Several of the cabins have mostly fallen down.

 We look in one building that is still standing . We try to interpret the items inside. There is a huge stack of paper dishes, several bells and miscellaneous items. It looks like an animal has made a mess of the inside.

We look in one building that is still standing . We try to interpret the items inside. There is a huge stack of paper dishes, several bells and miscellaneous items. It looks like an animal has made a mess of the inside.

 This large bell sits on a table next to a smaller engraved bell.

This large bell sits on a table next to a smaller engraved bell.

 About 100 yards away thru tall grass is a small building with a cross on top, most likely a Russian Orthodox Church. There is an overgrown path to the church, which we decide to take. We are assuming that the inside of this building will also be in disarray  

About 100 yards away thru tall grass is a small building with a cross on top, most likely a Russian Orthodox Church. There is an overgrown path to the church, which we decide to take. We are assuming that the inside of this building will also be in disarray  

 There are some older graves around the back of the church, but there is a well maintained one right near the church.   

There are some older graves around the back of the church, but there is a well maintained one right near the church.

 

 Seems like it was freshly painted white with red flowers.  The door to the church is opened and it is nothing like the cabin. One could almost imagine that within recent time a service had occurred here. Since photos can tell a lot, below one can see items that we saw in the building.

Seems like it was freshly painted white with red flowers.

The door to the church is opened and it is nothing like the cabin. One could almost imagine that within recent time a service had occurred here. Since photos can tell a lot, below one can see items that we saw in the building.

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 There were several hymnal type books along with the below two written pages.

There were several hymnal type books along with the below two written pages.

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 Putting together some of the clues in the building, perhaps there was a potlatch done here to celebrate the death of one of the elders or priests. We head back to the canoe trying to visualize what it would have been like to live here many years ago.  The silver salmon are jumping and the geese are continuing to fly overhead. Fall is approaching.

Putting together some of the clues in the building, perhaps there was a potlatch done here to celebrate the death of one of the elders or priests. We head back to the canoe trying to visualize what it would have been like to live here many years ago.

The silver salmon are jumping and the geese are continuing to fly overhead. Fall is approaching.

 A porcupine waddles along the shore.

A porcupine waddles along the shore.

 It seems as soon as they see us they turn their quills toward us. They have no worries we will not get close!

It seems as soon as they see us they turn their quills toward us. They have no worries we will not get close!

 We start looking for home tonight and decide to stop at a very large mudflat.

We start looking for home tonight and decide to stop at a very large mudflat.

 It probably goes on for miles. We have discovered that hard mud is a good surface to set the tent on.

It probably goes on for miles. We have discovered that hard mud is a good surface to set the tent on.

 Tomorrow we should be stopping at the town of Marshall. Several boats have gone by our camp tonight, indicating the village is close.  Miles paddled 37  August 18  About 3 in the morning the wind begins to blow and the rain starts falling. It is hard to return to sleep as the wind and rain pelt our tent. We are in the midst of a large mudflat and there is no wind protection. Finally around 5 I decide that it is time to get up and when I look outside the stars are shining brightly. I head over to the tarp to make hot drinks and to start breakfast. As the morning light begins to brighten the landscape a large bull moose ambles by our campsite. He seems to be enjoying an early morning stroll. The wind is still blowing, but there are several small channels that we can take to Marshall. If we work our way up the shoreline we should be able to get some protection.  It definitely helps! We scare a cow moose and her calf as they are swimming across  a small outlet of the river. They quickly reverse their path and head back to the direction they came.   

Tomorrow we should be stopping at the town of Marshall. Several boats have gone by our camp tonight, indicating the village is close.

Miles paddled 37

August 18

About 3 in the morning the wind begins to blow and the rain starts falling. It is hard to return to sleep as the wind and rain pelt our tent. We are in the midst of a large mudflat and there is no wind protection. Finally around 5 I decide that it is time to get up and when I look outside the stars are shining brightly. I head over to the tarp to make hot drinks and to start breakfast. As the morning light begins to brighten the landscape a large bull moose ambles by our campsite. He seems to be enjoying an early morning stroll. The wind is still blowing, but there are several small channels that we can take to Marshall. If we work our way up the shoreline we should be able to get some protection.  It definitely helps! We scare a cow moose and her calf as they are swimming across  a small outlet of the river. They quickly reverse their path and head back to the direction they came.

