Loc: Lonely Point
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent
Dist: 26,0 km
Start: 10:00 End: 15:50
We still do not know if the old Lonely Point radar station is still manned and maintained like Cape Lisburne. It will be a surprise. We like to get there today, but also not much further as we want to check the site out. It is unfriendly raining all night and morning, but at least the wind settles in the early hours to moderate. It is cold as all last days, not more than two or three degrees. There is at least no fog with the rain, at least one progress, and the visibility is okay. But here is not really the place where people like to go on holidays in July. Thankfully, we both have our en-suite bathroom boxes we use, no freezing the butt off and getting wet. We kick ourselves into our paddling gear, carefully watching not to lose too much body heat on dressing into the dry suit. As soon as I climb out of the tent, I don my storm cag for extra rain and wind protection. We both leave it on all day. The water level is a bit lower than yesterday, and we can launch straight away from our camp spot. Once inside the kayak, things feel not too bad. The sea is calm, the wind maybe twelve knots, but it is raining and damn cold.
The mud cliffs on the first eight kilometers are really one of a kind. Not many people get to see this gigantic force of nature. They are about ten meters high, and one can see the permafrost soil layers under the overhanging grass top. Huge lumps of about three by three by three meters and more broke off here and there, the grassy soil looks like a green piece of skin hanging lose or sitting vertical on the mud lumps. It looks impressive, like a giant dark and long earth skin wound. We occasionally run aground on submerged small mud lumps as they are hard to spot in the overall brown water.
Soon, a sandy coast comes up, bordering inland lagoons or mudflats. Streams run over the sand, looking inviting enough for drinking water. We still have some hope we might find people at Point Lonely and can resupply our water there. We are down to three bags now, out of twelve. No caribous to spot today, but a lot of ducks, some seals and sea gulls. I am amazed we did not see any carcass of a whale, walrus or seal. So different to the rest of the Alaskan coast. At least I found the fangs of my half bear skull. Our hands and feet are frozen, and particularly on the first land stop, we both have a hard time to keep the hands working. Lilja’s dry suit pee zipper plays up again, we hope to be able to fix this tonight. Only hard paddling gets a bit of warmth back into our bones. Not to talk about hands and feet.
A small old housing site invites us for another stop. Two log house ruins tell stories about better times. But who gets the idea to erect a house here? We are really cold by now, and like not to stop anymore until the station shows up.
When nearing Lonely Point, a huge collection of vertical logs stand jammed in the water upfront a steep cliff. Was this a try to build something here – a landing spot on stilts? How is this supposed to hold up in the ice in winter? We spot a blue helicopter just taking off the Lonely Point Airfiled. Yahoo, there must be people out there! Or – did they just leave the site after work or inspection? The chopper pilot spots us, and wiggles with his props Did he knew about us? I hear him a long time behind us – does he turn back? A brief look backwards shows him soaring in the air not far behind us. Later, it comes to my mind they might have tried to reach us on the radio and did not like to fly too far away not to lose contact. We have some choppy following water now, wave only friendly and do not even think about a radio chat. We just hope the pilot announces our arrival to the radar station people.
If there will be some…We land on the right spot jst between the last cliffs and another lagoon, and climb the low wall, full of anticipation. I was hoping a truck is already sitting there, readily waiting to pick us up for a visit in the station – just as it happened at Cape Lisburne. But nothing…and a short walk shows us there are only tree mere container plus a fuel tank and a small antenna left besides the gigantic runway. Everything else is taken away and carefully cleaned up. The container belong to scientific research people, and the chopper we saw was likely just taking care of the facilities. Maybe the chopper liked to contact us to tall us where the keys were. But in any way, the walk up there would take way too much effort with our gear. The only inhabitant is a small, thin fox hopping around, and our dream bubble of a hot shower, laundry and a dry, warm environment with friendly people burst.
We only briefly contemplate to make some more kilometers, but we are both freezing cold and it now starts SNOWING! We have to erect our soaking wet tent, and try to get warm and dry in there as good as it goes. Tomorrow is another day off with now following north westerlies well over thirty knots. We already feel the waves chaging with the wind direction now from nor-west, and very much hope this direction does not bring a new belt of ice!