RubiKon Adventures

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

Monday, July 16, 2012

RubiKon Quest 2012: Wet, Wild and Aged - Days 2-3 on the Yukon River

Days 2 & 3: June 28th & 29th, 2012

Lake Laberge (ref . wikipedia) is a widening of the Yukon River north of Whitehorse, Yukon in Canada. It is fifty kilometres long and ranges from two to five kilometres wide. Its water is always very cold, and its weather often harsh and suddenly variable.

Day 2 of our adventure started as a continuation of the first evening we spent on the lake. Calm, serene and it even got quite warm. In fact, it was very, very warm. Our kayaks and spray skirts make for some really hot paddling conditions. We took a nice break at a creek along the north side of the lake.We were excited to arrive at our next camp and take a nice soak in the lake. Okay, maybe not a soak, but a quick wash up (remember the 'always cold' part)!

Lori paddling in the heavenly lake.
Along the way we passed some cliffs with what appeared to be some nice caves.
A bit further, we encounter a bear napping on a grassy knoll by the lake shore.
He (she?) seemd a bit upset that we woke it up in our excitment.
Our camp at the end of day 2 was in a warm bay nestled amoung the cliffs. This is a place we read where the river boats would hold up when the weather got bad.
As the evening rolled in, a threat of rain began to appear. So out came the rain tarp.
This is our camp at the end of day 3. What is missing is all the misery we suffered through to get here. We left camp 2 in the freezing rain. We encountered wind and cold rain all day long. Only after we setup camp did the weather begin to improve a bit. One of the highlights of the day was the discovery of an old mason jar buried in the moss on the banks during a rest stop. The wooden lid and metal hinges have long since deteriorated and we couldn'd find a date. We did bring it along to leave with the artifacts at the end of the lake.
A view back to our tent from the boats.
During the day we passed an elderly chap who was solo canoeing his way to the Dalton Hwy. He looked like a monk in his rain poncho.
Later the evening (~9:00 p.m.) he arrived to chat with us in camp.
Jurgen was his name and he told us he was from Eastern Germany with Russian roots. His english wasn't so good; however, we learned that he is 71 years old and this is his second journey on the river. He went with a guided group in 2010. Lori and I would run into Jurgen many times on our river quest.
The leaves on many of the balsam poplars are littered with leaves with some sort of insect (we assume) that leaves these incredible markings on the leaves.
A bit further along the beach I found this camp which was much nicer than ours. Too bad we already setup for the evening.
Jurgen took off around 11:00 p.m. to make time, we assume, on the lake while it was calm. We said he could stay, but he pointed to his watch and said "it doesn't get dark until 2:00 a.m."
We wished him well and watched him paddle off under the guidance of a nearly full moon.
A quick check on the boats and off to bed.

During the night, I had a nightmare of sorts and woke up screaming about bears. Lori woke up and quickly shot off the air horn. After we got our wits about us, I realized I was having a bad dream; the fatigue from fighting the weather, paddling the lake and that the bear sighting the day before must have triggered my fear.

All was good for the rest of the night and morning brought great joy and enthusiam as we had SUNSHINE!!

Read our river trip account from the previous day:

Stay tuned for Day 4 on the river as the adventure turns ghostly on the 30 mile river section of the Yukon River.

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