 

 There are beautiful hills surrounding the village. At one time in history there was a gold mine here. It looks like there might be good berry picking up on  the hill aways, but the approach would take most of the day.      

There are beautiful hills surrounding the village. At one time in history there was a gold mine here. It looks like there might be good berry picking up on  the hill aways, but the approach would take most of the day.

 

 

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 When we reach the village there is a lot of activity going on as boats are being prepared for fishing . Don heads up to find water and perhaps a grocery store. He has success with water, but not so with the store.

When we reach the village there is a lot of activity going on as boats are being prepared for fishing . Don heads up to find water and perhaps a grocery store. He has success with water, but not so with the store.

 Most of the fishing here is done with drift nets. It is interesting to see the different types of boats that are used in the villages as we go downstream and get closer to the ocean. A man pulls into the shore and comes over to talk to us. His name is Charlie T and he welcomes us to Marshall. He is excited for the opener today and wishes he had a fish to give us. He tells us of a shortcut to get to Pilot Station, however he is not sure where it is on our map and tries to describe it to us. He warns us of the North Wind that makes this next section dangerous.  This time as we leave town the cemetery is below it.   

Most of the fishing here is done with drift nets. It is interesting to see the different types of boats that are used in the villages as we go downstream and get closer to the ocean. A man pulls into the shore and comes over to talk to us. His name is Charlie T and he welcomes us to Marshall. He is excited for the opener today and wishes he had a fish to give us. He tells us of a shortcut to get to Pilot Station, however he is not sure where it is on our map and tries to describe it to us. He warns us of the North Wind that makes this next section dangerous.

This time as we leave town the cemetery is below it.

 

 The wind never really calms today and since we are hugging the shore, it is unlikely that will be going to an island  This will be one of the few times that we will camp on the main land. There is only space for our tent right next to the willows. Not ideal but the only option is the one we take.   

The wind never really calms today and since we are hugging the shore, it is unlikely that will be going to an island  This will be one of the few times that we will camp on the main land. There is only space for our tent right next to the willows. Not ideal but the only option is the one we take.

 

 At least we have good wind protection.  Miles paddled 24  August 19  It had been awhile since we slept on the mainland. It was also the first time that we did not have an area round the tent for animals to walk around us. I was awakened by footsteps approaching our tent, a hiss and then an animal crashing thru the woods. It was hard to determine the size, but I was glad that it was running away from our tent. Not particularly fond of night animal encounters. The next morning tracks in the mud were more fox size. Sure sounded a lot larger! It was also the end of an opener and fishing boats were going up and down the river delivering their fish catches to a processor in one of the next villages. Then there was the northern lights and full moon. In other words it was not a good night for sleeping. When we finally did get up it was around 6. One of our later wake ups. There was a very heavy dew which also slows us down. The day was overcast with wind and rain. Sometimes quite hard.   

At least we have good wind protection.

Miles paddled 24

August 19

It had been awhile since we slept on the mainland. It was also the first time that we did not have an area round the tent for animals to walk around us. I was awakened by footsteps approaching our tent, a hiss and then an animal crashing thru the woods. It was hard to determine the size, but I was glad that it was running away from our tent. Not particularly fond of night animal encounters. The next morning tracks in the mud were more fox size. Sure sounded a lot larger! It was also the end of an opener and fishing boats were going up and down the river delivering their fish catches to a processor in one of the next villages. Then there was the northern lights and full moon. In other words it was not a good night for sleeping. When we finally did get up it was around 6. One of our later wake ups. There was a very heavy dew which also slows us down. The day was overcast with wind and rain. Sometimes quite hard.

