14 Jul, 2009 Change of Plans
Having been very pleased with finding such great scenes to paint yesterday, I was ready to head further into the mountains for more. We had only planned for three nights on this outing. We decided to hike a few more hours, and to spend the night by Red Rock Glacier, maybe even touch the glacier, and fill our water bottles from it. The weather has continued to be amazing, almost 20ºc, and not a cloud in the sky for two days. One might even say it was perfect, but not us. Though it was an above average heat for this part of the world, we still had a large river to cross to get back to the Tanquary Camp, with the heat and the warm winds, the river just had to be rising, and rising fast. Judging by the surrounding glaciers, the Macdonald River could quickly become impassible. Carl and I looked around, and couldn’t find a single speck of cloud on the horizon. We knew what we had to do. We packed away the map and made our way back to the river as soon as possible with our last night of food. A few hours later we found ourselves standing at the edge of a roaring, swelled, river. Not a chance. We were not crossing today.
One of the greatest dangers of traveling the arctic is crossing icy rivers. A fall in deep, fast currents could mean losing your gear, extreme cold, hypothermia, or even worse. To try and cross this river now, even with warmer air temperature, would be foolish. So we have taken our only option: we pitched our camp next to the river and hoped the water level would drop as the sun lowered even so slightly through the night.