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The Alaskan wildlife is certainly beautiful. To our delight this day allowed us to see five moose and one caribou. But the day wasn’t all relaxing.
SEPARATION! During the morning we encountered some anxious times. The river often splits into many different channels with long islands separating them. Buddy and Dan went down one channel and George, Mike, and I went down another with the other two rafts. We tried to follow Buddy and Dan, but the current was just too strong and we became separated. After traveling downstream a little further and drifting by several large adjoining channels, we didn’t know if Buddy and Dan were ahead or behind us. We didn’t know whether to wait or press hurriedly ahead. Finally, one hour later we reunited downstream. It was by God’s grace that we found each other so quickly. We were determined never to become separated again.
As lunch approached, we came upon a three mile sand and gravel bar. It had been reported in the scientific literature that a dinosaur horn core had been found in the float (loose rock material) near here. We had made good mileage that morning so we ate lunch on the east side of the river planning to spend part of the afternoon walking the bar looking for fossils. On the west side of the river rose a 100 foot bluff. After lunch, Buddy was not feeling well; he was sick to his stomach. I was hoping to make more time today, but I also needed a healthy crew. I decided that we should pitch our tents and make camp on this island gravel bar.
During our much-needed afternoon of relaxation, we found several pieces of fossilized and coalified wood on the bar contained within a hard tan siltstone matrix. I was hoping to get over to the 100 foot bluff, but the current was too strong to get over and back. Besides, it looked rather dangerous because the bluff was very steep and we would occasionally see rock falls tumble down the slope and into the river. I was content searching the bar for fossil material. I tried a little fishing, gazed at some moose up close, and enjoyed the windy afternoon that assisted in keeping the mosquitos at bay.
As evening approached, it began to drizzle and the mosquitos returned. Once we got inside the tent, we found ourselves refusing to leave because of the annoying insects, not to mention the rain. But what do you when nature calls? Thank God for Ziplock bags.
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