Day 1 was all about distance. But that turned out being a good thing, because Day 2 rocked. And sadly, that wasn’t a good thing.
We woke on Day 2 to find moisture on our tents and moose tracks feet from our camp. It was fortunate we were so tired; we weren’t kept awake by any unidentifiable noises in the night. I was also shocked to see the drastic variances in the tide. The waterlines on the beach came within feet of our tents; we were lucky to have not gotten wet.
With such a late end to the previous day, we had a late start to the morning as well. While we were dawdling, a bush plane pilot landed across the river we forded the night before and chatted us up. The first group had evidently spoken with him on Day 1, and he had agreed to keep a look out for us along his daily route. It was cool to have him stop by, but I was slightly disappointed we weren’t quite as alone in the backwoods as I had originally thought.
After assuring Bill we didn’t need anything, he departed, and we packed up camp and set out.
Shortly after we began our daily trek, we stumbled upon an interesting relic in the sand: a shark’s jaw. It was fascinating in its details, and the photographers were quick to swarm. One of our party liked it so much that he decided to bring it home with him, carefully storing it in his sturdy bear can for protection.
The soft sand quickly gave way to a pebbled beach. This was rough on the ankles, as our feet seldom found level steps. I was grateful for the stiff ankle support of my hiking boots.
Eventually, the pebbles gave way to larger rocks. While I could occasionally find foot-sized rocks to stand on, this really wasn’t much better than the smaller pebbles. It was tiring attempting to maintain steady footing, our full concentration focused at our feet.
We had only gone perhaps a mile before we already needed a rest. We came upon a pristine lake, completely untouched by civilization. It was stunning in it clarity. We spent a long time photographing at its banks.
We also managed to espy a bald eagle high in the trees.
But the rocks were waiting for us.
We hoped around the next bend, the rocks would finally dissolve back into sand. But our spirits fell when we not only saw that they continued as far down the beach as we could see, but they got bigger.
Pretty soon, we were scrambling over small boulders. Clamber up one, hop to the next, jump down to the ground, scramble up the next, scooch back down to the ground, squeeze between two more, then climb back up on top of the next. All with more than 50 lbs on my back, which made any movements awkward. Many of our group had more than that, even, most of us had additional bags or cameras to juggle, and more than one of us were navigating with a bum limb or two. It was seriously trying on the knees and the back; it was exhausting. And it just wouldn’t end.
We were soon cursing this beach, anxious to just be on sand once more. Two miles melted into three, blurred into four. And still: rocks.
Finally, after 7 hours of rocks, we caught a glimpse of sand. I almost cried.
We took a well-deserved break before continuing, beyond grateful for the flat ground beneath our feet.
We had one more river to cross before we hit camp 2. This time, I didn’t mind the cool water on my aching feet, but I didn’t care for the gravel that freely washed into my water shoes and got lodged beneath my toes. Rocks just hated me that day.
Tired and hoping to never again see another rock, we crashed a little after 9pm.
We unfortunately didn’t see much in the way of wildlife, but I was glad to have those rocks behind us. Though it was unpleasant, I’m proud we made it through, and though we had several trips, no one injured themselves. I struggled quite a bit, but I wasn’t holding the group up, and for that I’m glad.
We survived Day 2, and despite it all, I was looking forward to Day 3.
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