Noatak River, Alaska August 2015

From Nelson Walker Lake to Kotzebue

August 12, 2015

WET! WET! WET! After the warmest, sunniest day of the trip and the skies being so clear we opted to not set up the tarp. Mistake!  It started pouring during the night and continued all day.  Packing up in the rain we were on the water by 9:30 and soon afterwards a bear swam across the river in front of us. It was impressive of how easily he dealt with the depth and current of the river.  We gave him plenty of room as we paddled by him. HIgh on river right we noticed an orange tarp and two Alley Pak canoes.  We shouted Hello and two ladies came to the bank and motioned for us to come over. They were a group of four. Two were from Germany and two were from the Netherlands.  They invited us for tea and good conversation followed.  They were having a layover day to celebrate one of their party's birthday. The current in this stretch of water was quite fast so we felt that we were moving along at a good pace.  A large adult bear checked us out before showing us his powerful run up the mountain. One could see the muscles under his fur moving as he ran. We found a gravel bar with good height and made dinner. The wind died down and we had our first encounter with small biting gnats. We retreated to the tent and watched them on the outside of the netting.

Miles traveled 33