Day 11 (July 16)

Same excellent weather greets us this morning – mostly cloudless sky, 15C, no bugs. Canada geese fly overhead, honking our campsite departure. Golden eagles circle, peregrines screech from cliffs above. Last night’s chili having an effect as multiple bathroom breaks during the morning

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Stop at outside bend about km 350, looking for remains of Inuit campsite. Find recent (this season anyhow) dead caribou, white wolf scat in neat piles surround kill. Sheer ochre cliffs line river.

 Terns dive bomb us. We haul the boats above the beach into to willows so they won’t be blown by high winds.

Exploring the treed gulch behind camp we discover the tundra has been recently rototilled – grizzly action! A tree trunk with golden hair stuck on the rough spruce bark about 1m off the ground has my attention…so far, no bears but this site has my senses tingling. I imagine bears lurking behind every tree, ditch and scrubby blade of grass hunting (us).

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 Continue upwards: wonderful flowers in full summer bloom – lupins, avens, Lapland rosebay, louseworts, diapensia…the remains of a robin scattered in on the tundra floor. Rolling empty country behind the river – dry dry dry except for these gulches with tiny water streams, feeding flowers, trees, birds and bears. Natural wildlife corridors of good hunting.

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