Solo Canoe Trip . Noatak River . 8/94 . Day 6

The 13th of August. An unyielding 50 degrees. I sleep late. After yesterdays exertion, I consume twice my breakfast allowance along with some of Mike's spirolina (algae) tablets and a ginseng root. They claim is good energy food. I take ten tablets, a quarter inch of root, and chew on an energy bar along the way.

A look up valley as I depart reveals a dense wall of rain upriver. It should be twelve hours before that water reaches me.

I stopped where I did because from that bluff where I stopped, I could see a good distance, and I didn't see anymore rapids. I thought I had reached the last of them and that today would be a float trip. Not.

Just two more rapids of small importance. The river slows down and spreads out into braids and wide oxbows. I stop at an island sand bar where I catch up with Mike and Scott. They are trying to filter water but their pump isnt cooperating. Probably all the damn silt. We use mine. We are now getting our water from the main river as all the incoming streams are dirty too. Seems the rain is everywhere and over running everything.

We leave as the wind starts to pick up. I feel rather energetic and battle it for two hours until I'm blown down a braid and off the main current, where my down river progress and a strong head wind seem to cancel each other out.

Camp sites are few and far between. I stop at an island with a high bank and good wind protection. Haven't gone far today. Only eight miles or so. I won't pitch camp yet, I'l wait to see if it clears up. So I lay down for a rest. Hours later its obvious that I am camping here. The sun does come out for a while and I am able to charge my battery for an hour or so. I find some fingers of the river where the current is nil and the water is relatively clean. I take this time to filter and fill all the containers I have.

No wildlife of any kind today. Except a seagull. There is just something wrong about a seagull 250 miles inland. It appeared just as I was about to pull out, diving out of the sun. Heading right for me, screaming all the way. I take evasive action. Incoming! Spat, ka-splat. He got one of the dry bags and the stern of the canoe.

Top Ramen and tuna, the last carrot, hot chocolate and dried fruit. Tasted better there than it sounds here. The water is rising. It's raining. I read a book called "No Shit. There I was". Tales about adventure travel gone wrong.