 

 We looked for the shortcut that Charlie T had told us about. The current in a small channel was going in the direction we wanted to go, plus it was a lot smaller than the main channel. If it worked we would be out of the wind. Thinking that we should give it a try we headed down the slough. It was quite pleasant, and when 3 owls flew in front of us and several beavers were working at their huts, we enjoyed it even more. Then the slough split and it just didn't seem right. We pulled out the navionics app and it showed us going on a very long meandering channel. Eventually we would end up where we wanted to go, but it would not be a short cut. Not really wanting to but knew that we had to, we back tracked and worked our way up stream, back to the main channel. We had to ferry back and forth which even added more miles to the day.  When we got out to the main channel, the wind was against us and the rain was pouring. We decided that it was not worth stopping to camp, and that we would be warmer in the boat. We watched rain squalls heading our way and usually would get the brunt of them. We finally saw the village of Pilot Station in the distance. Decided not to stop as it was rather late in the day and the weather was beginning to clear. There were lots of nets on the shore as we paddled by the village.   

We looked for the shortcut that Charlie T had told us about. The current in a small channel was going in the direction we wanted to go, plus it was a lot smaller than the main channel. If it worked we would be out of the wind. Thinking that we should give it a try we headed down the slough. It was quite pleasant, and when 3 owls flew in front of us and several beavers were working at their huts, we enjoyed it even more. Then the slough split and it just didn't seem right. We pulled out the navionics app and it showed us going on a very long meandering channel. Eventually we would end up where we wanted to go, but it would not be a short cut. Not really wanting to but knew that we had to, we back tracked and worked our way up stream, back to the main channel. We had to ferry back and forth which even added more miles to the day.  When we got out to the main channel, the wind was against us and the rain was pouring. We decided that it was not worth stopping to camp, and that we would be warmer in the boat. We watched rain squalls heading our way and usually would get the brunt of them. We finally saw the village of Pilot Station in the distance. Decided not to stop as it was rather late in the day and the weather was beginning to clear. There were lots of nets on the shore as we paddled by the village.

 

 Some nets were lined out very neatly, others just piled. It would have been interesting to be here during an opener.  There is a tidal influence here and the first site we checked out would be underwater at high tide. Finally found a gravel beach that we could make a platform to put our tent on. It took some work, but home was made and a couple of tired paddlers headed to bed. First though we were gifted with a rainbow in the sky. I decided that listening for animals in the night was not worth the effort and quickly fell into a deep sleep.   

Some nets were lined out very neatly, others just piled. It would have been interesting to be here during an opener.

There is a tidal influence here and the first site we checked out would be underwater at high tide. Finally found a gravel beach that we could make a platform to put our tent on. It took some work, but home was made and a couple of tired paddlers headed to bed. First though we were gifted with a rainbow in the sky. I decided that listening for animals in the night was not worth the effort and quickly fell into a deep sleep.

 

 Miles paddled 36  August 20  It was a wet night and trying to get small pieces of gravel off the bottom of the tent was challenging. Fortunately the rain had stopped and there was sun and wind. Slowly our gear got dried and we were able to pack it up. The wind is blowing and the waves are descent size in the middle of the river. We are only able to travel by hugging the shore and going between islands. There is a channel that parallels the main channel and if we can get to it we should be able to get closer to our destination. We heard a boat and then saw it coming out of the channel.  We were soon heading up the channel with visions of St. Mary's as our destination.   

Miles paddled 36

August 20

It was a wet night and trying to get small pieces of gravel off the bottom of the tent was challenging. Fortunately the rain had stopped and there was sun and wind. Slowly our gear got dried and we were able to pack it up. The wind is blowing and the waves are descent size in the middle of the river. We are only able to travel by hugging the shore and going between islands. There is a channel that parallels the main channel and if we can get to it we should be able to get closer to our destination. We heard a boat and then saw it coming out of the channel.  We were soon heading up the channel with visions of St. Mary's as our destination.

 

 These visions were soon crushed as we approached the end of the channel. In the distance we could see sand blowing across the water and the waves were higher than what we wanted to paddle in. It looks like we might be stopping sooner than we thought.    

These visions were soon crushed as we approached the end of the channel. In the distance we could see sand blowing across the water and the waves were higher than what we wanted to paddle in. It looks like we might be stopping sooner than we thought. 

