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

Saturday, July 18, 2009
Caribou Pass to Tripod Camp

Before we are even up, Stan buzzes us in the helicopter – apparently they are going to check up on us every day. We all look out from our tents and give a wave to let him know we are okay. As we are packing up, a family of caribou crosses the Ekwi and passes right by our camp. Start hiking around 11:15. Arrive at “The Tripod Site” around 4:45. Met 2 guys traveling east on quads with trailers. They want to see if they can make it all the way to Norman Wells (we start to make bets on when we will see them make their return trip). This same hike took 7 hours in 2007 vice 5 ˝ hours this time. No sheep in view on “Sheep Mountain” though Steve spots a caribou next to the Snow Cave. Ground squirrels like to run into the lengths of pipe that remain from the pipeline - - they chatter their outrage from inside and the echo cracks us up – probably makes them feel intimidating. John recites a Robert Service poem “Spell of the Yukon”, though there are no “… bighorn asleep on the hill” this year as there were in 2007. We are seeing lots of caribou with calves on the remaining patches of snow high on the mountain sides. Steve says they go there to escape the bugs.

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