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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No storms during the night and another morning of great light.
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.
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.
We noticed a cemetery and soon the small village of Grayling appeared.
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,
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.
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.
We pass the mouth of the Anvik River which is clear and just a little bit upstream is the town of Anvik.
A new gazebo has been built near here.
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 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.
As the day continued the wind continued to die which we never mind. The clouds were fun to watch today.
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.
Miles paddled 39
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.
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.