Noatak River, Alaska August 2015

From Nelson Walker Lake to Kotzebue

August 16, 2015

The night the bear came to visit.  About 2:30AM the sea gulls started screeching.  It was as if they were warning us of an unwanted visitor. Sure enough that is when we heard the bear walking right by the tent. We could hear the bear breathing. I unlatched the safety from the bear spray and wondered how our tent would fare against bear claws.  I did not get to find out as the bear just walked on by.  Don was soon back to snoring lightly and I was in my bear alert mode. A night of waking and sleeping was my operating mode.   We are now in range of using the marine band radio for weather forecasts. The prediction of rain for today was accurate. We tried to gather rain from the tarp, but with little success. The river had some debris from the rain, but was adequate for cooking.  The river has become quite wide and the current is noticeably slower. Even though we are still about 75 miles from the mouth of the river, we started seeing seals.They had come up river to eat the migrating salmon. Several groups were basking on the shore. We landed and were able to get close to them before they dove into the water. It is fun to see them use their periscope movement to observe us. We found a small stream and filled our droms with water for the next several days. A check for blueberries rewarded us with a bountiful supply.  The terrain looked easy to walk on, but the tussocks proved otherwise. Not wanting to risk a turned ankle we took our berries and headed back to the boat. The wind is now our enemy as it feels like lake paddling. We are able to get some relief as we hug the shore when we can. More power boats are on the river as now we are only 50 miles from the mouth of the river. We find a large gravel island and settle in for the night. As the sun is setting we see the two Danish men approaching.

Miles paddled 27