Saturday, July 16, 2011

Island Camping on the Yukon River: Day 13 of the Yukon River Trip

I awoke from a disturbing dream this morning.  I was in a screened box, eerily similar to our cabin, and my friends passed by laughing and talking.  I wanted so badly to join in the fun.  I tried everything I could to get their attention.  They weren't ignoring me; they could not see me.  They had no idea I was desperately calling out to them.  I felt so alone, so helpless as they passed.  When I awoke, it took hours to shake that feeling of loneliness and isolation.  You don't need to be an English teacher to catch the symbolism of that screened box in my dream.  The Yukon is big--so big, and the loneliness would take its toll on most, I suppose.  Even though I am not alone and with the person I would choose over all others, the vastness of this place is my shadow and never lets me forget just how far away from home I am.

The wind was horrid today, reminding us once again that nature is in control--not us.  We battled the wind and tried to stay in the current.  At one point we were blown to shore and then were pushed upstream by an eddy.  We could stop ourselves from moving upstream, but the wind pushed against us so that we could not get out into the current.  We found ourselves an arm's length from a dense treeline of Mountain Alders (or I what I call grizzly trees).  On the narrow shore between us and the thicket, bear prints showed us that this was exactly where a bear had been earlier today.  It's impossible to see more than 3 feet into the thicket, and with the binoculars I might have seen 6 feet.  Our frequent calls of "Yo, bear" did little to ease my anxiety.  Every leaf that blew in the wind or twig that snapped beyond our vision sent frightful images through my mind that a bear would return to to this very spot to discover us stuck and helpless in his territory.  During an unexpected and short break in the all-powerful Yukon wind, we were able to command our aching muscles to row us back out into the current that eventually took us to an island just past Frickson's Wood camp where we would spend the night relatively safe (at least in my mind) from a bear catching us unaware in the night.  

Jake Scoping Out the Island Past Frickson's Wood Camp on the Yukon River 

Jake Hauled This Tree Over for Our Anchor on the Yukon River 

The Onset of Another Beautiful Sunset on the Yukon River 

Once again, a Gorgeous Evening on the Yukon River

It's hard to beat a Yukon River sunset.

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