Return to the Landing Zone
Thursday, August 12 and Friday, August 13
Needless to say, we're tired, so we sleep in the next morning. Probably a good thing, because the weather turns bad and it is rainy and drizzly for most of the day. Guess I wouldn't have been able to climb my un-named peak anyway.
We are packing up and heading back down to the Koroc campsite that we were at just last midnight. We wait around for a rain-free spell, then quickly pack up our camp and set out. Ugh... back to the super-heavy pack! We again distribute portions of Tom's extra weight among us.
Well, given I'd been up and down this valley a number of times now, I at least knew the best path through the terrain, and so picked the least-bouldery way. The intermittent heavy showers return, making the hike soggy and not too fun.
Koroc River campsite
By the time we arrive at the river campsite, Jimmy, Joel and Chris have departed downriver. Also, the rain let up, and it looked like we were finished with the bad weather for the day. Their campsite was quite nice - a very flat bit of ground near the confluence of a side-valley stream and the Koroc river. John is happily looking forward to fishing and making campfires!
dwarf arctic tree
Although this campsite is very nice in many ways, it unfortunately still has a lot of mosquitoes... and unlike our previous south base camp, has in addition black flies. Yay! When the wind blows, all is good, but when it is still, it is maddening to be outside. I spend a lot of time dozing and lolling in the tent as a result. I have now thoroughly read my "how to shit in the woods" book a few times (The first light book I found when I was looking for a book to pack in with me). Very interesting set of stories and essays on outdoor human sanitation in general.
Frying fish for lunch
The next morning is again dreary, weather-wise. It clears away as the morning progresses until we have a nice sunny day. John goes off fishing, and catches lots of little brook trout. He manages to get an even dozen, cleans them, and, with 2 pads of butter he stole from the hotel, fries them up for us for lunch. They are delicious... but unfortunately kind of small, so we are left feeling a little hungry for some more lunch.
Next, John and Tom eagerly gather dead wood and "standing dead wood". I observe, with some consternation, as Tom breaks branches off of some twisted trees that are near our campsite, thinking that it might not be a particularly good idea to break anything that is still actually attached to trees (such as they are) around here, even if the branches look dead. And, I notice that some of the branches are indeed not entirely dead, with green shoots around their bases. However, soon our campfire is lit, and is fanned to a roaring inferno by some brisk winds out of the west. I have to admit, even though I'm not typically one to start a campfire, they are nice, and the heat, combined with the stiff cool breeze, mean there are no bugs around and you can be toasty warm by the fire.
Beautiful light on landing area