Day 17 (July 22) We move on
Finally wind dies overnight…weather is still overcast with drizzle but we itch to move or we’ll put down roots at this camp. Getting acclimatized to damp but wish I’d brought along gortex socks to wear with river shoes. Wet feet possible today and with cold temps, will watch all of us for hypothermia.
With gray weather, colours of canyon walls and waters all faded and gray, uninspiring for photos. Hoodoos, odd shapes due to heavy eroding slopes. Lots of peregrine and 1 pr golden eagles. Line almost immediately – no one wants to swim or a lap full of cold water. Approach every bend cautiously, inconsistent headwind harasses the canoes, gusting out suddenly from between steep cliff cracks or ambushing from the front.
After 4 hours, we are chilled to the bone. A small creek gushes from the south, we scramble up the slope looking for a campsite. Slow witted young gulls parallel our movements, irking the adult birds into dive bombing us. I find a Nikon camera lens cap. On the opposite shore, a piece of rusted metal junk indicates a human presence. Crossing over, we find it to be an ideal campsite. Further back in the bush we find old tree stumps, perhaps the remains of a cabin or more primitive structure.
After camp is up, we walk 2 km downstream along water level. The exposed rock terraces offer an alternative route to the usual up top river bank strolls. Everything looks runnable, being either ledges, large rocks, large V’s of moving water but nothing technically difficult. Such a scenic area, I itch to pull out my camera but the light is horribly flat. Heart in my mouth, I scramble up a cliff crack, clinging to rocks precariously balanced, bushes tentatively rooted in thin soil. No way I’m going back down that way! Up top, the tundra is flat, flat, flat – wind and rain start to pound our backs as we return wet to camp. In spite of the wind and rain, I’m feeling light hearted – we can do this: one day at a time.