Paddling North Day 16: Rest, Planning, and Preparation

We took a rest and prep day today. We loved “Lily Creek” so much that we decided to stay awhile. The picture above shows what a “barrel dive” looks like. We are travelling with six weeks (now four weeks of food) and so had the top thirds of both barrels as working sections. One held breakfast and lunch foods, the other supper foods and staples. Now two weeks in, it was time to dive in and bring two more weeks of food into the working sections of the barrels. We aren’t yet eating enough 🙂 so there isn’t yet tons of room in the barrels but our appetites are growing by the day. So now the good system is all set for the next two weeks. We will resupply perishables in Fort McMurray.

We were awoken last night by a strange sound. We we look outside the tent six white apparitions were floating down the river. At first we couldn’t make sense of the shape. I was relieved when I remembered we were too far south for them to be polar bears. My brain worked hard to pattern match and I realized they were pelicans. We watched them feed in “Lily Creek” for about an hour then went back to sleep. They were still here when we woke in the morning and we watched them feed and preen some more until our tummies stared growling and we spooked them when we got up. They hung out for awhile but eventually floated down river to their next meal. It was magical to have such a close up view of them.

It’s rained off and on all day so we’ve spent time under our kitchen tarp. Here Marian is emerging after washing lunch dishes. We gas rhubarb cobbler for breakfast (Thanks Maaike for the rhubarb) and soup and mashed sweet potatoes for lunch. Supper will be gado gado sauce over veggies with rice and carrot salad. Can you tell we dove the barrels today?

Tomorrow we paddle to Athabasca and organize our gear for a car portage to Fort McMurray. The river section between Athabasca and Fort Mac has 14 large rapids that we are unwilling to tackle as a solo boat so a friend will meet us on June 3rd and move us north. The combination of remoteness, big river, and solo boat didn’t meet our risk tolerance so we are leaving it for another time. We also knew that with that 10 day section in, we would likely run out of time to do our entire planned route. We may still run out of town but this move gives us rest days :-). We hope to be back on the Athabasca River on Tuesday morning. It will have increased in volume but we feel like we’ve become old friends and we will miss the river over the next few days.

This was last night’s supper…a wilderness take on Irish Pub food and seeing it makes me hungry so I’m off to cook tonight’s dinner!

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