Moose, Bear, it's not over yet...

The Yukon Blind..... Canoeing the 'Big River'
Team "Imtiaz and Howard"
Fri 1 Jul 2011 20:27

Moose, Bear, it’s not over yet…
63:36.90N, 139:45.35W

Yesterday we spent just over 6 hours on the river and covered about 60 river kilometres. Yes, just 65 kilometres to Dawson now and our plan is to get to within 10-15 kilometres today, so we have a morning arrival on Saturday. Last night around the campfire we were both reflecting with some sadness the approaching end to this special adventure for both of us. But it's not over yet....

Our camp is right on the river bank, which has a narrow clay based, grass verge before thick impenetrable bush. This morning at around 5am I was woken by this loud commotion in the water, just near my tent. On peering through the tent door, I was presented with a real close up of a mother moose and her calf just off the river bank standing in the water. Grabbing the video I headed outside, the mother now 15 metres away, turned to face me, and aggressively snorting. We both stood our ground, the video rolling, and then she turned away, and they both started walking further upstream. Nice way to start the day, especially after it had been raining most of the night.

This weather is so changeable. Yesterday in the morning we had perfect blue, cloudless sky, by midday we were dealing with a full on thunder shower. By 5pm we had sauna conditions in our tents, to the point we both swam in the river to cool down. Dinner weather was just great, and then two hours into bed, the rain starts, and continues through the night...There is a low cloud / mist on the river now, so not sure what lies ahead for today!

Yesterday's river trip was the most interesting yet. We had three major river confluences, first the White, the Stewart, then the smaller 60 Mile River. These rivers have added huge volume, and width to the river, changing its character noticeably.

The silt level is amazing, with the water now a strong brown colour, 'overflowing' with suspended sediment that is visible as a murky, turbid pattern on the surface. The noise of the silt grinding the fibreglass hull of the canoe is frequently very loud needing us to elevate our voices to hear each other. The river current seems largely faster, and log piles of tree stumps are everywhere, seemingly forming collection stations for later in the season.

The confluence with the White River was impressive, as within a few hundred metres the river just widened out to a couple of kilometres and more, with sand bars, trees, and pockets of rapids all randomly placed in the vast meeting basin of the two rivers.

I saw our second bear yesterday, unfortunately fairly high up on a river side hill slope, as we paddled. So, all in all, a good wild life sighting day.

As usual we had much lively debate in between special moments of solitude in the wonderful river wilderness.

On a non-wilderness, amusing note, we did pass a three canoe expedition, beached on a river bank, taking a break. The one guy shouted out to us as we 'sped' by: "Are you guys in the race?" The annual Whitehorse to Dawson canoe / kayak race started on the 29th, but even though the leading kayakers are much faster than us, no competitors have reached us yet, and so I responded: "Yes, and I think we are in 1st place at the moment....!" We passed them too quickly for me to hear their no doubt admiring response!

Imi's Reflective Insights of the day:

The Paradox: Helplessness in the face of Nature is the foundation of the highly valued human autonomy.

Until recently humans relied primarily on nature's resourcefulness to overcome challenges like disease, injury, sickness, etc. For the first time we believe we can manipulate, direct, and even replace nature by means of technology and medicine.

Nature works slow and through a ruthless process of natural selection. Technology and modern medicine can benefit far more people, far more rapidly, but it comes at a price:

Soon not only our bodies, but even our brains will need the crutch of medical and technological interventions to sustain themselves.

The height of human enslavement and servitude is when our brains become almost human artifices, (human made products), as a result of these interventions. Only dependence on wild nature will ensure our autonomy.

Simple living in rugged, robust, wild nature is our salvation. Our fate in the vast possibilities of nature requires that we see the richness that nature has achieved, like rich eco systems with a vast diversity of natural life. In a depleted and degraded world we lose faith in the rich possibilities of nature.

In a world highly dependent on technology we lose the very thing we value, the source of triumph and real personal power, true autonomy.


Pack up time..... The low cloud has been burnt off by the heightening sun, another blue sky start on the river waits....what will the day bring today...

H + I