Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Waiting in Carmacks: Day 16 of the Yukon River Trip

Our View of the Carmacks Bridge from the Public Boat Launch

So, I hiked into Carmacks earlier today to purchase a few (very expensive!) groceries.  While at the grocery store (which also serves as the village's hardware store, video store, souvenir shop, & gas station), I learned that there is no bus or public transportation running between Carmacks and Whitehorse.  We can't figure out why.  Buses run from Whitehorse to Dawson & vice-versa, and Carmacks is right on the way; those buses have to go over the bridge that sits about 50 yards from our boat.  Locals are telling me to hitch a ride to Whitehorse; it seems like a popular and acceptable mode of transportation up here.  "Just hang out there by the gas pumps," one guy told me, "Somebody will take you."  Uh, no, I thought to myself as I thanked him for his help.  I'm just not comfortable getting into a stranger's car in this isolated place and trusting that I'll safely reach Whitehorse in one piece.

Jake later hiked into town to the Conservation Office, where he was able to call Kanoe People, an outfitter in Whitehorse, to see about the possibility of catching a shuttle from Carmacks to Whitehorse.  They were happy to exchange a free shuttle for a link to their business on our Yukon River Trip website.  The shuttle is scheduled to arrive the morning after tomorrow.  We haven't decided who will shuttle back to get the truck and trailer, but I hope it's Jake. 

Carmacks is a tiny village with a population just under 500, I believe.  We're at the public launch site, and so far, no one has come or gone since our arrival.   It's rained here off and on today.  I guess it's been raining here for about 12 days. A local said that it should clear up today or tomorrow.  We've managed to dry out much of our gear and clothing and bits of the boat, but we could use a sunny--rain free--day.

Looking Towards the Village of Carmacks
from the Public Boat Launch

I feel kind of hippie-ish living on the side of the river and walking to town from our boat.  This morning, I tried my best not to smell like I haven't seen a bathtub in over 15 days by lathering on lotion and applying extra deodorant.  Once inside the local store, I became highly self-conscience of the possibility that I might be emanating a nasty, reeking stench, the kind that makes you jerk your head away or hold your breath until you hope the coast is clear.  I couldn't smell myself, but I was worried that might not be the case for those so unlucky to cross my path.  Upon arriving in Carmacks, Jake & I boiled water and washed our faces, necks, arms, etc, but I haven't washed my hair in a while.  Only twice was I courageous enough to dunk my scalp into the freezing Yukon River to wash my hair.  But since it rained all day yesterday during our 65 miles of paddling, my hair got soaked.  So, it's a little better--still greasy & bugging me, but not as bad as it was.  Really, my clothes are probably as much of a culprit as anything.  Sure, I've washed them on our trip, but I think that was close to 9 days ago.  Knowing that clean clothes wait in our truck has cut out all motivation for washing clothes again in the chilly Yukon waters.  What's one more day?

Oh, I can't wait to take a shower!  The hotel here has coin showers, but I have no Canadian cash, so I'll have to see what we can work out.  If nothing, then I guess I'll be getting a hotel room--and soon!  I also miss a toilet very much--what a pain it's been, especially since our boat was impossible to pull over most of the time. 

What I find really fascinating is how little I can eat now.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to get down my entire bratwurst--just a plain bratwurst and bun--and chips were out of the question.  I am amazed at how much our stomachs have shrank and how many pounds were lost on the river.  I see a noticeable change in Jake and feel the difference in my now loose-fitting clothes.

Tied to a Trusty Tree in Carmacks on the Shores of the Yukon River
with NRS Straps from Nurpu River & Mountain Supply

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