s we paddled onto Lake Tagish,
the wind decided to show us what it could do, whipping
up high waves that broke on the north shore of the lake. For a
little while we weren't sure we could control our heavily loaded
But before long we spotted the end of the lake and the opening
into the Yukon. “This is more like it,” exclaimed Dave as we were
swept along by the swift current. “Now I only have to row hard
enough so that you can steer.”
along for a while, with water from the melting snow upstream pushing
us forward at a great rate. When we suddenly slowed down, we
recognized that we had reached
. It lived up to its name by being very shallow.
Even though the evenings were long, it
was beginning to get dark. We started looking for a good camping
place along the bank. Time for another dinner of beans. Since we had
started soaking them early in the day, they were ready to be cooked
as soon as our fire was going well. With a good chunk of bacon
added, we had a real meal.
By the time
we finished eating, we were eager for bed. Instead of pitching our
tent, we laid out our sleeping gear in the open, on a flat spot. As
we lay on our backs in our sleeping bags, we gazed up at the
brilliant northern sky, trying to locate some familiar stars. Time
enough next morning to think about the rapids ahead.
The first light of day woke us all too
soon. After a quick breakfast of flapjacks with lots of syrup,
accompanied by bacon, we paddled off down the lake.
Soon we were
again caught by the current of the mighty Yukon River. Knowing that
Miles Canyon was not too far ahead, we watched our landmarks
carefully so we could stop well above it to reconnoiter on foot. We
had heard that over a hundred boats had been wrecked in the canyon,
and some people had drowned.
We knew that if we decided not to
attempt the rapids, we had an option that was not available to
earlier travellers. For twenty-five dollars we could transport
ourselves and our boat around the rapids on a
with wooden rails and horse-drawn cars.
- 29 -