Yukon, Aug 4
Friday – Day 43 – As I lay in bed last night, it became clear that the best thing for me to do was end the trip here in Grayling, AK. It is a small Native Village and RAVN flies from here to Aniak and then on to Anchorage. So once the Elders Lodge opens up at 9AM, which is a very brand new Community Center I can use the phone and make the changes in my reservations.
There was no hurry to get up, so we lingered. It has stopped raining and looks like perhaps the weather might change for the better, which was giving me 2nd thoughts about stopping the trip. However, it is not the weather that bothers me. I don’t like the wind for sure, but I can put up with it, even if it meant stopping and sitting it out. It is my thumbs and the pain and discomfort that I am experiencing that is taking the enjoyment out of the days.
We got up, started to pack things up and I went down to the bank and started to take the kayak apart. I knew if I got the kayak broke down, I wasn’t going to change my mind.
Once 9 came I went up to the Community Center and sat down and made the phone calls. After getting the reservations changed, there was no way I was going to make the flight out today, Friday. It would have to be tomorrow which gave me plenty of time to get the kayak broke down, packed up and ready to go.
A young guy came over from the closest house and he turned out to be one of the 4 school teachers at the school. It was his 3rd year and he had just returned for the start of school in a week or so. He offered to let me wash his clothes in his washer and dry them, which I appreciated. He also told me he would take me to the air strip just out of town in the morning about 9, which I also told him I appreciated. What a story he has teaching school there, not one of the easiest things to accomplish because of the drugs, alcohol and abuse that goes on in these Native Villages.
About 10 I looked up river and could see the 4 canoes and 1 kayak coming down river with the 9 kids.
Once they hit the bank and I told them I wasn’t going on it was a sad moment for all of us. We had spent quite a bit of time together and it wasn’t easy for me to stick with my decision. But I had the kayak broke down and had changed my reservations, so that was it.
I continued to work all day long in getting things bundled up. I had 2 different tarps so I cut them up and tied up the 5 different bundles with the rope I had, and even bought some more rope and a roll of duct tape. My bags for shipping stuff on the plane were in a box at the post office in Emmonak.
I had mailed them there when I got all set up in Whitehorse.
Once the kids bought some supplies, spent time having lunch at the Community Center, spent time on the Internet they were ready to take off. What a sad time for me. As they were on the water headed down stream what a picture it was. It meant so much to me; I didn’t take a picture of it because I didn’t want to share it with anyone. I hate to admit it but I was crying. It was all I could do to keep from getting my stuff down to the river, get the kayak together, go get supplies and head out after them.
But it was not to be and as the weeks have gone by, the decision to end the trip was the right one.
The only stressful thing that went on was it was payday in the Village. So the drunks were wandering around town all night long, the path to wander was right by my tent so I didn’t get a lot of sleep.