RubiKon Adventures

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

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

RubiKon Quest 2012: Ghosts of the Past - Day 4 on the Yukon River

Day 4: June 30th, 2012
Day 4 started out very nice... except for the wind. We had clear skies and high winds. It was almost too windy to paddle. We decided to stay close to the shore. After a bit, we found that if we stayed too close, we would get caught in some big swells... like surf at the ocean. We compromised and paddled somewhere between the white caps and the swells. Still, the shifting winds seem to push the waves toward us at 45 degree angles.

Finally, we arrived at the end of Lake Laberge and got a chance to explore some artifacts from the early part of last century... before roads existed in the Yukon, the main hwy was the Yukon river.
This is GrizzLee standign at the front of the SS Casca that got caught on a sandbar at the entrnace to the 30 mile river section of the Yukon.

This is the view from the rear. Most of the ribs are rotten and most of the boat is long gone. Long bolts and wood submerged in water are all that remains.

Just a bit behind the bank is a an old cabin.
Inside the cabin, the remians of an old stove, coffee pot, buckets, chairs, can still be seen.

At the mouth of the river, as it enters the 30 mile section of the Yukon, the old telegraph line crossed the river. A short hike down the river and one can see the old telegraph station.
There is an old cabin here and the natives still run trap lines. Here we see an old wheel barrow.
The cabin is open to the public, but vistiors are asked not to disturb anything, especially the artifacts. Near the old woodstove, we found this entry from a calender. It was very appropriate.
An old work shed was located around back.
This was also a woodyard. Woodyards were like gas statiosn for thr old steamships that ran the river. THey were located approximately 30 miles apart along the river. Once the local timber was used up, many woodyards had trucks shipped in to haul timber down from the mountains to the river shore. 
Lori looking over the old Chevy... A true classic.
Our last view of the Lake Leberge before we take off on the river.
But wait... out of the blue, Jurgen arrives. We thought he was looong gone. He told us he got lost looking for the river entrance on the other side of the lake, He got caught in the morning storm and took refuge on the beach. From what we could understand, he said he was awakened by a black bear while he slept under the stars (Moon) on the beach during the night and had to maintain vigilance until this morning.
This is a capstan, used to wench the cables attached to the Steamships to pull them toward shore to load wood and supplies.
And we are off on the Historic 30 Mile Section of the river.

The Thirty Mile, a section of the Yukon River between Lake Laberge and the Teslin River, is a rich hunting and fishing area for its original inhabitants, the Ta'an Kwach’an (People of the Flat Lake Place). For the captains of the paddlewheelers who plied the Yukon, the Thirty Mile's swift waters and ever-shifting sand bars were a constant challenge. Many mighty sternwheelers were lost here. Native settlement sites, abandoned gold rush towns, the hulk of the S.S. Evelyn Norcom – what stories the waters of The Thirty Mile could tell of ancient spirits and legendary creatures, of gold-crazed prospectors headed north to the Klondike, of dreams won and lost.
The thirty mile section is by far the most scenic part of the journey IMHO.
Surprisingly, there are some "developed campsites" and here we see Lori resting on a picnic table.
Meganser duck family. She's a good mom.
Large red Rock on the bluff just before we enter a large burn area from last year.

We arrive at the 17 mile Wood Yard... A Stern Wheeler's Gas station of sorts.
There are large amounts of artifacts in the area.
This cabin has some stories to tell. Ghosts fo the Yukon river abound in these parts. 
The gov't calls these cans artifacts... we call them garbage.
An old wagon wheel.
Another cabin.
Nonetheless, the view from shore was very beautiful.
GrizzLee posing for the camera. 
Lori admiring the beauty.
Off around another bend and the sandstone cliffs make for scenic paddling.
These cliffs, of which there are many along the river, are deposits from past ice ages. It is actually glacier silt, piled high from the contentinetal ice sheets that wer more than 2 miles thick.
The river was carved as the glaciers receded, leaving us this grand land.
More and more cliffs around each bend and many small rapids added to the fun.

These formations are called hoodoos... a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid basin. Usually, soft rock coated with w shell the is less easily eroded stone that protects each column from the elements. They typically form within sedimentary basins.
The cliffs of "Dover" appeared everywhere.
Finally, at day's end we arrive at Hootalinqua. This is place where the Teslin river and the Yukon River join, more than doubling in size. Hootalinqua is a Northern Tutchone word meaning "running against the mountain." Hootalinqua was a popular gathering site for trade and visiting between the Tlingit, Southern Tutchone and Northern Tutchone people. An old telegraph station is here as are remnenats of the the old trading post. It was also a woodyard and supply site for people venturing further north on the river.
Lori coming in just behind GrizzLee.
Old cabins abound here.
Note the old sled leaning against the cabin and the moose antlers hanging over the awning.

Read our river trip account from the previous days:

Stay tuned for Day 5, where we encounter Big Salmon, 4th of July Bend, Magic Mushrooms, Storms and an old dredge that tells big tales about he spirit of the Yukon. It's all true, I swear....
Read about it here:

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