Yukon Bridge - Ruby
For hours it went through wind and waves
The night had been calm. Towards morning there was extremely strong wind again. I waited until noon, but the wind did not die down. After taking down the tent, I continued towards Rampart.
The waves were very high and the wind whipped the spray in my face. To make matters worse, it started to thunder and lightning. It was pouring down. I drove through the waves for hours.
Around 9pm I camped on an island about 40 km from Ramparts Rapids. I quickly put up the tent and disappeared into it.
Around 11pm I was woken up by the rain pattering on my tent. In front of the tent, the sun was just disappearing behind a mountain and shrouding the landscape in golden light. Behind my tent I saw a huge rainbow. I quickly got my camera and took some shots of the rainbow and the sunset. Finally, around 2:00am, I fell asleep....
Suddenly I was woken up by a noise. Something was wrong. I cautiously looked out of the tent and saw, not 2 metres in front of me, a grizzly. My heart started to race like crazy. The bear looked at me, puzzled.
What could I do? I had no weapon with me. I waited and watched the bear and he watched me. He came closer, so close I could smell him. Man, he's got some bad breath. The blood was pounding in my temples. I had to do something. I mustered up all the pitiful courage I had left and shouted, "Hey, hey bear," the bear stopped and turned to the side and started to huff. A clear sign of stress. It didn't help, the situation could escalate any minute. I jumped out of the tent. The bear ran as if he had seen the devil towards the water. There he stopped and stood on his hind legs. I grabbed my mini axe and a cooking pot and made a hell of a racket. That finished the bear, who ran into the Yukon and swam as fast as he could to the other side. I could see him disappearing into the bushes. In my excitement I didn't notice that it was raining all the time. I was soaking wet and to make matters worse I had forgotten to close the tent. Now it was full of mosquitoes and gnats. Great, what a night. I was completely exhausted.
Thanks to my guardian angel or sixth sense or whatever you want to call it. If I hadn't woken up, the bear would have come to my tent to check out who was in his territory...
Oh damn, I don't even have a photo of the bears ....
Beautiful rainbow, but then the bear came...
Beautiful home made boat !
Dr. Gerd von Szadowski and Rainer Kessel
I said goodbye to both of them around midday and set off for Tanana. Only reluctantly, as I would have liked to spend a few more days with them, but I did not want to disturb their Alaskan peace.
The rapids were above water. Just a pile of big stones. The weather was not very good, cloudy with a lot of wind and big waves. I could not enjoy the scenery because I had to be damn careful when driving.
19:00 I arrived in Tanana. The store and gas station were already closed. However, it was kindly opened again for me. I filled my canisters and bought a coke and some chocolate bars. Somehow I was not tired enough to spend the night in Tanana. I continued on towards Ruby.
The wind had died down a bit but there were very dark clouds on the horizon. I passed Kallands and headed towards Pallisades. It got darker and windier there.
I drove on to a sandy island and pitched my tent. But there were thousands of bloodthirsty mosquitoes. I had to pay a toll. Even in the tent I had to kill a few dozen of them. Oh man, what a day...
Somehow the encounter with the bear is still in my bones....
The Store in Tanana
When I woke up in the morning, my tent was full of fine sand that the wind had blown into my tent overnight. Everything was covered with a fine layer of powdery sand....
The sky was dark and it looked like it was going to rain. The two Americans in the Ally drove by and I waved to them.
Around 11:00 I decided to drive on. Past Birches of which nothing is left.
At the Kokrin Hills I passed the Bible Summer Camp. Just behind the camp I saw a huge bull moose with antlers. Unfortunately I could not get my camera out quickly enough. So the photo is nothing special, I just managed to get a picture of him before he disappeared into the bush.
I drove on to the Nowitna River and then up the river for about 10 km. The weather was getting worse. As I could not find a suitable place to camp due to the high water, I just tied my boat to a tree in the middle of the river. I pitched my tent on the boat and went to sleep.
It stormed and rained all night....
In the morning it was still raining. I decided to take a day off and stayed in my tent.
Unfortunately the floor of my Salewa tent is not 100% waterproof. So the rain got under the floor and into the tent. The sleeping bag was wet too, good thing I have a synthetic one!
It rained and thundered all day. I didn't want to take the risk of cooking in the tent, so I stayed hungry.
The mosquitoes were doing a real dance of joy between the inner and outer tents. Weren't they singing "we're going to get you, we're going to get you"? It's a good thing the tent is at least mosquito-proof.
I hope the weather improves tomorrow. A motorboat with two men has just stopped. They just wanted to see if I was OK. One of them said I had chosen a dangerous anchorage. I hadn't even thought about it. If the water continues to rise with the rain, it's possible that the tree will float downstream with my boat in tow.
