Yukon River Quest - Page 12
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It was downright cold when we set out this morning.  We pushed into a light but frigid
headwind and a cold mist.  I paddled out ahead of Quinton, but stopped when I saw my first
bear of the trip, excluding the one in camp on the drive up.  It was a big black bear.  Quinton
was lucky enough to catch up and get some good snapshots before it lumbered back into
the woods.

The weather improved in the afternoon.  The wind and rain stopped and the clouds lifted
enough I could see the mountaintops.  The sun tried its best to peek through, but never
quite made it.

I’ve made it to the salmon run.  I saw two fish wheels working today, and people setting up
many more.

I made it to the town of Tanana before Quinton and walked up to check out town since we
need to get mail in the morning.  The first person I ran into was a small native woman about
50 years old.  I asked her where the post office was, and as soon as she started telling me,
I realized she was sloppy drunk.  She proceeded to pull a fifth of cheap whisky out of her
backpack and drink nearly a quarter of it in one shot.  Then she asked me if I had any pot.  I
said I was sorry, but I didn’t have any at the moment and started back to the boat.  She
followed close behind.

As we passed an abandoned house, she grabbed my shirt and said, “Let’s have sex!”

I said, “I’d rather not.”

She replied, “I’ll be in there waiting.” And went in the empty house.  She may still be in
there.  I tried to get Quinton to go check, but he won’t.

We set up camp in front of the general store/post office.  Unfortunately, this seems to be the
hang out spot for the local kids.  Most of them have gone to bed now, so hopefully we don’t
have any trouble.  I hate camping in town, but campsites are few and far between out here.
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The restaurant didn’t open until 9:00, so Quinton and I got a late start, but the grease from
the giant omelets we ate were great fuel for paddling.

The sun never did come out today.  Low clouds threatened to rain on us, but never did.  A
strong headwind picked up early on and stuck with us through the day.  Quinton was
enjoying the lively water, but I was tired of getting splashed by cold waves on a cold day.

My spray skirt ripped today.  The tear is only about an inch long, but it’s bound to get bigger
if I don’t fix it soon.  I have a tube of adhesive I could fix it with, but it needs to be dry.  Dry
hasn’t been an option today.  I tried drying it over my cook stove, but that was a disaster
waiting to happen.  I’ll just have to be really careful with it until I see the sun again.

I paddled out ahead of Quinton for most of the afternoon.  The mile or two between us gave
me the solitude I need to think.  I thought mostly about Kelly and our future together.  I’m
glad I can finally focus on the future instead of the past.

I met back up with Quinton near the village of Rampart.  We set up camp on a sandy beach
by the airport.  I want to walk into town, but since none of these towns have roads leading to
them, it’s pretty easy to spot a stranger, and although everyone has been friendly since Fort
Yukon, it’s still best to keep a low profile.

Tonight is by far the coldest night I’ve had on the trip.  I’ll live, but I wanted to complain about
it before I go to sleep.
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We had to wait until 10:00 for the store in Tanana to open for a quick resupply, and we were
disappointed to find they didn’t sell beer.  The only place to buy that was the liquor store,
and they didn’t open until 5:00.  We were just getting ready to shove off when a local came
down to the boats.  He’d heard we were looking for beer and had some to sell us.  We had
to pay a premium for his bootleg beer, but neither of us had had a cold beer since Circle.

We set out into a strong cold headwind.  I was cold and wet all day.  The paddling was far
from ideal.  Late in the day we passed an older couple with a canoe.  The wind had blown
them off the water at a really lousy camp.  They were also headed for the sea, so we wished
them well and pushed on.

We soon came to an island with a truly fine sandbar and knew it was time to set up camp.  
Quinton went off to gather wood for a fire, and I made the rock corral in the water to keep the
beers from getting away while the Yukon chilled them for us.  Since we set up camp, the
sun has peeked through the clouds for the first time in nearly a week and the wind has died
down.  Hopefully, the weather is finally turning around.
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The weather looked promising this morning and the sun was even shining when I woke up,
but the clouds moved in as soon as we hit the water.  The scenery today was very pretty with
snow-capped mountains off to the right.  The river is nearly two miles wide and well over
three in the wide spots.  The current is still barely noticeable.

The wicked headwind picked up around 3:00 like it always does, but we pressed on
because there was a hot spring marked on my map.  We were tired and soaked from the
waves when we got there and we were more than a little disappointed to find it flooded out
by high water.  We both had visions of a steaming hot pool to rest our weary muscles in.

We pressed on looking for a place to camp.  The river is rising again, and campsites are
few and far between.  We stopped at an island with a marginal clearing and were almost
killed by a cloud of hungry mosquitoes.  We paddled another hour before settling for a low,
muddy camp on an island.  The mosquitoes are awful here too, but not life threatening.  As
Quinton was setting up camp he said he’d never worked so hard to get something out of
his bed in all his life.

Tomorrow we stop in the town of Ruby where I’ll get my GPS.  I’ve had very good paper
maps since the end of the Flats, so I haven’t needed the GPS anyway.  I would prefer to
keep using maps and not even take any gizmos with me, but I have really lousy maps from
Ruby to the ocean.
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  Message from Adam's Spotter

I'm OK!
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:06/27/2009 02:54:56 (GMT)
Here's where I am.
  Message from Adam's Spotter

I'm OK!
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:06/26/2009 05:47:19 (GMT)
Here's where I am.
Message from Adam's Spotter

I'm OK!
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:06/25/2009 03:32:03 (GMT)
Here's where I am.
   Message from Adam's Spotter

I'm OK!
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:06/24/2009 03:38:57 (GMT)
Here's where I am.

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