 

 Blowing sand is not a good sign.  Looks like a path leads up to a small clearing large enough for our tent. We set up camp, perhaps the wind will die and we can paddle later this afternoon. Don crashes and when the wind doesn't die down we make the site our permanent home. Don sleeps and I take a little walk , which ends up rather short as the terrain is overgrown grass with lots of logs. I decide that a sprained ankle at this stage in the trip is not worth it.   

Blowing sand is not a good sign.

Looks like a path leads up to a small clearing large enough for our tent. We set up camp, perhaps the wind will die and we can paddle later this afternoon. Don crashes and when the wind doesn't die down we make the site our permanent home. Don sleeps and I take a little walk , which ends up rather short as the terrain is overgrown grass with lots of logs. I decide that a sprained ankle at this stage in the trip is not worth it.

 

 Sleep is good!  This is one of the shortest paddles of the trip.  Miles traveled 15  August 21  The beavers were quite active last night and the wind continued to blow hard. Not a good night for sleeping till about 4 when one could sense the wind had calmed. I was ready to get up, but it was still dark at 6. The seasons are changing. Last night we could see the lights of Pitkas Point. For some reason we were able to get cell service. It was enough to load emails and get an idea of when the eclipse was going to occur. It would only be a partial one, but still we would be aware that it was happening. It was very foggy this morning. We could not see the other side of the river. We also decided that we were not going to visit St. Marys. It would have added 6 miles to our journey 3 of which would have been paddling up the Andreafsky River. Today was starting out with flat water conditions and we wanted to take advantages of it. We started out by hugging the shore as that was the only thing we could see. We eventually realized that we were crossing the Andreafsky River.  The fog was lifting and Canada geese were hanging out on the shore.   

Sleep is good!  This is one of the shortest paddles of the trip.

Miles traveled 15

August 21

The beavers were quite active last night and the wind continued to blow hard. Not a good night for sleeping till about 4 when one could sense the wind had calmed. I was ready to get up, but it was still dark at 6. The seasons are changing. Last night we could see the lights of Pitkas Point. For some reason we were able to get cell service. It was enough to load emails and get an idea of when the eclipse was going to occur. It would only be a partial one, but still we would be aware that it was happening. It was very foggy this morning. We could not see the other side of the river. We also decided that we were not going to visit St. Marys. It would have added 6 miles to our journey 3 of which would have been paddling up the Andreafsky River. Today was starting out with flat water conditions and we wanted to take advantages of it. We started out by hugging the shore as that was the only thing we could see. We eventually realized that we were crossing the Andreafsky River.  The fog was lifting and Canada geese were hanging out on the shore.

 

 As the fog lifted we could see some blue sky overhead and clouds were going back and forth in front of the sun. Perhaps just perhaps we could get a photo of the partial eclipse. I pointed the camera at the sun behind our backs and took some shots. 

As the fog lifted we could see some blue sky overhead and clouds were going back and forth in front of the sun. Perhaps just perhaps we could get a photo of the partial eclipse. I pointed the camera at the sun behind our backs and took some shots. 

 First photo

First photo

 Second photo

Second photo

 Third Photo. The skies were definitely lighter so perhaps we were part of the eclipse frenzy!  Today we saw our first large flock of Sandhill cranes flying overhead. Their vocal noice is easily identified.   

Third Photo. The skies were definitely lighter so perhaps we were part of the eclipse frenzy!

Today we saw our first large flock of Sandhill cranes flying overhead. Their vocal noice is easily identified.

 

 Sandhill Cranes  As we were approaching Mountain Village we saw lots of nets on the shore as well as numerous fish camps. When we saw a cemetery up on a hill we knew that we were approaching Mountain Village. As we pulled into the village, Martin, a man from the village, walked down to greet us. He told Don where to go for groceries and where to get water. As I waited on shore several men came up to talk to me as well. They were curious about what we were doing. They also said that the fish processor had free fish if we wanted one. The fish had just been caught. Our partially sunny morning had now turned to rain and the wind was starting to blow. When Don returned from the town , he was carrying empty droms. and some of the best grocery food yet. Several people had told Don about a spring just outside of town and that the people living here all get their water here. We loaded up and headed to the spring.   

