Day 10 (July 15)

A chilly night with no cloud cover – very still morning air. Amazingly no bugs or wind for last 24 hours…air feels dry, crisp like early fall. At lunch we clamber up the slopes taking in upstream and downstream views.  The river swings back and forth between indented curves: the outside shore lined with steep cliffs, the opposite inside bank, a gentle vegetated slope. I’m stunned by the fathomless big blue sky and take a photo – 360 degrees without any cloud, haze or smear in sight.

A caribou with rich brown velvet antlers, head down on the gravel, sleeping or lolling in the suns heat scarcely blinks as we drift by. We inspect several places looking for a campsite to our liking. Just before the river opens up in at broad valley, we come across a site which has been used before – abandoned red rusting fuel drums contrast sharply with the green/yellow tundra grasses. A square fire pit lined by partially submerged rocks and over grown by lichens lies abandoned at the base of the slope as well as a few rusted cans. We camp higher up, out of the sullied dump site. Later we stroll the sparse open woods and find eagle tail feathers and our first raven feather. Ravens seem to be scare as we haven’t seen or heard them calling yet.

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