I thanked him for the food for thought. All night long it rained, rained, rained...
At the Nowitna River
When I woke up it was still raining. The tree to which I anchored was already moving slightly. A sure sign to disappear hurriedly from here.
Actually I wanted to go further up the river, but that makes no sense with the rain and high water level. Too bad !
I packed the wet tent and went on in the direction of Ruby. In the small river everything was still ok, however, at the Yukon arrived big waves piled up.
Passing Kokrines the waves became higher and higher. So it went on for hours.
About 10Km before Ruby I met the New Zealanders I had already met at the Yukon Bridge at the start. They were Steff, Angeline, Adrian and the American Corey. They also want to go to the coast.
I drove on in the direction of Ruby. Shortly before Ruby I had to cross the Yukon. The waves were extremely high in the middle of the river. What I noticed unfortunately only too late. In the wave trough they reached me up to over the roof, so they were about 1.80-2.00m high. My boat was pounding through the waves. They came over my boat and I was soaking wet. The nasty thing was that the waves were coming from different directions. For a few moments I thought I wasn't going to make it. Believe me friends, it was close. If the boat hadn't been so stable on the water then I wouldn't be now....
On the shore in Ruby some people were watching. After what seemed like endless minutes I finally made it, I was in Ruby. When I was unloading my boat a man on a 4-wheeler came by and said that he had seen me crossing the Yukon. He wanted to see the boat that could handle such waves and the fool who was steering it. Right he is !
He said I had chosen exactly the worst spot. They would not dare to cross the river in such waves even with their big boats with 100hp. At this place the swell would be highest with strong wind. Great to know...
It's a pity that I don't have any pictures or videos of such situations, I really have to buy a waterproof camera.
After some time the New Zealanders arrived, they were lucky and crossed the Yukon a bit before Ruby. They also caught high waves but not as big as I had. You have to be lucky...
I set up my tent and cooked myself a pot of noodles, the first meal I've had in two days. Then a kettle of hot tea to warm me up again. My boots were full of water, just good that I had my Gore Tex suit on, it kept most of it off, but due to the still missing waterproofing not all. I changed clothes and hung them up to dry.
The New Zealanders did the same. After they had eaten and their thing were dry again they drove on again at night, because the weather had calmed down a bit.
I met another German couple, Sabine and David with a small self-built wooden sailboat the Yukon in several stages for years drove.
In the night a barge came, I jumped out of my sleeping bag and ran to the shore.
I was lucky and did not have to move my boat. The captain of the barge did millimeter work.
David came too, he took some pictures of the barge. He watched the unloading of the beer pallets for his host, the store owner in Ruby.
We chatted for some time about our experiences on the Yukon. When I looked at the clock it was already after three o'clock....
Sabine and David in their selfmade boat
My friend Wolf Hebel carving in Ruby
Miss you so much, hope to see you on the other side again!
Tom in Ruby
Not much happened today. Had a long talk with the Americans. In the late afternoon Wolf came. We went to the post office together. Again no package for me. In the store I bought minced meat. Wolf prepared a great hamburger for us. The evening passed quickly. Wolf and I always have a lot to talk about....
Around 7:00 I got up. Mike and Tom were packing. I prepared my breakfast. A pot full of pasta with ketchup, parmesan and lots of garlic.
Around 2:00 p.m. Wolf arrived. We waited for Mike and Tom to be picked up. They are now flying to Fairbanks. The Japanese had also packed up and left for Galena.
After we said goodbye we went to the post office again, but again nothing, no package from Germany. Man, that package has been on the road for 3 weeks now. Now I am stuck for the weekend anyway, because there is no mail here on Saturdays. But what the hell, I have enough time. We went to Wolf's house and drank a cup of coffee. Wolf cooked noodles with mushrooms and minced meat, delicious. The evening passed as usual with long conversations....
When I arrived back at the campground, the various stinging animals were already there and in huge numbers. I immediately crawled into my tent. Until 2:00 o'clock in the morning I was disturbed by all kinds of music from a cabin. Around 3:00 o'clock I could listen to a beautiful marriage quarrelWehen it was over, I heard a truck stop next to my tent and then a rifle shot. Tires spinning and then silence. I crawled out of the tent and was relieved to see that no one had used my boat as a target.
Well, a normal weekend in the bush...
Mike und Wolf at the Campground in Ruby
Smoke of fires rises in Ruby
My bait for the mouse.
The night had been wonderfully quiet, the weekend is over...
Bodo and I went to wash our clothes. He told me that he met Sebastien at the Yukon Bridge. He is waiting there for a friend who wants to paddle with him on the Yukon. So he should arrive in Ruby in the next few days.
We marched to the library, but it was closed today of all days, bad luck again no update on the website.
