Saturday, July 2, 2016

Nenana to Tanana

Another canoe trip in the quest to paddle the entire 500-plus miles of Tanana River. This time from the village of Nenana to the village of Tanana, where the river enters the Yukon.

Trip partners Alison Beamer and Jason Clark celebrate finding a rock on one of the sand bars upon which we camped. Rocks are hard to come by on the Tanana, which flows over a basin of glacial dust.

Cora, a crowd favorite, was also in my red Bell canoe. Jason and Ali paddled Jason's 16-foot Old Town.

Celebrated the summer solstice on a nice sandbar with arctic terns and semipalmated plovers.

Sand, sand and more sand out there. Sometimes airborne. Always warm and comfy.

Putting on the brew during a stop at Old Minto, former village site and now a meeting place. Just got the Kelly Kettle. It eats only wood chips and sticks. Feeding it is recreation. Did not burn a drop of white gas.

The lord of Old Minto

A lunch break at Tolovana Roadhouse, the only standing stop from the Serum Run of 1925. 

We were quite surprised to enter Charlie's Slough outside Manley Hot Springs and see two dozen kids playing on a sandbar. Charlotte and Dean gave us a nice tour of their well-hidden Bible Camp. Good black coffee in the mess hall, a basketball court of treated plywood. Hot showers.

Also stopped at the ghost town of Cos Jacket. Known on the gps as Coskakat and to Tanana residents as Cross Jacket. Many bugs reside there.

Even though we were looking for moose, as I explain here, Jason loves to fish. We pulled into every tributary and casted Daredevils with steel leaders. Sometimes we got pike. After a while, we hoped for sheefish (because they are the lobster of the North). Here Ali shows one she caught in the Zitziana River. 

Hot weather = moose flies

After a week, we ran out of Tanana River and into the Yukon. Twice as big but way smoother. Took 15 minutes to ferry across the river to the village of Tanana.

Back to the world of people and planes. Sam saw me and Cora floating in. He was on the bank watching his four kids swim in the Yukon. "I can give you a ride to town if you need it." What I needed more was a kennel, so Cora could fly back to Fairbanks. Sam looked at his watch. "I don't have a kennel but I know where to look. We have 20 minutes before the plane comes in."

Cora and I hopped in Sam's truck. We saw a kennel in the yard Sam was thinking of. A girl came out and dumped some chicken poop out of it. I gave her and her sister a tip for the loan of the kennel. Sam took me to the Yukon to wash it out. With it cleaned, Cora and me and Jason and Ali were on the plane to Fairbanks. 

Jason and Ali just retrieved our canoes from Nenana, where they rode on a barge from Tanana. Trip complete. Another fine trip on my home river. The Hudson used to be, but I've lived here longer.

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