Sandhill Cranes

As we were approaching Mountain Village we saw lots of nets on the shore as well as numerous fish camps. When we saw a cemetery up on a hill we knew that we were approaching Mountain Village. As we pulled into the village, Martin, a man from the village, walked down to greet us. He told Don where to go for groceries and where to get water. As I waited on shore several men came up to talk to me as well. They were curious about what we were doing. They also said that the fish processor had free fish if we wanted one. The fish had just been caught. Our partially sunny morning had now turned to rain and the wind was starting to blow. When Don returned from the town , he was carrying empty droms. and some of the best grocery food yet. Several people had told Don about a spring just outside of town and that the people living here all get their water here. We loaded up and headed to the spring.

 

 When we arrived someone was getting water there as well. So much better than the treated water. There was some wind blowing and we had to make the decision to cross or not. The place we wanted to cross had numerous islands which would provide us protection from the north wind. We decided to go for it and made our way to the other side. The challenge now was where to camp. We didn't have any options for quite a ways. There was a channel that we could take  tomorrow that parallels the main current. We had not planned going to where it started, but there was not any suitable camping so when we arrived to the channel, we were relieved to see a suitable camp spot. We finished setting up camp in the dark.  Miles paddled 35  August 22  We got up at 6 and used our headlamps to see. Just as the first hints of dawn were appearing a fox walked slowly by our tent. It stopped, would check us out and then keep walking. Foxes in the area do carry rabies so I was glad when it passed on by. It was a chilly, misty morning and our warm hats felt good,   

When we arrived someone was getting water there as well. So much better than the treated water. There was some wind blowing and we had to make the decision to cross or not. The place we wanted to cross had numerous islands which would provide us protection from the north wind. We decided to go for it and made our way to the other side. The challenge now was where to camp. We didn't have any options for quite a ways. There was a channel that we could take  tomorrow that parallels the main current. We had not planned going to where it started, but there was not any suitable camping so when we arrived to the channel, we were relieved to see a suitable camp spot. We finished setting up camp in the dark.

Miles paddled 35

August 22

We got up at 6 and used our headlamps to see. Just as the first hints of dawn were appearing a fox walked slowly by our tent. It stopped, would check us out and then keep walking. Foxes in the area do carry rabies so I was glad when it passed on by. It was a chilly, misty morning and our warm hats felt good,

 

 Hat made by our son Jeff.  The slough or channel feels like a whole different world than what we have paddled recently. It seems strange to easily see both sides. Before we were in  the channel the river was often 3 to 4 miles wide. Now early in the day it can be measured by yards.. A cow moose is spooked as we start out and then just a little later we are being observed by a young bull moose.   

Hat made by our son Jeff.

The slough or channel feels like a whole different world than what we have paddled recently. It seems strange to easily see both sides. Before we were in  the channel the river was often 3 to 4 miles wide. Now early in the day it can be measured by yards.. A cow moose is spooked as we start out and then just a little later we are being observed by a young bull moose.

 

 Hunting season is coming soon and this moose could be in trouble if it doesn't take off when it sees boaters. It seemed today was a day of inward reflection. Tomorrow if all goes as planned we may be in Emmonak, the end of the journey. The channel finally joins the main river and we can see why so many people warned us to get off the water if the wind picks up. We feel like we are on the ocean. As we look to the North all we see is open water. More boats are on the water than we have seen the whole trip. Most wave if they are close enough. Others look tiny as they hug the opposite shore. There must have been a fish opener. We are not sure where we are going to end up today. At Mountain village we had gotten a weather forecast predicting that a wind storm was coming day after tomorrow. If that is accurate we need to paddle as far as we can get. Our direction turns westward which is a good identification of where we are. We start running into numerous sandbars and realize that the tide will be a factor in where we can camp. The wind is blowing steadily, but we feel that we can safely cross to the other side which is where Emmonak is located. We pull out our navionics app when we reach the other side. We are about 7 miles from the village. It shows us approaching land, but that is not the case as we have a ways to go before we can get around an island. The Yukon deposits so much sand in this area that the channels are continually  changing.  Finally as the light begins to fade, we find a small piece of ground that is above the high tide line. We eat some cold food and call it supper. The gnats are the worst of the trip so we quickly retreat to the tent and are glad that this day is over. We paddled for over 12 hours today. It has been a long day. Tomorrow may be our last day of paddling on the Yukon.  Miles paddled 46  August 23  Fortunately when we got out of out tent this morning, the gnats were too cold to annoy us. We ate a quick  breakfast and headed toward the village. So thankful that we had put in a long day of paddling yesterday and had crossed the river to this side. The wind was beginning to pick up, but did not have much effect on us.  In the distance we saw the wind generators, another indication that the wind is a frequent element here.   

