Wednesday, July 27, 2005

 

"On the Road Again..."


(07/27) Well after almost three weeks of getting prepared for the long journey through the rest of AK and then Canada I'm back on the road. After lounging around Anchorage, taking care of some bike and tour related things, visiting with some very great people and watching the rest of the Tour de France--I hope that everyone got a chance to watch Lance Armstrong make history--it's time to go. It was a nice break and I got alot done. Now I'm ready and prepared to make it into the states before winter sets in. I would like to thank everyone at The Covenant House; Ray Clayton and the entire staff at The Bicycle Shop; James, Bill, Cyndi, Ken as well as the rest of the Humpy's crew for their interest and continued support of this adventure. Also "to all my friends..." Thanks for leting me crash on your coutches, scrub in your showers, and enjoy your company one last time before leaving town. See you all next time.



 

4 Days Canoeing the Gulkana River (Part 2)




Monday morning (07/18) began the same way that Sunday night ended--Damp. It was a lazy start to the day. Everyone took their time to get prepared for a full day of paddling. Finally by three in the afternoon we were ready to get a move on and begin the thrid day of the trip. It was still over cast but no rain was falling, yet. The water was flat at first but the rapids soon appeared. By 4:30 p.m. we reached the hardest part of the paddle; a quarter mile portage around a class 3 and 4 section of the river. All of the canoes had to taken out of the water, along with the gear, and carried around the section. It was a nessicary part of the trip for those of us in canoes. Because of the size of the water many others that tried to run it in canoes before were left stranded, surrendering their boats to the river. The river was perfect, however to run in a kayak and Jason Hahn, the only person with a kayak, ran it like a champ.

After a long rest break at the end of the portage we put the boats back into the water and headed down river. The water was still relativly fast even after the portage. There were a lot of class 2 rapids and it was easy to get out of control and turn the canoes sideways due to the speed of the river and the amount of obstacles to negotiate. Everyone had a hard time keeping their boats pointed down river and staying away from some kind of trouble. This time it was Josiah and Suzie's canoe that "accepted water," leaving Josiah a nice reminder of how trecherous even the tame parts of the river can be.

We stopped along a comfortable looking river bar around 8 o'clock for the evening not too far from the portage. It was an ideal location; ample space for camping with plenty of drift wood for a fire and a nice hole for fishing. Everyone got their tents pitched and wet clothes hung up to dry, then it was right to work on gathering firewood and preparing a huge community dinner. The Sockeye Salmon that Roscoe, Stokes and I caught on the Kenai River were prepared, along with many other tasty dishes. We gorged ourselves on food and beer well into the late evening. After a long night hanging around the campfire, eating and talking we made our way(s) to our respective shelters ready for bed.

(07/19) The morning started off similar to the day before. No one was in a hurry to be anywhere. We took our time packing up camp to fish and hang out before starting the last day on the river. It was another overcast day that always seemed to be on the verge of rain. At 2:30 we started down the last stretch of the Gulkana towards the take-out at Sourdough. Along the way we made a couple of stops to rest and enjoy the final day of the trip. A spontanious game of ultimate frisbee broke out during one of the stops and kept us on the same river bar for more than four hours playing and talking while finishing the last of the beer and food before making it the rest of the way to Sourdough and the take-out point.

The remainder of the trip was very peaceful and a lazy attitude set the pace for the final leg of the trip. The running water flatened out the closer we got to Sourdough and it began to clear up as we paddled towards the boat launch. The last rays of the days hidden sunlight finally burnt through the thick cloud cover in time to create a beautiful sunset for the last day on the Gulkana and leave a fond memory of the trip for everyone to reflect upon during the long drive back to Anchorage and for many days to come.