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Guide's Report

By Geoffrey Peake

More late-night writing

Sunday, July 22, 2001

PETER
BREWSTER


Campsite: Palmer River 589º 53.06'N, 639º 53.52'W.
Distance Today: 5 km
Total: 187 km

Guess what? I'm up late again tonight doing my journal. I just can't seem to escape this late night writing. I'm not going to write much today -- to be honest I feel like this place is using up all my superlatives and adjectives. Today we continued our upward progress on the Palmer. Technically, upstream lining is called tracking, and it takes a certain amount of coordination and cooperation with your partner to keep your canoe out in the deep water. The Palmer is about the ideal volume and gradient for tracking (so far, anyway) The river is just the right size to float our boats, without being to big to slow us down.

There is a certain effortless grace to tracking when it is done properly -- when pulled in tandem the canoe can be manoeuvered around rocks and shallows with the flick of a wrist. At our present pace, it takes us about one hour to go two kilometres upstream.

Today was about as ideal a day for tracking as I could imagine -- brisk tailwind, sunny skies, amazing scenery. I hate to sound like a broken record here, but honestly, if you were here you'd be saying the same thing. The truth is, there probably are places in the world that some might consider to be more beautiful, like the Himalayas, or Hawaii for example. The difference is, first, those places are not in this country, and second, they are also incredibly busy. So far we haven't seen another person yet. In fact, aside from the occasional oil drum, the most common signs of human habitation that we have encountnered anyway have been the stone/sod huts hundreds if not thousands of years old. We feel like we have discovered a secret treasure trove here that very few people have seen. And the journey isn't half done yet.

Well, once again, it's time to sign off. Tom is snoring next to me in the tent (he wears ear plugs so that he doesn't have to hear me snore); the wind has come up since I started writing and now it is fairly howling against the side of the tent. The rain has started too; maybe we've used up all our good weather cards after all...




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