Tue 02/07-2022 Day 711

Pos: 70.2391,-150.8260
Loc: Colville River pipeline
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent
Dist: 19,9 km
Start: 14:45 End: 19:40

I managed to edit all pictures yesterday until midnight, and uploaded them this morning as well as my tracks and trip table data. Another bite of the North American continent is taken. One can eat an elephant, just do it in small pieces. The local kids were still busy on the playground next door until way after midnight. I had a funny meeting yesterday evening at the shop while purchasing my ice cream bucket. I met Clara already in Wainwright in the rescue shed, now here in Nuiqsut. The world is small.
Around ten o’clock, we think Calvin might be awake to ask him if he could please help us now with his air compressor to blow the rudder cable tubes like we had talked about yesterday. He manages to still blow some sandy pieces out of the tubes, and we are confident the rudder works smoothly now. Thanks so much for your help, Calvin!
We finish packing and we improve our makeshift-pogies out of those strong ziplock bags with a layer of Guerilla tape. The black color keeps the heat likely better and the pogies are stiffer and work even more perfect.
I walk up to Frederic’s house to ask him for assistance with hauling kayaks and gear back. Calvin is off to Anchorage, but Frederic and Adam take over the transport. So nice, thanks you, guys!
It is a sunny, mild day, so different from our yesterday’s start where we discovered and almost fixed the ruder issue. Today, Lilja’s rudder goes smoothly again, and we are even confident that the still a bit wobbly footrest rail holds up. We are even so confident we call David to tell him he does not need to look for another kayak to swap in Deadhorse. Friendly enough, Jo would have been happy to re-sell the blue kayak we had on the trip, but it is not necessary now anymore – thank goodness. I was happy to not have that kayak anymore on my trip, but it would have been better than no second kayak.
I plotted the river channels out of Nuiqsut to the open sea into my GPS, which would lead us through a clearly open connection channel into the main arm of the Colville River. But unfortunately, my satellite images, different to the Googe satellite pictures, must have been too old, as this connection channel is now sanded. The last one and a half kilometers are so shallow with muddy ground that we are just about able to turn around to make a long detour south to hit the main channel. So instead of not even ten kilometers to our campsite, we have to make twenty. But who cares, it is a sunny mild day, we see lots of caribou, a fox, a ground squirrel and ducks, but not a single boat. I am even so hot in my dry suit that I open the zipper for a while. It cannot be more different paddling than to those days in ice fields and snowstorm.
We see a pipeline river crossing in the distance, and climb a flat high bank for a better look. The view over the river into the sunshine from this platform is so inviting we like to camp here. Unfortunately, today’s mild temperatures also let the bugs come out, and they bother us already all day, even on the water. On making camp now, it is time to deploy the ‘secret weapon’, our head nets. For cooking dinner, we dare to use our stove inside the now bug-free tent, and let the rice dish finally soak for ten minutes inside Lilja’s sleeping bag. Not that we need an additional bedwarmer today, but it saves gas and attention on the pot and stove inside the tent. And yes, we feel very bear-safe here. But unfortunately, it is not bug-safe enough to dare a dip in the sweetwater of the river, despite sunshine.