Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Copper River Adventure, Day Two

          Roaring winds pushed and pulled on our canvas walls last night, resulting in a fitful night’s sleep.  When the tent flaps rustled again at 7:00 a.m. we feared the wind had returned.  But no, it was only a wake-up call.   We unzipped the door to find guides Kate and Tim waiting, steaming cups of coffee and tea in hand.  Now that’s what I call room service.  
Husband Tim and I sipped our hot drinks, then emerged from the tent to find a breakfast of eggs, bacon and fried potatoes, cooked and ready to eat.

This is what a loaded raft looks like.  Chena has her life vest on
and she's raring to go.

The rafts were packed and loaded by ten—an early start on the river.  We faced tough paddling again today with several hours of rolling waves and rough current.  Tired out by late afternoon we pulled the rafts onto Dewey Beach, an area of tidal flats and soft sand.

Second night's camp along the banks of Dewey Creek.

After pitching the tents, Guide Tim led Yag, Deepa and I on a short walk along the banks of Dewey Creek.  We found bear scat and tracks—the first time in my life I’d ever seen evidence of Grizzly Bears.  It’s both frightening and exhilarating to know we’re not at the top of the food chain on this river.

The front paw track of a Grizzly Bear.  The rear paws are
twice as large and... these prints were only 50 yards
away from our tents!

This paw print shows the indentations of the Grizzly's
very large and very unnerving claws.

Kate had dinner waiting when we arrived in camp.  We shared stories of “Grizzly sign” sightings while feasting on Chicken Adobo, a Filipino concoction of chicken, rice and vegetables.
After dinner Guide Tim serenaded us with guitar music.  Even the relentless mosquitoes couldn’t drain our enthusiasm for Tim’s soothing melodies.

Guide Tim (seated in the red jacket) strums a tune for us.
To keep the mosquitoes at bay, notice the head nets
worn by Yag (standing) and Husband Tim (right).

To read about our first day’s Copper River adventure, click here.
          Read about the next four days of the raft trip:
          Day Three
             Day Four
             Day Five
             Day Six


  1. Well, mostly fun. Except for the stiff currents and the mosquitoes!

    Thanks, as always, for commenting Soumyendu!

  2. Hi Rita,

    Wow! It's easy to understand why you would use the terms "frightening and exhilarating" to describe the signs of grizzly bears that you saw. As Little Red Riding Hood might say, "my those are big paws and claws you have"!

    My dentist goes to Alaska each year and hires a guide. He's told me that each of his guides have been armed with a high-powered rifle, just as a precautionary measure related to grizzly bears. Just curious if that was something you experienced as well?


  3. Hi John,

    As far as we knew, neither of our raft guides carried a gun. We had a dog—supposedly a deterrent to bears coming into camp—and we also had a satellite phone and a flare gun. That's all. Another factor to consider is that we had six people in our group. Whenever we were in camp we were mostly together and I've read that a grizzly has never been known to attack a group of six or more people. And at night all the food was stored in metal containers far away from our tents.
    In spite of all the horror stories about bears, the truth is that most bears (especially well fed ones) would rather avoid humans, just as we would rather avoid them!

    Thanks for your comments and questions!

  4. Hmmmm, so bears can count?! ;-) How exciting to see such clear tracks.

    Sounds like you had some amazing meals along the way. Did you guys do any fishing on this journey?

  5. Yes, apparently Grizzly bears can count! Or, at least they have the good sense to know when they're outnumbered in (cumulative) size and strength!

    The meals on the river were great. When I mentioned on Day One that we weren't expecting luxury we thought the meals would be more like standard backpack fare—freeze-dried, etc. But, with the rafts able to carry a ton of weight—including large coolers—gourmet food was an unexpected highlight on this trip!

    You'll have to wait until day four to find out about the fishing!

    Thanks for your comments, Vickie!

    1. After all that unexpected paddling, I'm sure the gourmet dinners were especially appreciated.

      Can't wait to hear about Tim's adventures with fly-fishing!