Thursday, June 6th
Chena River

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Moose ahead !

Chena River Map

I woke up at 2 o’clock AM and I thought at was morning already.  I’ll never get used to it.
Now I hear some rustling, but it turns out te be Lou who is boiling water for the tee.  We take breakfast under a brilliant blue sky.

We load the canoes and leave for another day on the water.

Moose ahead !10h40
Moose ahead !
It’s a twin that crosses the river a bit uncertain.  They haven’t seen us yet.  According to their stature they must be quite young, 3 or 4 years old at most.  Once in the middle of the river they stop and look upstream in our direction.  As surprised as we are they look at us.  We try to slow down our canoe but we flow inevitably  towards them.  Suddenly, they continue their crossing and run into the bushes.
Further on, a mother moose and her calf are standing at the waterside.  They run quickly into the bushes as they see us.
In these situations we feel even more like intruders : we disturb them in their territory.

An eagle is sitting on his nest.  He looks around suspicious.  Eagles are difficult to photograph, they sit usually somewhere high in a tree.  Lou talks about the  ‘tiny-white-dot photography’, that speaks for itself.

The log jam15h30
The log jam. Lou already spoke about before we started the trip.  It’s a huge pile of trunks and trees, several meters high, that blocks the river over the entire width.  Such a log jam can come loose with a strong current in spring, but this hasn’t happened anymore for years now.

As a result, we have to empty the canoes, get out of the water and pull them about 500 meters through the forest. Time-consuming and tiring, Lou doesn’t like it either. In addition, the mosquitoes have found us again.  Waving them away whilst pulling the canoe is not easy. To get rid of them, we quickly load the canoes again and  continue our journey on the water.

We meet some anglers. One of them asks us if we have seen any moose today.
“Yeah, four of them”, I reply.
“Oh, great !”, he says in a frustrated way.

Time flies, we have to look after a campsite again.  This time we prefer some shade.  Even though it wasn’t hot, the sun has burned our skin today.

Campsite on a gravel bar19h40
We pitch our tent and take an appetizer while waiting for dinner.  Meanwhile, a Sandhill Crane flies by, a beaver claps with his tail, we enjoy once again our stay in the open air.

After dinner we light the campfire for our fight against the mosquitoes.  The wood we use is clearly coming from beaver labour.  The ends are typically conical gnawed off.  They do so to reach the leaves of a tree and for their teeth.  Otherwise, they would grow too long.  It’s amazing how those little animals can strike down a tree of 15 cm diameter in about three minutes.

In the glow of the campfire, Lou tells about the experiences of other trips and how she and Ron have ended up in Alaska.
It becomes late and we loop up our tent.

next day