Years passed and a desire to go back arose within us and not only cross the lowland of Yukon but also reach the source of Yukon in the Bering sea which was 2000 km away from Circle. During these years we went on many distant and not so distant expeditions. Gained experience so we could be ready for the fiercest parts of Yukon. Our greatest wish was to come back in the same group of people, but life made some corrections, And instead of Gatis. Came Andis who in 2006 along with Jānis traveled from Riga to Australia in 5 months. Those were 30 000 km on a motor bike. The boats look exactly how they are supposed to look. Plastic this time, Not the fiberglass we had last time. We just had our main shopping tour. All of this will have to be eaten in two months. Ok let’s see. Porridge, bacon, raisins, plums, brown sugar. Butter, even peanut butter. If you starve to a level where you can’t take it. How do you sort them out ? – I put everything that is not waterproof in the container. Andis, what do you think?
-Everything looks very professional. You get the chills when you see all of this. What are you afraid of Andis?
– I’m afraid that the bears will eat all of this. But I heard hunters at the store talking about the bears leaving. They have left to feed. Here’s a list. We have calculations. Rice 300g for one person. Pasta 150g for one person. Porridge, dried vegetables. From grams to kilograms and that is how our list was made. How many meals? How many days? Basically, we eat breakfast and supper. Some soup and snacks for lunch. Five different meals for dinner and we also have some delights as well. We have dried fruits, pancakes with syrup. Two months and five men. 600 dollars. Easy shopping. There is a table. Look, there is people. Here, we see a woman that was in the last scene of our 2002 trip. Wife of Albert, the one who gave us bear meet, salmon. She is gonna bring us some fresh caught salmon she just froze. We’ll get a big salmon for 20 dollars. Sad to say but Albert has passed, went to the Gods. We discovered that she is not Irish as Albert said. She is also Indian, with blue eyes and white skin. Six years ago we worried about bears because we didn’t know what to expect. Now we know the rules, but we still have
some weapons Raimonds supplied. It has not been used for some time. Well this is going to be the classic American version. And yes, we’ve got a license for hunting. We can hunt small game. Rabbits, birds, ducks, geese, fish – we got a license for those. It would be hard to hunt with this, this is more of a self defense weapon, but we have it and that’s the main thing. Every expedition has its starting point. It takes time to think about everything. Pack things up so that when you go down everything is set. But while a person has a chance to think on what it is better…it makes it difficult to patiently wait until everyone makes up their mind.. Wait on Raimonds, wait on Jānis, wait on the operator, wait on Andis, wait on myself The weirdest thing is that the water is like cement. Six years ago it was like like coffee. Now it is like cement. The most dangerous things are sudden winds and sharp waves. That is why we’re rowing close to shore – those are the rules. Here, I have to sit here. This is how you must sit. We just had our first trading process. We traded a beer for this rifle which will be handy on the other boat. Only one bullet for now, but we’ll get those. What do you say about this Jānis? How old is it?
– 10 years I think. The most classic American Winchester. You reload it with your hand just like in cowboy movies. 9 mm. A great weapon. It is funny and interesting that we don’t have river maps like those we had before Circle. We had current directions on those, but this is the best one we got in Fairbanks University. This is the lowland of Yukon that we have to conquer. And hundreds of other currents that branch out. And you know what they say – north is that way. We are back on Yukon and the unknown is waiting for us. For now we can only rely on ourselves because we no longer have maps like those we had before Circle. No one knows why because Yukon is traveled by many travelers. We have our questions but we will have to wait for the answers. We found time to get wet. Now is the time to get dry. Best place on small rocks. I must admit that it’s getting colder and everyone also says it’s gonna get colder. Honestly, I was hoping for warmer weather. This summer is an exception. This is the coldest and rainiest summer in 30 years. The temperature is somewhere around +6. Maybe less. I can feel my breath. I can feel the wind and I finally have the feeling that we’re back on Yukon. Back in the current. I almost forgot how it is. The speed of the current is 13 km per hour. Sometimes even 14 when we row. It’s a lot and I hope it goes on like this. We’ll go forward. Andis, your first impressions?
