Journal of Dan T. Cook - Fly Fishing the Globe
Traveling 75,000 miles around the world in search of fish and friendship.
Thursday, June 15, 2006 - Day 9
I awoke to a distinct chill in the air….as if Mother Nature was putting everyone on alert. I didn’t appreciate when a few of my fellow river goers complained of the heat and the sun. I certainly prefer them over rain and wind. Now they were about to get their wish.
No sooner had I returned to the boat from fetching water did the rain begin. It was light at first, then it picked up to a steady downpour. The boat tent works ideally under these conditions. It looks like a covered wagon when erected, but it provides nearly complete protection from rain…..stationary or while moving. I know the kayakers waiting to get on the river back in Ft. Selkirk wished they had a tent.
The day was pretty nice after the rain let up. I removed the tent around 11am and the winds and water were calm. My fishing opportunity (“great hope”) for today was the Selwyn River. After arriving at the confluence, I rowed up about ¼ of a mile. At first it appeared that the water was a tannic color, but as I progressed up the river I could see it was crystal clear with a dark brown bottom. I anchored and looked around. There was a nice open rock and sand bar in which to cast from. As I geared up, I decided to haul the gun around as the surrounding bush was dense and I would have little time to react in the event of a bear encounter.
The result? Another river without fish. Now…..one could consider that I’m just not doing the right things or using the right flies. But there were NO signs of fish life anywhere. Besides, I’m a Pieces, so I know where fish live!!!!!!! So I’m reeling from disappointment when I notice a set of tracks in the sand. They were huge…..about 10 inches in diameter. “OH *(&Q@#$(*&!!!!” I thought when I realized they were grizzly tracks. And to top it off, there where another, smaller set paralleling the huge ones. They looked really fresh. Adrenaline rushed through my body. I knew I had better “high-tail” it outta there! I grabbed the gun and semi-walked, semi-sashayed back to the boat looking in all directions at once. Once back on the Yukon I allowed myself to exhale.
I had been noticing a bunch of really dark clouds gaining on me for the last couple of hours. They definitely were gaining, so when it became obvious that I’d be overcome, I calmly put the tent up and continued down the river. About 30 minutes after that, I heard what sounded like a huge swarm of bees racing past me. This was followed by wind gusts of around 50-60 mph. I began scrambling to make it to the nearest riverbank while monitoring the tent for signs of lift-off. The wind was pushing the boat downriver at such a pace the gunnel was almost being pushed under! I jammed the stern of the dory in to some bushes and quickly jumped out to secure the anchor to anything solid. Then I tied the boat to the scrawny bushes with four separate lines and jumped back in to shore up the tent. All the while the storm was making the most wicked sounds and the winds were howling. By the time I was confident that I did everything I could do to survive, the wind in the trees sounded like a jet engine. The rain started pounding the tent. For about 45 minutes the wind, rain, lightning and thunder swept over me. It was a bit disturbing, to say the least. Fortunately, everything held together and I peeked out of the tent after the storm passed and saw nothing but tranquility.
I rowed another 6 miles to Kirkman Creek where a family operates a small concession. Surviving the storm made me rather thirsty and I was hoping to grab a beer before bed. I settled for a package of homemade oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies and a cup of tea.