Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go.

Robert Service — The Call of the Wild

Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Beaver Dam to Gravel Bar

Start hiking (around 11:30) by crossing the Ekwi (higher now than yesterday) and then walking along an extensive beaver dam to get back on the trail. Many river crossings today – takes a lot of time to change shoes – and some very rocky stretches. Some parts of the trail are nearly grown over with willows or washed away by decades of run-off. It is pretty easy to follow the horse trail, but where a horse crosses the river is not necessarily the best place for a person to cross on foot! John found a good bear tree beside the trail and collected some grizzly hair for tying flies. (Date) passed one of Stan’s camps – he has trimmed the brush so he can land a plane right on the trail! Stop around 6:00 and camp on a very windy gravel bar (actually we’re just above the gravel bar) next to the Ekwi River. There is a family of ptarmigan living on the gravel bar and they walk by our tents and cackle that night. No fish caught, despite very fishy-looking water.
20090715_MorningAfterCamp.jpg
After a long night of powerful rain and hail we were slow to leave the warm of the tents. But by about 9am the skies were beginning to clear
photographer: Bill
20090715_BeaverDamCrossing1.jpg
We have to cross the Ekwi here, and it has risen significantly following last night's storm. There's also a beaver dam to scale on the opposite side.
photographer: John
20090715_BeaverDamCrossing2.jpg
About half-way across the top of the dam, looking back. This is one industrious rodent. You can see they used the collapsed bridge abuttments as dam anchor points.
photographer: Bill
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After every crossing we had to drop our packs, dig out our shoes & socks, dry our feet and climb back into our hiking boots. Several times we tried hiking in our wading shoes, but that never seemed to work for very long.
photographer: Bill
20090715_RiverCrossing1.jpg
John and Sandy crossing the Ekwi.
photographer: Bill
20090715_RiverCrossing2.jpg
Taking bearings following a river crossing
photographer: John
20090715_WindyBarCamp.jpg
Second night camp on a windy gravel bar next to the Ekwi.
photographer: John
20090715_GravelBarCamp.jpg
Another view of the Gravel Bar camp from above, looking across the bar and the Ekwi.
photographer: Bill
20090715_WindyBarTrashFire.jpg
Any left-over food or food wrappers would attract grizzlies. So each night we had to make certain all our provisions were stored away from camp in bear-proof containers. And then, also some distance from our tents, we would have a fire for burning trash. And several cocktails.
photographer: John

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