The portion of the Yukon River between Lebarge and the confluence of the Teslin is called 30 Mile River. It is incredibly pleasant, narrow and engaging with riffles here and there to keep you on your toes. There is no shortage of history, sites to pause to investigate, cabin ruins, beautiful wilderness . . . AND PICNIC TABLES (which is a luxury in itself). If I ever have kids, we will go on a family vacation here! That’s what I thought as I kayaked under the light blue skies.
The weather was lovely the morning I paddled away from Lebarge but it took a turn in the late afternoon. It rained and rained and then thundered. I was surprised to hear the thunder and didn’t quite believe it at first. Thunder. It was so loud and right overhead without warning. The sight of lightening scared me out of my skin. I was in the middle of the river. Where the heck did the storm come from?
The shore was all rotten and the current was fast. Cliffs and bog and cut banks. Nowhere to land. I paddled for the nearest bit of boggy ground which would have to do. The wind hit me head on. I paddled harder. As hard as I could against the gale until my arms were wanting to give out. More deafening thunder that made my stomach drop. I swear the sound was so big, it made the world shake. Or maybe I was just shaking. I finally made it to the bank. I pulled my boat as far out of the water as I could manage and tied it to a clump of Willows and then scrambled through brush and bog into the safety of a spruce forest where I waited for the storm to pass. River banks are the worst place to be during electric storms. Don’t wait by the edge where the friction of the water hitting land builds up charge. Head into the forest. I crouched in the woods shaken and lonely thinking “I am not supposed to be doing this trip alone.” I held onto that thought too much in the beginning. Time to let that go. Time to take ownership of this trip. It is mine and it is hard but it is good. Wonder-full even.
I use my phone to take pictures and had it with me in my pocket. I took it out and it opened up to an e-mail a friend had sent while I was in Whitehorse.
“Take heart, brave Kristin . . . the universe loves you and all the challenges only make you stronger, wiser and more unstoppable. You are never alone.”
Words are water . . . but words are everything. They can still give you hope. Something to hold onto. I read the words out loud and it made me feel better.
The storm blew on and I was finally able to return to my kayak and paddle safely into the evening.
. . .
I got going early the next day in hopes of getting some miles in before any afternoon storms came my way. They never did and all of the sudden I realized Carmacks was within my grasp so I made a push to get there since it was my birthday. Everyone deserves a shower and a warm meal on their birthday and I got one!!