Saturday, October 12, 2013

Paddling the Yukon River 2: Thirty Mile Heritage River

A canoe trip has its own routine. By the third day we had it it all figured out. An awakening in the cool of the morning, mist still rising from the river, get the fire going, put on the coffee, then breakfast. By now it is getting warm, time to pack up. Rolling up sleeping bags, dismantling the tent and packing all our kit - snug in the dry bag. Marie has been sorting the kitchen and we haul everything over to the river bank. The canoes are pushed into the water and loaded. Discussion of the day's route and some, well quite a few, stretches - hey we're not that young you know - and its back to paddling.
The Thirty Mile Canadian Heritage River is a lovely piece of water. We stayed at one of the campsites just beyond Lake Laberge. The shores of the lagoon behind our camp had blueberries!
Mary getting organized in the morning. You can tell she started out being organized and never lost track of the game.
Lou on the other hand managed wonderfully without any organization at all. As our senior colleague he set an example by entertaining us with his backpack full of stories and jokes. These became more colourful the further we went down river - Heart of Darkness country for sure.
Manoir Butte looms over the river ahead. This was the same site where Nicole Bauberger and I camped two years ago on the river art residency. Her painting of the butte was made from this same perspective.
Marie and Mary getting breakfast ready for the rest of the crew. Marie did an amazing job of the meals. We had an interesting and healthy array of food. Every day there were different meals and snacks, all tempting and flavourful, easily digested and easy to clean up after. And she had an incredible knack of reading the group - "Hey, I think its time for break."
Mid-afternoon we'd stop and relax. Fishing was popular, grayling were biting, but not always waiting for the pull into shore. We dined on them one evening. Not a fisher, I relaxed with a book and watched the river go by.
This summer there were many fires. In the last two days of our trip we paddled through still smoking forest.

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