River Still

The long sun has given us options we’ve never before experienced. I knew that by the time I returned to Karen it would still be light, making my solo mountain drive manageable. We ate our stew while watching a beaver transport branches to an island, wondering how they work that current and if their sleeping schedule changes in the all-night light.

We slept in, enjoyed fixing a leisurely breakfast of pancakes and coffee before breaking camp, thanking Margaret, and continuing our journey toward Dawson. We talked some about fear and decision, relief and regret but it felt that until we unburdened the boat, the river wasn’t yet finished.

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On the Klondike Highway, we stopped to more closely admire the wildflowers bordering the mountain road like a wedding aisle. Same Love came on the playlist through the car window. My heart swelled with gratitude and tears of release gathered in my eyes.

When we arrived at Dawson City, we dropped the canoe with a man who said, “Yep, we lose a couple a year…” and told us about the hypothermic soloist who was rescued by two women as he held onto sweepers, his canoe found a year later in Alaska.

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Our outfitter in Whitehorse had said, “The river is deceiving. It’s not the surface that carries you, it’s the current underneath.”

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