July 12th, 2019
We slept until 7:45 AM – Axel woke me up to yet another hot meal for breakfast -eggs, hash browns, and sausage. We paddled from Clearwater to the Athabasca River. The current was RIPPING – soooo fast it feels illegal. There are lots of sticks and logs floating on top of the water, which is brown and murky, similar to the Saskatchewan River. There’s decent elevation on either side of the river and I saw a moose around 2:00 PM. It was a big boy. He was right up along the shore, frozen in place, starring at me. I come in peace, big boy.
Paul and I had our first date in the boat. He’s very quiet at first, but I can tell that after a few more dates, we’ll be chatting up a storm. Just like old times.
We had a dramatic late afternoon as we approached and passed a Suncor Mining/Refining factory. The sky was dark black and thunder echoed out along the river. Occasionally, streaks of lightning would strike across the sky – truly ominous conditions. Meanwhile, loud explosions were ringing out from the mine every 15 seconds or so and huge metal poles at that refinery were shooting out fire. Dark webs of pipelines, rebar and containers were dotted with a red luminescence. Rain poured from the sky suddenly and I felt like I was passing through hell.
Not many campsites on this river so far, were camping underneath a bridge and were not listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers.