Saturday, August 22, 2009

Trials of the Weather, Pleasures of the Trail - Deluge

In the morning the rain had stopped. Better, the puddles on the raincoats were gone, the tent seams just needed to swell up to become waterproof after a hot dry Yukon summer. A good shake of the fly and it was almost dry. We packed up and started out at a steady pace. The woods, a Brothers Grimm type of forest, started to bug me. Dark, damp, unable to see anything but 10 metres of broken stumps, bent and shattered tree trunks, prickly devil's club and lush, thick all absorbing green.

Along the way we heard, but in the deep woods never felt, the wind rising. The large cottonwoods swaying, branches and leaves ocassionally cascading down to our level. At Sheep Camp it was noticeably cooler and the rain held until off until supper was finished. Then we dragged in what wet wood we could find to make a fire in the shelter. The cabin was hung with damp clothes and equipment, and we had a quiet evening preparing for the big climb over the summit next morning. Jeremy, the park ranger, arrived with news of an early fall gale blowing up the Taiya Inlet, heavy rain with winds up to 90 kilometres an hour were now buffetting the pass. The parks service had closed the trail behind us as the rising waters had flooded much of the trail. He also warned we would be fording several streams and the water would be cold, fast and deep.

We went to bed, our tents calm but the trees towering above us swayed violently in the noise of the freight trains flying past us on the way north - our trail tomorrow.

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