RubiKon Adventures

Tales and travels of "GrizzLee", "Looksha Lori" & "Yukon Johann"

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

RubiKon Quest 2012: Big Salmon, Storms and a Dredge - Day 5 on the Yukon River

Day 5: July 1st, 2012

"You got to be careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there".
~Yogi Berra

One of the greatest things around Hootalinqua is Hootalinqua island. Here is a chance to see real history in the way of an abandoned stern wheeler. Hootalinqua island was a shipyard repair facility of sorts and a place to store stern wheelers.
Here is our camp on Hootalinqua island, just below the abandoned Evelyn/Norcom stern wheeler. We used the rotting skids as a table and chair.
Here are some pictures of the rotting ship.
Steering rudders...
The north side of the ship.
Here is the boiler.
Interesting brick from the boiler with "Renton" imprinted on it. Renton, Washington ??
Inside on the main floor.
Examples of the tile and floor can still be seen.
There is NO CHANCE that this boat can ever be restored.
The upper deck, where the passengers lived has a nice sitting area in the front.
Looking down from the bridge onto the bow.
The hallway leading to the passenger cabins.
The passenger cabins looked like they contained 2 bunks and a sink.
The name "Evelyn" and "Norcom" can still be seen on the bow.
She looks like a ghost.
As we understand it, the engine was removed and placed in the fully restored "Keno" stern wheeler on display in Dawson city. If one tours the Keno, they will get a real sense of what the Evelyn looked like before she was abandoned on Hootalinqua Island. No one is sure as to the exact reasons why the ship was left here. Accounts seem to suggest that she was damaged on the thirty mile river section and was to be repaired.
This is one of the horse powered, wooden, capstans used to wench the ships on skid up onto the island.
Our boats were beached by the rear paddle wheel.
The wooden paddles are long gone, but the heavy metal shaft still remains.
Later that day we encounter a large burn area along the river.
We saw many native camps and determined that they were after mushrooms. The morel mushrooms are very productive in the first few years after a fire.
Our jaunt on shore revealed no shrooms, magic or otherwise!
This mountain sported a shade of violet. I have seen such color of rocks before and within Kluane park. Very strange. Our research seems to suggest that the color is amethyst. That is quartz that contain trace amounts of iron. The bulk of this rock is supposedly limestone. Hmmm... we are not geologists.

More cliffs along the river. The paddling was warm with a light overcast.
We arrive at Big Salmon Village where the Big Salmon River joins the Yukon River. We explored a bit and toured the cemetery. This is a typical grave site decorated with an ornately decorated fences or miniature houses; the natives refer to them as spirit houses/fences.
This building may have been the general store.
Here is the telegraph office.
Over the years, visitors to the place have left many empty bottles of booze on the store shelves. Here is a picture of us and a couple of bottles that we wish were not empty.
Looking across the village back up the river. In previous visits, we have seen the village alive with activity. The natives still use this place as a fish camp when the salmon are running up the Yukon River.

Lori and I decide to push on and round 4th of July Bend in the river. The wind picked up and we decided to make camp at an abandoned gold dredge near what is called "Gold Point"
True Yukon ingenuity was applied to make this dredge at a fraction of the cost of a commercially built unit.
We set up camp just as it began to sprinkle.
Here is a picture of the dredge motor, made by Caterpillar, buried in the mud.
The river was running extremely high and the bulk of the dredge and other components were under water.
Not sure what these flowers were. They grow low to the ground in open meadows.
We saw a female Ptarmigan and her brood around camp. It was hard to get any good pictures. However, their chirping sounds were very welcome in our camp.
As the evening progressed, the storm got worse. Here we see the impending doom coming from the North East at 11:00 p.m. just before ducking into bed. For the next 8 hours it rained and it rained hard with a heavy wind. The water was coming in at a 30 degree angle. The water droplets bounced off the ground and under our rain fly... flooding our tent. We ended up in a curl on our sleeping pads as they became islands of refuge and we mopped up the water constantly to keep ourselves as dry as possible. As morning drew near, we were wondering how long this would last. Finally, around 8:00 a.m. the wind subsided and we were left with rain. As the morning waned on, we had breakfast, packed the boat and left in a heavy mist (showers?).

Well, at least the bugs haven't been a problem :-)

Read about our previous day's adventures on our Yukon  River Journey:

Stay tuned for Day 6, 7, & 8 where we arrive at the crossroads of adventure travelers... canoeists, kayakers, hikers, motorcyclists and bicyclists journeying from all parts of the globe cross paths. Oh, yes, stories of capsizing in the river rapids are proved to be true where only the hardiest of adventurers will continue on. 
 Read on for more:

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