Hunting season is coming soon and this moose could be in trouble if it doesn't take off when it sees boaters. It seemed today was a day of inward reflection. Tomorrow if all goes as planned we may be in Emmonak, the end of the journey. The channel finally joins the main river and we can see why so many people warned us to get off the water if the wind picks up. We feel like we are on the ocean. As we look to the North all we see is open water. More boats are on the water than we have seen the whole trip. Most wave if they are close enough. Others look tiny as they hug the opposite shore. There must have been a fish opener. We are not sure where we are going to end up today. At Mountain village we had gotten a weather forecast predicting that a wind storm was coming day after tomorrow. If that is accurate we need to paddle as far as we can get. Our direction turns westward which is a good identification of where we are. We start running into numerous sandbars and realize that the tide will be a factor in where we can camp. The wind is blowing steadily, but we feel that we can safely cross to the other side which is where Emmonak is located. We pull out our navionics app when we reach the other side. We are about 7 miles from the village. It shows us approaching land, but that is not the case as we have a ways to go before we can get around an island. The Yukon deposits so much sand in this area that the channels are continually  changing.

Finally as the light begins to fade, we find a small piece of ground that is above the high tide line. We eat some cold food and call it supper. The gnats are the worst of the trip so we quickly retreat to the tent and are glad that this day is over. We paddled for over 12 hours today. It has been a long day. Tomorrow may be our last day of paddling on the Yukon.

Miles paddled 46

August 23

Fortunately when we got out of out tent this morning, the gnats were too cold to annoy us. We ate a quick  breakfast and headed toward the village. So thankful that we had put in a long day of paddling yesterday and had crossed the river to this side. The wind was beginning to pick up, but did not have much effect on us.  In the distance we saw the wind generators, another indication that the wind is a frequent element here.

 

 Lots of the villages on the coast utilize the wind for their power.  The first building that we saw was the fish processor. Now it made sense why we saw so many boats yesterday.   

Lots of the villages on the coast utilize the wind for their power.

The first building that we saw was the fish processor. Now it made sense why we saw so many boats yesterday.

 

 When  we were here, it operated around the clock. The silence of the Yukon was gone. We headed past the processing plant and saw a tent and canoe on the shore. We soon were welcomed to Emmonak by Quintin and Sarah. They had also paddled the length of the Yukon arriving yesterday. Their journey was a month longer than us as they spent longer times in the towns, plus had conditions  which prevented them from moving. It seemed like we must have been in the right locations when the storms hit.

When  we were here, it operated around the clock. The silence of the Yukon was gone. We headed past the processing plant and saw a tent and canoe on the shore. We soon were welcomed to Emmonak by Quintin and Sarah. They had also paddled the length of the Yukon arriving yesterday. Their journey was a month longer than us as they spent longer times in the towns, plus had conditions  which prevented them from moving. It seemed like we must have been in the right locations when the storms hit.

