Ahhh yes our first day actually on the river paddling has now come to an end and we’re all feeling pretty good.
We kicked off the day with an early start to load up the canoes and launch. Chad has already begun to impress with his catering prowess if this morning’s breakfast of bratwurst sausage with lemon and soy sauce was anything to go by.
Pushing off, the initial current was pretty strong. The river is in flood and at the highest level it’s been for a good few years so we got off to a good start. With a little help from Chad’s GPS, we figure even with paddles up (drifting and drinking beer) we were still traveling just shy of 10km an hour.
Wildlife viewing on day one was pretty good. Dall Sheep, mother and baby Moose and a Black Bear – not bad! The Moose encounter was the one that got my heart beating fast. Try as I might to get Bosh to paddle me in closer, he kept a level head and me at a safe distance while I snapped away.
Pulling off the river for lunch, we stopped in at a former trading post and now historic site – Fort Selkirk. Our first stop to lunch and stretch our legs also marked the first signs of beer and time in the sun taking its toll, as TJ literally fell out of his canoe – pretty funny. There’s no photos unfortunately… I guess you had to be there.
While at the historical site, we met some kids that were literally pulling fish out of the river off a dock with nothing but a bit of hand line. We also met a couple who were planning on completing the same trip down the Yukon River as us, but ended up tipping their canoe on the first day and subsequently gave the adventure away thinking it’s too dangerous.
A solid afternoon of paddling and conversation finally delivered us 71km down the river at our first night’s camp. Our ongoing strategy is to camp on islands in the middle of the river to avoid wildlife (namely bears) during the night. Funny thing was, all the wildlife we saw during the day today, WERE ON ISLANDS! Ha! Could make things interesting.
We can’t believe Chad’s culinary preparations. On the menu tonight was Moose buritos with home made guacamole and re-fried beans that were ground up with an axe handle. That’s right… MAN FOOD!