Yukon River Quest - Page 4
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I tried the phone again at 4:00 and got through to Kelly.  It was great to talk to her and
found that my Spot had been working well.  Spot is a hand held device that sends my
location via satellite via email so that she and my friends know where I am and that I’m all
right.  I can also call for help with it if need be, but I have no way of knowing if my
message went through.

I felt lonely after I hung up with Kelly, but I was glad I got to talk to her.  I tried to call
another friend, but the phone wasn’t working, so I went back to the water.  I paddled a few
more hours before finding a marginal campsite atop a steep bank.  There is a fire pit, a
clearing, and a fork at my campsite.  There is a ban on fires, and I’m doing well with my
spoon, so I’ll just use the clearing.

I’m nine miles above Five Finger Rapids.  I’ve been worried about the rapids since I
started researching this trip.  The river passes over a band of basalt and is necked into
four narrow channels.  This restriction causes it to greatly increase in velocity, and all
sorts of interesting waves and eddies result.  High water makes it worse.  The water’s

It used to be a death trap, but the right channel was blasted clear to allow steam ships to
be winched through on a cable.  Most accounts I’ve read say it’s safe to run on the right at
all water levels, but it has killed a fair number of people, so I’m more than a little
concerned.  I’m also worried that there won’t be any place to pull out and scout the rapids,
so I’ll end up running them without knowing what lies ahead.  I’m just going to have to be
really careful and hope I can portage it if it’s too rough.
I didn’t sleep well last night.  All I could think about was Five Finger Rapids and everything
that could go wrong there.  I woke up at 4:00 wanting to hit the water and get it over with, but
it was raining and it was 8:00 before things cleared up and I got going.

It took me an hour to reach the rapids.  I was super nervous the whole time, but tried to
keep calm by singing to myself.  I rounded a corner and heard a roar.  There it was!  I was
worried that I wouldn’t even be able to pull off the river to scout the rapids, but I was able to
pull out about a quarter mile above them at a cut bank.  I found a lot of conflicting reports on
the internet about the rapids, and I know people sometimes use my website for trip
planning, so I’ll do my best to describe the rapids.
From the observation platform, it looked like I could sneak past the standing waves on the
left, but once on the water I had to plow through three to four foot waves for about 100
yards, and very choppy water for about a mile afterwards.  If you were to dump there, it
would be extremely difficult to get to shore.  Rink Rapid is a few miles downstream and
very easy to run on the right.  If someone wasn’t sure they could run the rapids, they could
probably hitch from the campgrounds above Carmacks to Minto.
between me and the ocean.

I paddled a few more hours before coming to the tiny resort village of Minto.  From what I
can tell, it is supported entirely by cruise companies who run buses through, but I was
able to buy a meal there and use the phone.  I wanted to get right back on the water, but a
storm was coming, so they let me hang around until it passed over.

Continued on next page
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There was a trail that led to an observation platform where I was able to scout the rapids.  
There was a long tongue of smooth water followed by a series of large standing waves.  
There was an access trail to the highway about a mile away and lots of other trails leading in
all directions.  I tried briefly to find a trail that went below the rapids, but didn’t see one.  A
portage here would be very difficult, if not impossible, and the trail to the road is a mile long,
mostly uphill and has tons of stairs.  Once you leave Carmacks, you are committed to the
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   Message from Adam's Spotter

I'm OK!
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:06/11/2009 01:40:19 (GMT)
Here's where I am.
 Message from Adam's Spotter

I'm OK!
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:06/11/2009 17:29:55 (GMT)
Here's where I am.

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