Expedition Update July 16
It's Been a While!
Expedition Update July 16
It’s been a while to say the least.
Sean and I are at the Yukon Crossing. Where the Dalton Highway crosses the Yukon River, the only road to do so in the whole of the state of Alaska. That’s right, we are out of Canada and into the United States of America.
In 8 days we’ve covered over 500 miles from Dawson. It’s because of the time and distance that I’m not going to go into great detail but give you the highlights/lowlights of this monstrous leg.
Eagle was the first town in the States and we were hoping for big things. That wasn’t to be but they did have a cafe and there was WiFi at the local library so panic over.
After Eagle the mountains and hills slowly shrink to nothing and everything is flat. This is what’s known as the Yukon Flats. It starts at a small town called Circle and ends just after Stevens Village. It’s over 250 miles of swampy marshland and the river slows right down. This, is because it spreads and becomes a maze of islands and channels (known locally as slough’s) that weave all over the place. Picking the right/shortest one with the best flow is a nightmare made even more hellish by 200 miles of thick forest wildfire smoke that reduces visibility to 300 metres. It’s difficult to explain what this looks like but added to the high sand bars that are littered with huge dead tree hulks that the younger spring river brings with it I’d say depressingly apocalyptic is accurate. It reminded me of pictures I’d seen of the Somme from the First World War. Speaking to some firefighters, this has been the worst summer they can remember with the area in a terrible drought.
Fort Yukon is a town we were expecting to be a welcome oasis in this otherwise harsh landscape. It was not. A very poor indigenous town where the locals called themselves indian. It had virtually nothing. A small grocery store where we stocked up but that was it. We pressed on through the gloomy smog. Feeling gloomy ourselves but recapping on stories from old to keep us laughing.
The run to Stevens Village greeted us with strong head winds and wickedly whipped up water that was hard, hard going. 14 to 15 hour days are now the norm. You stop, pitch tent, get the fire going, get water, cook food, brush teeth, sleep, wake, drink coffee and crack on to repeat the cycle.
The beginning of day eight saw us, gladly, leave behind The Flats. They left us flat and very tired. The smoke cleared and the hills welcomely returned turning the Yukon back into a river.
Yukon Crossing is a big milestone for us and has a truck stop where we are now midway through resting our tired shoulders, neck, back and arms for 24hrs.
Even though it’s been tough we are glad it is. It reminds Sean and I why we are doing this and that there are always people in darker more tiring places. People that the Special Boat Service Association, The Royal Marines Charity and Rock 2 Recovery are there for. That’s why we are doing this, to support those organisations and support those that need it after giving a hell of a lot.
Take care all, happier blogs to come. We’re over halfway! Yeeha!!