The Green Mojave to the Chilly Chena

The snake gave little warning, a single shake of its rattle, before springing out from a shrub at chest height, mouth open, landing writhing on the trail directly in front of me.  I somehow had reversed my forward pace based on that little warning and a flash of movement seen from the corner of my eye, swept a trekking pole in defence, and narrowly avoided any direct contact with the angry, aggresively hissing serpent.  Later, in a shady decorated cache, I learned of the Green Mojave, its predilections, 3 kinds of venom, and general disagreeableness. 

I left the strange movie-storage HikerTown for the dreaded 16 mile stretch of LA aquaduct desert, arriving at the next water at 10pm.  I was now nearing my goal—560 miles, a trip into Bakersfield [thank you gracious hosts], and a flight to Fairbanks Alaska, all of which went more than smoothly—and pushed out the remaining 20 miles before 2, in a blasting wind that finally destroyed my decaying straw hat from the farm.

Post wonderful wedding historical reinactment, the groom[ Mike, a friend since kindergarten] took three of his buddies for a paddle down the Upper Chena River.   It was more than pleasant–grayling caught, midnight sun shining–until suddenly I am sitting on shore, watching an overturned canoe round a bend with no canoers in sight [they were still clinging to a large pile of sweeper logs, or swimming to safety in the fridgid water].  Knowing that our trip would be severly handicapped without the second canoe, or the kitchen, I took off my Extratufs, pants, sunglasses, and hat, and waded in.   A hard swim put me on a pine in the current just below the hung up canoe, where I grabbed a loose paddle.   Mike arrived with Bill in the other canoe, and the shivering red two of us were able to right the canoe and make it back to shore to pick up a shaken and scraped Ty.  In the end nearly everything was recovered, and the details of the incident were hashed out over a fire in the rain–lost paddle, bad position, large strainer, fast current, etc.

Tomorrow the adventure continues.  I am packed and ready to begin a 10 day packraft trip along the Noatak and Alatna Rivers that crosses the Arctic Circle twice.  A trip from a trip from a trip.

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~ by Scott Hamilton Peters on June 18, 2010.

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