We broke camp and planned our route to get to an opening in the shoreline where we could hike up to the highway. It was our last chance to get off the river before Dawson City which was still about 250 river km away. Rain and black storm clouds had tailed us earlier and we had no proof the wind would stop. Against wind and current we worked to sideline it to the eastern shore, our hearts lurching and bodies at full tense, fighting back each time the wind spun us about. A moment’s pause from either of us, gave the wind full command.
On the map, Minto was marked as a ghost town with potential to camp. That was our hopeful destination. We worked together to stay in the thin-between of shoreline sweepers which could toss us into water, and the current that would take us against our plan. We saw a few cabins and made our approach. At the shore we both grasped onto a series of branches and brush to slow then stop the canoe. Bracing land, we held firm the ropes –the current still able to easily take our canoe and gear away — and carefully climbed onto steady ground.
Climbing up the hill we eventually found Margaret of the Selkirk First Nation. There is no more Minto camp nor cell tower that our research had advised. A bus load of tourists were about to descend for bannock and soup and enormous moose antlers photos. She offered the satellite phone and said we could stay and get our bearings. Her quiet generosity and calm hospitality was comfort.
The campground that housed our vehicle could not get our car to us and we owed the outfitter their canoe in Dawson. The tour bus heading south was full. Margaret offered us lunch after the tourists left and we filled up before storing our gear and hitting the road to hitchhike the Klondike Highway, bear spray on hip.
Next: the German canoeists who found us and asked for our help. Note: we’ll be offline for a few more days. Leaving Inuvik today–Sunday June 21 as I schedule this post.
Below: camping on Selkirk FN, photo 1 is taken at 2am “sunset;” photo 2 Karen setting camp with tourists in background; 3 & 4 eagle feather and moose antlers