17 Jul, 2009 Back Out There

Time to get out there again. Looking at the map closely, we decided that crossing the Macdonald River would have to be off the list for the rest of our time Tanquary. With less than a week to go before flying out, we couldn’t risk being stuck on the other side and not getting back for our flight. Not even sure if we could crossing it again as the weather has remained quite mild. Carl and I opted instead to follow the river into it’s valley for a few days and see what views unfolded.

With our packs back in camping mode, we struck out. Along the way, we came across a lone muskox. It seemed to own the valley. We found bits of hair on the ground all over. I pulled my camera out and slowly approached in its direction. It was further uphill than me, and facing the other way. So far, so good. We had heard that we should approach muskox from above as it causes them to be very uneasy. I image that might be because of wolf predation. While still a safe distance away, it finally turned its head, and not liking what it seen, let out a couple of snorts. Good enough for me! I slowly back away and Carl and I moved on. A few hours of nice hiking passed when we eyed a patch of green. It contrasted nicely with the more subtle tones of rock that surrounded it. While moving in closer, we found a camper’s dream: a perfect rock shelter from the wind, and angled perfectly for leaning against while sitting. Looking around, we noticed that we were surrounded by moats of fresh water. The earth has given way and created trenches where water seeped in from below. It seemed odd to us, but very practical to have water so handy. We later found out, while nosing around in these cave-ins, that we were in fact standing on only on a foot of earth, which itself was sitting on solid ice at least 3 feet thick. Pretty amazing. I studied the new surroundings while having supper and found a couple possible scenes to explore further. But I really wanted to see  if the later light would be more suitable. By now it was getting late. We turned in, and I set the alarm for couple of hours later. It went off, and I looked out the tent. Hmmm. Not quite there. I reset the alarm for another hour. Same result. Reset it again. Not quite right. This continued… all… night… long. In the end, I didn’t paint anything. Carl was very understanding of my need to see the changing light. There is no escape from the alarm in a two man tent, so he was awakened each time as well. What a brother!

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