Day 16 (July 21) - Weather stuck AGAIN

Obviously a huge storm raging somewhere. I’m getting tired of waiting and am eager to paddle. Remind myself that patience is a virtue and the skill of waiting is essential for successful wilderness travel. However we are all getting grumpy – how many more forced layover days might we have? Paddling not an option with these winds, never mind the drizzle. Another afternoon tundra stroll. Another gear failure – Alfred’s MSR stove seems to leak fuel in spite of being shut off. It’s a new butterfly handle compared to the original metal screw valve. Obviously ‘new’ is not ‘improved’.

Instead of napping, I listen to the wind flapping the tent fly. The tundra tunnel strains and billows with slap like gusts. The clouds cover thinned enough so that a faint brightening gave hope of clearer skies before closing up again. We burn garbage on the beach. Ron plays with a musk ox vertebra. The snow patch is same size as 3 days ago in spite of the hard rain.

In all our travels above the tree line we’ve not been stuck for 3 days in a row before. Starting to fret about making the distance, chance of further weather bound bad days. With 300km to go, we’d have to make 30km a day over the next 10 days with no cushion for more bad weather. Not impossible by any means but means we have to paddle instead of cruise – perhaps curtail our daily hikes and get our butts on the water at an earlier hour. Not our choice of travel pace but we could all adjust if push comes to shove. We want to make Franklin Bay and see those Smoking Hills!

Later: 10pm and sky has definitely opened up – a few sucker holes with peek a book blue backwash tease us as black bottom clouds continue to race by. I’m hopeful the system will finally clear out overnight.