Yukon River Quest - Page 3
Phone message from Adam, Wednesday, June 10 - 6:30 pm
I'm in Carmacks, and everything is going well.  The spring thaw currents are pushing me
so I've been making good time.  I'm going to put in a couple more hours today so I will hit
Five Finger Rapids tomorrow morning when I'm fresh.  At the rate I'm going, I'll probably
make Dawson in about five days.  I've seen a porcupine and I've met some others
kayaking, but I don't know if they're going all the way.  They don't speak English and I don't
speak German!
When I made it to the start of the far side of the lake, I stopped to check out the remains of
the steamboat Casca.  There wasn’t much left, just a hull buried in a sandbar, and that’s
where I met my first fellow long distance paddler.  This guy isn’t going to make it, and he
gives people who know what they’re doing a bad name since he’s the Yukon paddler
everyone will remember when he shows up in town.

He was trying to play a flute when I pulled up and didn’t stop when he saw me, even though
I’m sure I looked annoyed.  He was paddling an inflatable kayak of questionable quality,
and his camp was a mess.  He said he was headed to the ocean and was enjoying
communing with nature.  He’d been out a week and covered 50 miles.  It’s going to be
snowing in three months.  He didn’t have any maps.  Didn’t need em – just follow the river,
man.  I wished him luck and headed back to my boat.  He started dancing around.  At least
he had clothes on.

The river here is amazing!  The water is clear, blue, and moving fast.  I love to watch all the
multicolored boulders fly under the boat faster than I can run.  I have to enjoy it while I can.  I
can see the bottom 10 feet below me right now, but it won’t be long before it’s too silty to
see even an inch.

I’ve set up camp on a sandy island.  My first choice was a shady clearing in the trees, but
the mosquitoes were way too bad, so I’ll just have to be in the sun all night.  The sun doesn’
t rise in the east and set in the west.  It just goes in a big circle around the horizon.  I’m glad
I have a watch and compass, because the sun doesn’t do me any good for time checks or
navigation.  There is an upside to all of this; I don’t have to put on my headlight when I
venture out of the tent at night to pee.
It rained a little overnight, but it was sunny when I woke up at 4 am.  I stayed in the tent for
another hour, then packed up and hit the water.  I enjoyed the clear blue water for about 10
miles before the Teslin River joined the Yukon.  The Teslin is big and silty.  So silty that I
could hear the tiny rock particles sliding  down the hull of the boat.  When I first heard this
hissing sound, I pulled over to make sure my can of bug spray wasn’t discharging in the

I stopped for lunch on Steamboat Island.  This is where steamships were pulled ashore for
the long Yukon winter and the final resting place for the steamboat Evelan.  I can’t imagine
a boat that big on this river and, according to the sign, she was a small one.
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I was able to actually be on the water by 6 am, which is pretty good for me.  I’m good at
waking up early, but I have a lot of trouble getting out of my sleeping bag.

I checked my water level stick and found that the river had risen and inch over night.  It’s too
high already!  I set out and turned on my GPS to see how fast the water was moving.  8 to 9
mph without me paddling.

It was a little chilly this morning and my hands were really cold.  I wanted to stop and dig out
my gloves, but the water was too high and fast.  All the sandbars are under water and the
banks are steep and muddy.  Things are made even worse by the fact that the ice broke up
early and fast this year, bulldozing all the small trees near the water.

I reached the town of Carmacks at noon.  I’d covered 61 miles in 6 hours.  The river was
flying!  Just looking at it from camp tonight it looks scary fast, and I have five finger rapids to
deal with tomorrow.

I’m not going to turn my journal into a long story about how I miss my girlfriend, because I
hate reading those, but I’d been thinking about Kelly since I left Whitehorse, and the first
thing I did when I got to Carmacks was find a pay phone.  I tried several times, but kept
getting a message that all circuits are busy.  I had a 10 dollar hamburger and a three dollar
coke (prices are high up here) and tried again.  I got the same message.  I was able to get
through to the operator who told me a forest fire had burned the main phone line and it
would be at least a few hours before it got fixed.

I tried a few hours later and had the same result, so I stopped at the police station to ask if I
could camp at the boat dock.  The cop was nice and said I could, but asked me several
times about guns.  I’m sure he thought I had one, but I don’t – mine’s waiting for me in
Eagle, Alaska.
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Every river I passed was flooded, and soon the Yukon was bank full.  It’s hard to paddle a
flooded river.  The current is strong and pushy.  I have to pay attention so I don’t get flipped.  
The worst thing about high water however, is that it floods all the campsites and makes
getting off the water really tough.  I set up camp early on a nice island where I could get up
away from the river.  I stuck a stick in the bank at water level so I’ll know if the river is rising.  
Right now, it’s best to play it safe.

I’m coming to my first town tomorrow.  Carmacks is 200 miles from Whitehorse and my first
chance to call back home.  My plan is to head out really early in the morning since I quit
early tonight.  Usually, my early morning starts don’t actually happen, but I’ll do my best.
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   Message from Adam's Spotter

I'm OK!
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:06/10/2009 22:24:55 (GMT)
Here's where I am.
   Message from Adam's Spotter

I'm OK!
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:06/10/2009 00:52:11 (GMT)
Here's where I am.
   Message from Adam's Spotter

I'm OK!
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:06/09/2009 02:30:26 (GMT)
Here's where I am.

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