 Having tea with our canoeing neighbors.  As we were setting up camp, numerous folks came by on their four wheelers to welcome us and ask us if we had anything for sale.. When we started our paddle, we were unsure of what we were going to do with our canoe at the end of the trip. Several sources that we had read commented that the villages here have boats sitting in their yards from paddlers. Some have been abandoned. Our canoe was not sleek, lightweight or shiny, but we had come to appreciate its durability. We thought that we would pursue what it would cost to ship it back to Anchorage. We soon found our answer from Quintin. It was way reasonable! Everts Air, a cargo business would take our canoe back to anchorage for 30 cents a pound. It did not matter the size ,so for less than 25 dollars our boat was heading south. It also seemed that we could have sold it for a good price as well. Don hitched out to the airport to confirm this information. The folks at  Evert Air suggested that we find someone at the fish processor to truck our boat out to the airport. Now we had to figure out how we were going to get back to Anchorage. We had not purchased a ticket due to the uncertainty of our ending date. The soonest option was leaving in two days flying on Grant Aviation to Bethel then Alaska Airlines to Anchorage. We booked the flight and will plan on enjoying our first no paddle day tomorrow.  We know we are quite close to the Bering Sea when a large barge pulls in  to the processor.    

Having tea with our canoeing neighbors.

As we were setting up camp, numerous folks came by on their four wheelers to welcome us and ask us if we had anything for sale.. When we started our paddle, we were unsure of what we were going to do with our canoe at the end of the trip. Several sources that we had read commented that the villages here have boats sitting in their yards from paddlers. Some have been abandoned. Our canoe was not sleek, lightweight or shiny, but we had come to appreciate its durability. We thought that we would pursue what it would cost to ship it back to Anchorage. We soon found our answer from Quintin. It was way reasonable! Everts Air, a cargo business would take our canoe back to anchorage for 30 cents a pound. It did not matter the size ,so for less than 25 dollars our boat was heading south. It also seemed that we could have sold it for a good price as well. Don hitched out to the airport to confirm this information. The folks at  Evert Air suggested that we find someone at the fish processor to truck our boat out to the airport. Now we had to figure out how we were going to get back to Anchorage. We had not purchased a ticket due to the uncertainty of our ending date. The soonest option was leaving in two days flying on Grant Aviation to Bethel then Alaska Airlines to Anchorage. We booked the flight and will plan on enjoying our first no paddle day tomorrow.

We know we are quite close to the Bering Sea when a large barge pulls in  to the processor.


 

 The barges on the upper Yukon are quite small when compared to this one.  A man called Bart stops by to visit. It is an interesting conversation. He plans on returning with some fresh moose meat. A little later he returns with warm moose meat and several of his children. We give them some of our trail mix which they appreciate.   

The barges on the upper Yukon are quite small when compared to this one.

A man called Bart stops by to visit. It is an interesting conversation. He plans on returning with some fresh moose meat. A little later he returns with warm moose meat and several of his children. We give them some of our trail mix which they appreciate.

 

 Bart and several of his children.  We spend the rest of the day drinking tea and sharing stories with Quitin and Sarah. Tomorrow will the first day since we started our paddle that we will not be canoeing. It is a good feeling to be here. Don celebrates his 67th birthday with some ice cream from the Alaska Commercial store. There was a good selection  of food items here. The best since we left Dawson.  Miles paddled 8  August 24  Our last full day in Emmonak, was a slow to rise day as the main goals today were to take showers, do laundry and repack our gear to send it back to Anchorage. Grant Aviation allows us to take 100 pounds of gear with us, but won't guarantee that we will be able to take it. It all depends who and what is on the plane.  With that knowledge we decided to send 100 pounds of gear back with our canoe. So once again we find ourselves repackaging our packs. We are grateful that the rain is holding off. The wind has been blowing quite strong. We had tentatively planned to take a boat ride to the mouth of the river, but due to wind it was canceled. Seeing it from the air tomorrow will have to suffice. We head up to the laundry, shower building and check off some of our main goals for the day. A wind generator near the town eliminates silence. We enjoyed seeing the street signs.   

Bart and several of his children.

We spend the rest of the day drinking tea and sharing stories with Quitin and Sarah. Tomorrow will the first day since we started our paddle that we will not be canoeing. It is a good feeling to be here. Don celebrates his 67th birthday with some ice cream from the Alaska Commercial store. There was a good selection  of food items here. The best since we left Dawson.

