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Jason Fox: Second Update, Yukon River Expedition

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This is Jason’s second update from the Yukon River Written from his tent, situated on his riverbank camp.

We left Yukon Crossing and 100km later set up camp on an island. The next morning was perfect, paddling was easy with a good pace. However after a midday break simultaneously the river widened & the weather turned. Strong wind and waves battered us with swell and chop from all directions. By 1930hrs we decided to stop and assess the situation. While climbing out of my kayak I lost my footing and fully submerged myself. Emerging soaked, slightly annoyed and exhausted me and Sean decided that we’d call it a day. Unfortunately, we only got 80km done.

We decided that from this point onwards if high, head on winds prevailed then we wait it out and instead paddle through the night when the wind had usually died down.

The following day was fine for wind, although we did find ourselves in turbulent waters, probably our worst to date. We battled through and 101km of paddling brings us up to date.

We have set up our current camp on a sandbar. Waking up this morning to a very blustery scene. Sticking to our plan we are going to wait out today and head out again tonight. So, with time on my side, I thought I’d account some of the amazing wildlife.

Canada was rich with wildlife, even before we set off and were loading our kayaks we encountered a Brown Bear, a mere 50m away. It was too busy eating berries to notice us. We got on with packing the boats as normal. In total, we’ve seen 4 Bears & also 3 Moose, all coming from a distance.

Beavers are a frequent sight. When alerted to danger they whack their tails on the surface of the water and vanish beneath the river, this always amuses.

The Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle and Raven were plentiful, they’re not fussed by humans at all allowing you to get quite close to these majestic birds.

The wildlife in Alaska has been totally different. Apart from Gulls, other species are sparsely spread. Gulls are the vermin of the sky. When we’re spotted, they will flock and start harassing us. Most will do this to protect their chicks from attack. However, they leave their nests & chicks unprotected. The gull’s defence flaw was made apparent only a few days ago. An unruly gull came in on an attack run towards our boats, far from his nest. As the gull dive-bombed us we could see a golden eagle clutch the small chick in its talons and take flight. The gull gave chase for a while but gave up as the eagle reached altitude to high. Such is the way of the wild.

A few Fox’s, Owl’s and Chipmunk’s are other animals we’ve seen in Alaska. We have also woken up to find bear and wolf prints in the vicinity of our camp, a little unnerving.

That brings my Yukon/Alaskan version of spring/summer watch to an end.

Hopefully, we’ll be back on the water tonight.

Galena is the next town for us. Hopefully, see you there…

– Jason Fox


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