05 Jul COVERING WATER
On the water by 1pm today. For a paddling “schedule”, that seems like a really late start, but up here it feels pretty normal. The last two nights give us really late light and it was an attractive time to be creative. So we are shifting our schedules to suit the environment. The winds die down a little after a few hours and we check the GPS for our speed. The flow combined with our paddling has us hitting almost 9 kms an hour. We decide to take advantage of our good fortune and keep at it. This is where creativity and necessity butt heads. As a river trip we have to cover enough ground every day to make our pick up point about a 120 kms down stream. With calm weather at hand, this is the day to push and cover ground. At any point, we could become completely wind-bound. So we decide to go for it. As we paddle, I keep looking at all the possible paintings I could do here and there along the way. But have to pass them by. That’s how it it is on this kind of trip. While a view will often dictate a camping spot and the flow of the journey, there are larger factors that need attention first, like actually making it back out of here at some point.
We pull over for lunch, pita and cheese, and look at the map. There might be an artistic silver lining in our strategy after all. The stretch that we’re paddling right now is surrounded by low hills and miles of gravel beach. Further down river, the contour lines come together more closely, and indicate a potentially more visually stimulating typography. That kind of terrain would also allow me to hike up the hills and gain elevated views of the Thomsen. Knowing that we’re that much closer to our pick up would also mean more time to spend in really promising places and camping for 2 or maybe even 3 nights in one place. So we push on. By 11pm we’ve covered about 30-35 kms. As usually the sun breaks out briefly as we set camp and we all turn in quite beat. So beat in fact that Carl passes on dinner. Now that’s a rare thing to write about.