Yukon River Quest - Page 14
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7.02.09
I had to paddle through about 20 yards of six inch deep water to get to camp last night.  The
river dropped about seven inches overnight, so when I woke up, the boat was a long way
from the water.  Luckily, all the newly exposed ground was covered in greasy mud, so it was
an easy drag.  The water has finally dropped enough to expose some good sandbars for
camping.

I paddled out past the big mountain I saw all day yesterday.  Now there are only forested
hills to my right and flat land to my left.

I paddled down the middle of the river.  The shore was a mile away in either direction.  The
only sounds I could hear were my paddle blades splashing in the water and the swarm of
horseflies around my head.  I’m always in a swarm of something.  Right now, it’s black flies
and a nice helping of mosquitoes.  My Ipod is back in service.  I’ve been using a solar
charger to keep it going, but there was a week or so where there was a definite lack of sun.  
It was nice to listen to Johnny Cash for a while instead of the buzzing flies.

It’s been another beautiful sunny day.  It was actually uncomfortably hot for much of the day,
but I’m not complaining.  It beats the constant rain I had earlier.  When I passed the village
of Grayling, there were kids swimming in the river.  I set up camp just out of town.

I have about 275 miles of river left.  I’ll easily be done in six days.  I’m not tired of the river
yet, but I miss Kelly.  That’s mostly why I’ve pushed hard and covered 2000 miles of water in
a month.  I can’t be with her and be out here at the same time.  That’s just the way it is.

The only other news is that I have a bug bite on my toe that looks bad.  It looks better than it
did this morning, but it’s not something I want on me.  If I could get rid of just one of my
7000 bug bites, it would be that one.
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7.03.09
I paddled 20 miles to the village of Anvik.  The weather was calm and beautiful for all but the
last few miles into town where the wind started to pick up.  The store was closed, but the
owner opened up for me.  I was able to stock up on some much needed Pepsi and
Cheetos.  I mailed a letter out at the post office and headed out on the water.

The wind had picked up a lot while I was in town.  The river was now covered in three-foot
tall white caps.  I tried to sneak along close to the shore, but I was getting pounded.  I
stopped on a sheltered gravel bar about a mile down river.  It wasn’t even noon yet, so I
hiked over the mountain and back into town.

Most of the folks in town had already started celebrating the 4th of July and it was pretty
drunk around town.  I had tea with a drunk guy and his really drunk wife.  Every time she
came out of the house he’d yell, “Woman, go back inside!  You’re too drunk to be out here!”

I started walking out of town and a guy pulled up in a truck.  I love that everyone in these
towns owns a vehicle even though they aren’t attached to any roads.  We started talking
about how lousy the salmon run is this year and how much it’s hurting the people along the
river.  We passed a bottle of vodka back and forth as we talked.  An hour later, the bottle was
empty.  He said he’d take me up in his plane if he wasn’t so drunk.  I told him we better stay
on the ground for now.  I thanked him for sharing his drink and hiked back to the boat.

By the time I got there, I was pretty drunk myself, so I set up my tent and took a siesta.  It
was still too windy to paddle anyway.
When I woke up at 6:00, I was a little hung over, but the wind had let up, so I cooked supper
and went out for an evening paddle.  The wind must have just been on break because I
didn’t get far before it picked up again.  There wasn’t any place to stop, so I kept going.

I finally spotted a decent sandbar, but the second bear I’ve seen on this entire trip was there
getting a drink.  I pulled out my camera for a picture and the lens broke so I may be done
taking pictures on this trip.  I’ll try to salvage it tomorrow.

I’ve recycled most of my gear from other trips for my Alaska journey, and it’s been a bit of a
disaster because of it.  My GPS broke, my spray skirt has a hole in it that would pass a golf
ball, my camera is broken, my tent leaks and the zippers are shot, and all the resin has
worn off my carbon fiber paddle, so it’s always slippery and turns my hands black, but I
saved about $1,000 on gear.  It wasn’t worth it.

I made a wet and windy crossing to a little sandy island where I stopped for the night.  
There are bear tracks everywhere, so I have my gun handy.  The wind seems to be letting
up, so I’m hopeful about tomorrow.
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It was cold and cloudy with a light rain falling when I woke up.  It wasn’t exactly ideal for
paddling, but off I went.  The wind stayed mostly calm and I made good time.  Just before
the town of Holy Cross, a boat pulled up to talk to me.  People in Alaska don’t stop their
boats to chat.  In fact, this was the first time anyone had stopped to talk to me on the trip.

It was a boatload of people heading up to Galena to buy some alcohol to bootleg down river
where all of the towns are dry.  There’s enough money to be made that way that I wish I’d
brought down a boatload of booze.

They gave me a cold beer and fed me smoked salmon while we talked.  One of the guys
said it was time for some fireworks and pulled out an AR-15.  He was very unfamiliar with
his weapon and had rouble chambering a round.  He fired two rounds into the air.  Then
there was a short pause, one more round fired, and he said, “Oops.”  I was happy to see
the gun get put away.

I walked into Holy Cross.  It looked like a nice town, but everything was closed for the 4th, so
I kept paddling.  I saw two moose just out of town, and the clouds began to clear.

I caught up to the Germans who I’d heard were in front of me in canoes.  It was a couple in
two canoes with their two kids.  They didn’t speak much English, but I learned they had
started in Fairbanks and floated the Tanana to the Yukon and were headed for the delta.  
Both canoes were staked full of a mountain of gear.  They may have been the fullest canoes
I’ve ever seen.  I’d love to know what all was in there.

I paddled forever looking for a campsite.  I finally found a nice sandy spot at about 10:00.  I
was ready to stop at 8:00.  I did feel the need to fire my weapon since that’s what you do on
the 4th in Alaska.  It was pretty neat listening to it echo off the mountains.  I’ll probably feel
the need to fire off the eight rounds I have left on my last day out.
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  Message from Adam's Spotter

I'm OK!
ESN:0-7348115
Latitude:62.445
Longitude:-160.0538
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:07/04/2009 05:54:19 (GMT)
Here's where I am.
Message from Adam's Spotter
 
I'm OK!
ESN:0-7348115
Latitude:62.8888
Longitude:-160.0646
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:07/03/2009 03:25:13 (GMT)
Here's where I am.
  Message from Adam's Spotter

I'm OK!
ESN:0-7348115
Latitude:63.6242
Longitude:-159.4046
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:07/02/2009 02:38:42 (GMT)
Here's where I am.

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