14 Days Solo Camping in the Yukon Wilderness – E.7 – Grizzly...

14 Days Solo Camping in the Yukon Wilderness – E.7 – Grizzly Bears & Pancakes for Dinner


Danger in the rapids over, I paddled downriver and soon saw a smashed canoe lying on the bank. Obviously, those rapids had not worked out as well for someone else. Travel on far-flung wilderness rivers can have its perils. It acted as a good reminder for me to be more careful.

Not long after coming across the lost canoe, I was paddling into a headwind when I saw a Grizzly Bear on the bank ahead. It was soon joined by two cubs. It was easy to tell they were in their second summer because they were big! I didn’t get the best footage of them because the wind was blowing my canoe 180. They were upwind of me and that made it harder for them to small me so, that may have been half the reason I saw them. They got scared and ran away when they saw me but they circled back to have another look before bolting again. I also saw a large number of swallow nests burrowed into the side of a bluff as I passed.

It was about 9pm when I finally got to my desired camp spot after paddling 40kms that day. I was happy that despite the fiasco of dumping and hiking back for my camera that I was still able to make my desired distance.

Camped at the mouth of a tributary, I was sure I was going to catch some fish but after several casts, I came up empty-handed. After that, I concluded that the lower stretches of the Hess are not good for fishing – not at this time of year and in these water levels anyways. There were no scattered, small pieces of driftwood on this gravel bar I camped on but there was one big dry log which would provide ample wood. After setting up my tent, I sawed and split some wood and shared a little of my thoughts on the benefits of bringing a saw over an axe and vice-versa. I decided earlier to have pancakes for dinner and I started cooking them up over the fire…..even though I knew my mom wouldn’t approve of this – “I’m having pancakes for dinner mom and you can’t stop me!” I jokingly told the camera.

The next morning I packed up and pushed back off onto the river. I short while later I reached the last canyon and the last set of rapids on the Hess. I pulled over and walked away down the bank to scout it. I was overly nervous because of the spill I took the day before and I proceeded to run the rapid with extra caution. A beautiful sun shower started up as I began to run the rapids. I managed to take it slow, backpaddling and tot