Miles paddled 8

August 24

Our last full day in Emmonak, was a slow to rise day as the main goals today were to take showers, do laundry and repack our gear to send it back to Anchorage. Grant Aviation allows us to take 100 pounds of gear with us, but won't guarantee that we will be able to take it. It all depends who and what is on the plane.  With that knowledge we decided to send 100 pounds of gear back with our canoe. So once again we find ourselves repackaging our packs. We are grateful that the rain is holding off. The wind has been blowing quite strong. We had tentatively planned to take a boat ride to the mouth of the river, but due to wind it was canceled. Seeing it from the air tomorrow will have to suffice. We head up to the laundry, shower building and check off some of our main goals for the day. A wind generator near the town eliminates silence. We enjoyed seeing the street signs.

 

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 The Yukon has several main channels that flow into the Bering Sea. Emmonak is on the Kwiguk one.

The Yukon has several main channels that flow into the Bering Sea. Emmonak is on the Kwiguk one.

 The end of the Yukon is called the Delta.  Sarah had gotten up early to check out where the Fish and  Game was located. They do tests on the fish they net and will give away the tested fish. She was successful in obtaining a very beautiful silver salmon so we combined our food and had our own potlatch. Several more visitors came by to say Hi. Bart stops by with a thermos of coffee, Emmonak is a very friendly town. Not much to do tonight so we head to our tent and gear our thoughts towards the life of cars, people and home.

The end of the Yukon is called the Delta.

Sarah had gotten up early to check out where the Fish and  Game was located. They do tests on the fish they net and will give away the tested fish. She was successful in obtaining a very beautiful silver salmon so we combined our food and had our own potlatch. Several more visitors came by to say Hi. Bart stops by with a thermos of coffee, Emmonak is a very friendly town. Not much to do tonight so we head to our tent and gear our thoughts towards the life of cars, people and home.

 Our home while in Emmonak.  Miles paddled 0!  August 25  Waking up with sunshine and wind was a relief .Can't say that it was a quiet night. The wind generators were spinning, the beach was filled with noisy people and the fishing processor was quite loud. What a contrast to our previous nights. Our plane  leaves early afternoon and we will be able to get our tent and tarp dry. We share some coffee and tea with the neighbors and finish up the packing. Don finds a truck to take our canoe and packs to the cargo hangar. When he returns we take our end of trip photo.   

Our home while in Emmonak.

Miles paddled 0!

August 25

Waking up with sunshine and wind was a relief .Can't say that it was a quiet night. The wind generators were spinning, the beach was filled with noisy people and the fishing processor was quite loud. What a contrast to our previous nights. Our plane  leaves early afternoon and we will be able to get our tent and tarp dry. We share some coffee and tea with the neighbors and finish up the packing. Don finds a truck to take our canoe and packs to the cargo hangar. When he returns we take our end of trip photo.

 

 Total mileage 1850!!!!!!  We are both ready to let our arms rest up some. We head off walking to the airport each carrying a canoe barrel and paddles. We are quickly offered a ride to the airport.  It was a good thing that we are sending some of our packs with the canoe. The plane is full and there is only room for the gear we are carrying.   

Total mileage 1850!!!!!!

We are both ready to let our arms rest up some. We head off walking to the airport each carrying a canoe barrel and paddles. We are quickly offered a ride to the airport.  It was a good thing that we are sending some of our packs with the canoe. The plane is full and there is only room for the gear we are carrying.

 

 The eight seater plane will take us to Bethel.  We have several hours to wait in Bethel before our Alaska Airlines flight to Anchorage. We walk to a nearby restaurant and have a burger and fries, first one in three months. We feel fortunate that there is still daylight when we take off. We see where the Yukon flows into the Bering Sea. Out our window we see sections of the Yukon that we paddled    

The eight seater plane will take us to Bethel.

We have several hours to wait in Bethel before our Alaska Airlines flight to Anchorage. We walk to a nearby restaurant and have a burger and fries, first one in three months. We feel fortunate that there is still daylight when we take off. We see where the Yukon flows into the Bering Sea. Out our window we see sections of the Yukon that we paddled 

 

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 There is so much water! The sun goes down and soon we see the lights of Anchorage. Two hours later we are back home. Time to go to bed!

There is so much water! The sun goes down and soon we see the lights of Anchorage. Two hours later we are back home. Time to go to bed!