Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Yukon River and aTwenty-Dollar Raft
I paddled a twenty-dollar raft over a hundred miles down the Yukon River from Eagle to Circle, which I don't recommend. The raft material was almost paper thin. I stayed near shore as much as possible in case it popped suddenly and I went down fast. I put foam pads in my pack and bags and tied everything together in case the raft sprang a leak. I needed to keep my gear afloat. But when you're out in the middle of a river that's a mile across, you'll be lucky to get yourself out alive and make it to shore, even if you don't encounter sweeping currents or log jams at the moment. The Yukon was flowing at about four miles per hour, and with that much volume, it has a lot of power. Hell, the cold could cramp you up in a few minutes.
This photo taken by a friendly man, 65, kayaking solo for three weeks was nice enough to accompany me on my last day to Circle. Besides crossing twice to go hiking up the Nation River, It was the only time that I dared go out in the middle of the river. Oh yeah, my paddle broke and I had to tie a stick to it to use it.
All and all, it was a good adventure. Different and a lot more half ass than normal, but good. When I climbed up on the banks at Circle, I felt a little stupid for not bringing a better raft. But when you’re poor you always try to cut corners. This was the wrong corner to cut.