RubiKon Adventures

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

RubiKon Quest 2012: Crossroads of Adventure - Days 6,7 & 8 on the Yukon River

Day 6, 7 & 8: July 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 2012

Never Argue With A Woman
One morning, the husband returns the boat to their lakeside cottage after fishing and decides to take a nap. Although, not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and puts her feet up, and begins to read her book. The peace and solitude are magnificent.
Along comes a Fish & Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside and says “Good morning, Ma’am. What are you doing?” “Reading a book” she replies (thinking, “isn’t that obvious?”)
“You’re in a Restricted Fishing Area” he informs her. “I’m sorry officer, but I’m not fishing. I’m reading”. “Yes, but I see you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment”. I’ll have to take you in and write you up.”
“If you do that, I’ll have to charge you with sexual assault.” Says the woman. “But I haven’t touched you”, says the Game Warden. “That’s true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment.”
“Have a nice day ma’am” and he left.
Posted at the Coalmine Campground store wall.

Day 6 was long day of paddling. The longest yet as we paddled 60 miles. The weather was very cooperative and we were anxious to get to Carmacks and have a burger to break the monotony of dehydrated foods. The other advantage would be that we could spend an entire day resting and doing some laundry.

While the morning paddle was wet and humid, the afternoon got a little better as we left Little Salmon Village, where the Little Salmon river joins the Yukon. While resting and drying out our gear from our night at Cyr's Dredge who should show up? Our buddy Jurgen. He spent the night in Big Salmon village in one of the old cabins. He stated that it was leaky and wet but he was able to lay his bed roll down and keep dry. He called it a 5 Star Hotel! We don't think Jurgen has a tent.
Down river from Little Salmon Village, we pass a well known landmark called Eagle Butte or bluff. Sometimes mountain goats can be seen hanging out here, but not today.
As we sat drifting we caught a glimpse of Eagle Bluff looking back.
Moose scat on an island at Taylor's Cutoff.
Taylors' Cutoff is a giant bend in the river that nearly curls back on itself in a giant arch. In 2007 & 2009 I personally camped on an island here.
Like before we also see signs of grizzly bear activity on the islands. Looking for some fresh moose.
Despite the extremely high water, our old camp was still in tact. However, the beavers make good work of one of the trees.
Leaving Taylor's Cutoff, the weather begain to get hot and the scenery was very nice.
We finally arrive at the Coalmine Campground in Carmacks around 8:30 that evening. We quickly grab a burger and setup camp. We would spend the night and the next day there.

The Coalmine campground is a crossroads of sorts where I've personally met more than the lionshsare of adventurerers from aroudn the world. Aside from fellow river travelers, I've run into bicyclists, motorcyclist, hikers and campers from all parts of the globe doing thier own trek.
This fellow, Bob, I beleive, is from Gig Harbor Washington and is biking from there to Inuvik on teh Dempster Hwy above the Arctic Circle.
This couple, Richard and Clair, are farmers from Ontairio. Their advneture began in a canoe in Whitehorse and it was a treat to meet up with them on the water.  
These 3 guys are the pinnacle of adventureres. They came form Vancouver and are heading up to points north. However, this is not unusual for them. Last year they attempted to ski thru Banf/Jasper park via ski's in a lengthy snow trip that ended when the weather turned bad. Apparently they have a long resume of other treks.  

Additionally, we met with a couple from Germany who are on a 9 month motorcycle odyssey from Alaska to the tip of South America. We also met up with GPS Kevin from AdvRider, his 2 kids (son and daughter) and his friends who rode from San Diego to Inuvik and were on thier way back. We also met up with an older gal form Maryland who was doing a solo bicycle/Canoe tour across the Yukon into Alaska (She carries her bike in teh canoe) and we met soem Germans on motorcycles coming back from Prudoe bay and yet another Father/Son combo who were on thier way up to Alaska on Adventure motrocycles... the list went on and on and on.

And then there was Jurgen AGAIN!... the 71 year old fellow from East Germany (Russian descent) who showed up for a quick bite to eat and then left. There was no shaking this guy, no matter how many miles we paddle in a day.

And so it was. After meetign a family of 5 from Ventura California, we took off the following day. We have soem axiety and anticpation as the river is high, it is raining again and the we must paddle throughthe 5 Finger Rapids, where we were told that a few boats flipped during the Yukon River Quest. 

Oh yes, we saw a big blonde grizzly bear on the high banks just outside of Carmacks. It was too wet and rainy to get any pictures. Besides we had the camera packed away in a secure dry place in anticpation of the rapids.
This picture was typical for the day.
No pictures of the rapids, but it was definitely a challenge with the high waters. We made it through w/o incident.  The rest of the day we had slight showers that increased with intensity as the day wore on.
One of the highlights is the site designated as Sam McGee's Ashes. The Creamation of Sam McGee is a famous poem by Robert Service.
The truthcof the matter is that there is an ash layer from about 1200 years ago. An enormous eruption at Mount Churchill near the Alaska-Yukon border blanketed central and southern Yukon Territory with volcanic ash. The ash is visible in the soil layer throughout central Yukon, including Whitehorse. The natives tell stories of how they survived the blast. Soem scientists speculate that the natives were displaced farther south, as far south as the Navajo in the US as food was scarce. 
Another strange thing is the perfectly formed banks of the river look as if they are man made. This is near the area known as Yukon Crossing. 
We were rain soaked and I told Lori about a cabin at Merrice Creek. Alf's cabin, I believe it is called. As we arrived we saw that Jurgen was there. In fact, Jurgen had been there for two days. He told tales of how 2 fellows from the Czech Republic had flipped thier canoe in the 5 Finger Rapids. Apparently he got soaking wet and nearly flipped himself in trying to help them.  
Jurgen went to bed in the cabin, which he referred to as a villa. In the meantime, the weather cleared up a bit and the evening was beautiful.
This is one of the fallen in cabins.
This is the Villa that Jurgen referred to or Alf's family cabin.
The local beavers look like they are well fed and they felled many trees.
This was our camp. Jurgen had a nice fire going. Note his blue jeans drying on an old board.
Looking north from our camp.
The river was beginning to shine in the evening sun.
A rainbow capped off a wonderful evening.
All-in-all a terrific ending to a wet day filled with anticipation. The evening ended with hot cocoa and tea.

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

Next, we spend 2 wonderful days at a historical Fort that can only be reached by boat on the Yukon River.

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