Day 7 – Aug 11 Mileage and Lessons
Rather uneventful day, occasionally fished, went close to 50km and had difficulty finding a good camping spot.
Rode for a while on the raft while Shaun took rowing-frame lessons from Bruce.
Day 8 – Aug 12 Stoney Canyon-Big Creek Canyon
Another excellent night's sleep was followed by another perfect day, this was almost getting monotonous!
We set off at 11:00, our earliest departure yet! The river continued to mosey along amongst small islands until we came to Stoney Canyon which was a lengthy rapid that started with boulders interspersed along the river making for great play spots. At another section of the canyon, a recent landslide constricted the river while turning the slightly opaque green water a dirty brown. This was unfortunate as we were hoping to see the Chilkoten's green mix with the Fraser's brown in another day.
The river was carrying us along at a good pace, and it wasn't too ling before we got a holler from Bruce advising us that we had about one kilometer to Big Creek Canyon which was marked as having significant rapids. The maps didn't lie, we had a long stretch of wonderful whitewater that had a number of big holes and surfing waves to play in.
The heat was intense, being on the water was what made it manageable. Occasionally a blast of air so hot blew past us it reminded me of Nick's sauna. That hot, really.
We found a really nice camping site with an elevated plateau for tenting while we cooked along the shore. Dinner was a salad and pasta. We drank our hot chocolates under the stars, watching shooting stars that are common in August, quite a treat as the summers in Yukon are too bright to see them.
I was awoken around 2 in the morning by what I thought was someone shining a flashlight in my face, which turned out to be the moonrise, again quite a shock to someone used to camping in Yukon.
Day 9 – Aug 13 Farwell Canyon-Confluence
A gentle breeze and the sun shining in the tent woke us to yet another gorgeous day. Bruce's call for breakfast roused me from my sleeping bag (which was under me as it was already above 20 degrees) to walk down from the small bluff where our tents were. Pancakes and coffee hit the spot, and then the packing up of camp.
We have become more efficient in out breaking of camp, to be honest the improvement is all in Shaun and I, as Bruce is a seasoned veteran. Hitting the river we immediately headed into a canyon, flanked by hoodoo's on river left and passing by a native fishing camp on river right.
Near the end of the canyon spanned a bridge high above the river. Alongside the river banks were sections of dismantled rail line, with all that remained being the concrete foundations and a few ties and track.
We scouted this rapid as it looked rather fiercesome and difficult to gauge as the sun was reflecting in our eyes. Shaun and I ran it first so that Bruce could film it and take note of our line. We had a few spectators on the bridge, but whether they were cheering or hoping for carnage we could not tell.
Our lines went pretty well and I managed to eddy out to take a few pictures of Bruce's run. I would have filmed it but my camcorder seems to be having a fit. I will never, ever buy a Canon DV camcorder again. Bruce ran the rapid without difficulty and I quickly hopped back in my boat to catch up.
A few more bends followed before the river mellowed and widened. We drifted for a while then ate lunch. Checking the GPS and map, we found out that we were only a few kilometers from the last canyon, Farwell. This section had some wonderful continuous rapids maxing out at a class IV. The canyon had tightened up, become darker, and the river was very pushy. Very much fun was had by all.
The canyon ended, and we floated for a half kilometer or so until we saw the confluence with the Fraser. Normally the confluence is a spectacular sight, with the clear green water of the Chilkoten mixing with the contrasting muddy brown Fraser. This time however, the rivers were very similar in colour.
We followed the Fraser East in a huge valley before it turned south, in which direction it would run for hundreds of kilometers before heading West to the ocean.
On the lookout for a good camping site, we settled on one on the left bank which would give us longer sunlight and a good view of the sunset. Turns out that this is the location where the opening scenes from the movie 'The Thirteenth Warrior' was shot.
Fortunately there was a small creek, and I mean small, no more than a foot across just a few steps south of camp which allowed us to refill our empty water jugs.
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