July 5 – Portage to Wyclese Day 2

Last night I dreamed I had procrastinated studying for my final exams too long and I was scrambling on the last day. What a horrible feeling. I have that dream not too infrequently. I wonder what it means. I have lots of vivid dreams out on these trips. Everything is vivid out here.

It rained all night. I noticed that after hours of steady rain my tent started to leak through the seams on the roof. I wished I had sorted out making some sort of tarp setup off the front of the tent to make a “sun”deck, out of the rain, so I wouldn’t be stuck in the tent whenever it was raining.

I thought about staying here another day because I didn’t want to get wet. Good luck with that on this trip… Plus that would give my arms a break. I was at about 8 km of 12, so I had about another 4 km to go.

I could hear a river down below, swollen from all the rain.

I decided to head out when the rain eased off a bit. The timing wasn’t too bad; I got out by about 10 a.m. As expected, the road quality worsened right after the cutblock since it hadn’t been maintained as recently past that point. The alder was growing in from the sides and down the center. So I could just pick one of the tire tracks and go down it.

I did a couple kilometers in a half hour and was very optimistic about getting to Wyclese Lagoon in short order. But the road got progressively overgrown as I went along. I was videotaping my progress though, which was interesting, and it turned out pretty good.

Then it started raining again. At one point I could vaguely make out Wyclese Lagoon off in the distance, as Kevin had said. I made it to the junction at the bottom of the valley and then headed east. The going was slow but steady, and I was soaked.

I ripped off the camera mounts a couple times in the trees, and one of those was on at the time! It was some interesting footage, and the camera landed lens up. And the boat flipped over about five times, especially on some steep downhill sections. The problem was that one wheel would go over a small alder in the center of the road and this would snag and push the wheel up and the boat would flip.

I was yelling to keep the bears away but there was little sign of them.

Finally I made it to some more flat road near Wyclese Lagoon. The road really did vanish into that greenery; this was a short clear section.

The guys had used “hip chain” to survey the road the other day. This is thin cotton string attached to a counter on your hip which measures how far you have gone. The thread is biodegradable but every 20 meters I would have to clear it off myself and my boat.

And it got wrapped up in the wheels.

But they left me pink ribbons every 100 meters with the distance marked. See the hip chain on the left?

End of the open section, beginning of the brush. Totally soaked.

I stopped for some peanut butter and dates for lunch in the middle of the brush at one point. But after a few minutes the bugs discovered me so I continued on battling the hip chain and alders.

I picked up some debris.

Off roading with my boat… Kevin had marked a debris slide on the map, which was very accurate.

I finally got to the end of the road after the final river crossing (luckily there was still a bridge). The float was gone and the shore was overgrown with alder, but the landing had a nice big open area for my tent. Looking east towards Wyclese Lagoon.

Looking towards where I just came from.

I disassembled the kayak, changed into dry clothes, and made dinner — wild turkey. It was okay, not too great. I filled my bottle from a drip coming off the moss on the cut bank. This was fresh groundwater so I didn’t have to filter it.

I dried out nicely even though there was no sun. Body heat I guess. And the rain had stopped.

Sitka alder. It has jagged leaf edges and grows more like a large shrub. And it smells really nice.

Red alder. It has slightly undercurled leaf edges and grows like a tree. It doesn’t smell.

Red alder on the left, sitka alder on the right.

The no-see-ums were getting bad so I retreated to my tent for the night. I replaced the lens for my GoPro camera which had been ripped off the mount and landed on the ground and got scratched.

I had now finished the portage section of this year and basically made it to Smith Inlet. It was this crossing that had sent me back home last year so I was glad I had licked it. I felt thankful that I was able to do this trip, both physically and mentally; many people couldn’t.

The song in my head today was Barney Bentall’s “Got Something to Live For”

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