In the store I bought something chopped and we went to Wolf. He was happy to have new visitors. We drank coffee and talked until the evening. Then I set up my camera and tried to take a picture of the mouse. There was a delicious meal again. We watched some videos. Of course the mouse didn't show up...
Back at the campground the horror was waiting for us. The little flies were around us by the thousands. I immediately disappeared into the tent and ignited a mosquito spiral and began with the slaughter of the flies.
I lent Bodo afterwards my mosquito spiral, also he organized a fly slaughter in the tent.
It is really unbearable with the insects. Every minute that you now spend outside the tent, you are annoyed by the pests ...
Front Street Ruby
Bodo left for Galena around noon. I went to Wolf. Around 15:00 I went to the library. This time it was open, but the internet was down. All attempts of the librarian to get online failed. Apparently her software had been deleted. Great, no update again. I'll try again tomorrow. At the store I bought potatoes and chicken buns. When we opened the package at Wolf's, we soon felt sick. It was barely usable as dog food. Thorak, Wolf's dog, also tried it. Wolf still had a few pieces of real chicken, which he prepared for us with the potatoes. Towards evening I set up the camera again to finally photograph the damn mouse. We watched a video and drank a few cups of cocoa. Frustrated, I took the camera down after a few hours and what happened? Of course, the mouse came out...
Back in the tent, the same procedure as the night before, again the fight with the flies. The inflammation on my legs is getting worse, it itches like crazy. I think I have to go to the clinic in Ruby tomorrow and see if they can help me. If not, I may have to cancel the trip in a few weeks because it is no longer bearable. This really does not seem to be my year ...
Around noon I re-impregnated my Gore-Tex suit.
I met Wolf in the laundry. He was just about to do his laundry.
My leg still itches like crazy. I went to the clinic and asked if they could help me. Unfortunately, they don't have doctors here, but they do have medically trained staff. The two women were very, very kind and helped me right away. They couldn't figure out exactly what I had, but they gave me a lot of medicine to help me. Let's see. I asked them how much I owed them, and they said, "Nothing. Great, that's nice. I went back to the campground and got some chocolate bars and some bags of wine gum from Germany. I took them to the two women in the clinic and they were very happy.
After that I went back to Wolf, he had just hung up his laundry to dry.
Like every day, we went to the post office around 2:00 p.m. and Wolf checked his mailbox.
In the meantime I went to the campground with his dog. Since it is very windy today, I had already thought that my Gore suit was no longer hanging on the hook to dry, but lying on the ground. Since it was already dry, I packed it. Now everything was in the green range again ...
I went to the shop where I wanted to meet Wolf. He was already there, I gave him the dog and went into the store and bought two steaks for us. Wow, US$18, that was expensive....
Back at the cabin, Wolf called the library to see if the internet was working again, but it wasn't, so nothing with the website update.
Around 16:00h my friend Dan Pahman called me at Wolf. Dan and I are planning to do the Mackenzie Exp. together next year, if he can get away for that long. He had a lot of information for me.
After this long talk Wolf cooked us a nice meal. The steaks were well worth the money.
The mouse did not show up today.
Outside it suddenly got very dark. Forest fire, everything was covered in thick smoke, you could hardly see the other side of the Yukon River. It seems to be burning somewhere towards Galena. Man, what a year....
One good thing about the smoke though, when I arrived at the tent there were only a few of those annoying little flies. Since I don't want to arrive in Galena on Friday or Saturday (there's a bar there), I won't leave until Monday morning. I want to avoid any trouble with the drunks in Galena, and I still have plenty of time.
Not to mention all the good talks with Wolf. I wish I had his knowledge of life in the bush....
The Campground in Ruby
Ralf with one of his newly acquired wood carvings by Wolf Hebel.
Rolf Jahn from Cologne
Rolf's canoe was also gnawed on by a grizzly....
Around noon I went to Wolf's place. In the afternoon his neighbor Tim came by, I knew him from my 2004 trip. Tomorrow in the afternoon I will start my trip in the direction of Galena. Hopefully the weather will be better then. Around 23:00h I am back at the campground. Everything is full of smoke again and from time to time it rains. I hope it will not rain again while I am on my way. I really had enough rain on this trip. Well, at least my Gore suit is now properly waterproofed again. At least there was no stupid shootings this weekend ...
Head net worn by Paul Ulrich from Austria. Even with all the smoke from the fires, it was hard to stand the insects...
Paul Klepper was punctured by the claws of a grizzly on the side!
Continue with: Ruby Emmonak
Only those who risk going too far, will discover how far they can go!
Expedition in USA, Alaska & Canada, Scandinavia with folding boat, motorboat, catamaran, motorcycle, off-road vehicle, bicycle ...