– It’s a bit colder than in Turkey. We’re waiting for the fire. Is it cold while sitting in the boat? Not so good in the middle. It’s fine, we just need to prepare ourselves. And who is this man behind you? That is a Japanese guy who started his trip at Whitehorse just like we did in 2002. Started with his buddy, there must have been an argument as you can see. No more traveling together. Today he asked if he can travel with us. Of course. Why not. Yukon lures everyone back. There is so much magic. I’m trying to figure out the consistency of this king salmon. As a fish it has very strong tale muscles, different color meat even. And now I’m preparing it a little bit. We’re going to have
proper fillets instead of leftovers. And so because of bears we give the leftovers back to the river. And say thank you to the great spirit. This is a Pacific ocean salmon that died because he has to travel such a long way up to Yukon. It means that it is very strong. The meat is good and nutritious. Usually this is bear food. Now it’s our food. You can only imagine how this tastes, this is all I can say. Don’t think you can get this at any restaurant. It’s good. Oh, what‘s coming? Thank you. This is your piece. Baltic salmon is also not bad
but this one is from Yukon. Very carefully, we row trough the lowlands of Yukon. It is important not to lose the main current of the river because a chance to lose it waits for you on every step of the way. Are you ready? This is just like in the classic cowboy movies. Finger here. When you’re ready to shoot, here. The reload goes like this. Now the bullet is inside and the gun is cocked. Well, if he can hit it like this, he has great skills. Wasn’t far. That was okay. It went too high. This is made to scare bears away. This is not an aerosol. That’s important to know. You take this orange thing off. And now you spray. Never do it against the wind. You can’t use it twice. When you press it, it all goes out. It’s not like hey, bear, go away, go away. The best distance is 3 meters. It’s going to be like a big white cloud. Just count to 10 until the bear is next to you. Did you understand? Businessmen are intelligent people. Have you tried to use it? –Yes.
On a bear? –No, no I haven’t tried it on a bear. What did you try it on then? –Nothing,
I just tested how it works. Just to know and be certain. It costs 50 bucks. One shot is 50 bucks. The guy had it. Used a bit.
–Does it also scare away hostile Indians? It effects the mucos membranes. Bear. I’ve always had it with me for many expeditions but we have never actually seen a bear up close. But you only have to see him once. Bears are not mosquitoes. He is not a pro because he can’t row on one side only. We got a visitor, and you don’t have to insult the guy. We, Latvians like to insult other people. You just said he’s a bad rower. – I just said he’s not a professional. I dint say he’s a fool. He just can’t row Everything we see around is THE RIVER. A large wide river because the mountains have gone their separate ways. You can only see it with two eyes wide open because no camera can show you what I see in this moment. This is the place where people usually get lost. It’s not that simple. Often you just trust your instincts. Raimonds says left, Jānis says right. Here you can see all of these small areas. Those are islands and creeks. In real life they are pretty big. How wide is this place? – One and a half or two. No it’s not… We just can’t feel that this river is actually 60 km wide. It just doesn’t feel like that. The river has it’s main current and there are small minor currents on the sides so if you hit them you lose a lot of speed. In general, the currents speed is 8-10 kilometers per hour. If you go off the stream, the speed drops to 50%. I think the descriptions on current
speeds and vegetation are pretty bad. I mean they call this place a desert. What does that mean? A desert with trees? Raimonds judges it all from a professional point of view. That is what I mean. You got to have some knowledge about the currents and the river itself
so you know where to go not to get lost. For now, we fear what happens after the Beaver village where people say that Yukon loses it’s current. We can’t really understand how does
a river with no current actually looks like? Because we don’t really have fast rivers back home. What is it, Māris? – It’s a dead bear. It’s a big bear. Here, the width is 15 cm. My first meeting with a bear. Never thought it’s going to be like this. What are the valuable things they hunt for…those are glands. They cost a lot. The meat of course. I think it’s strange they left the skin. Look, that is what they are Indians are allowed to hunt for bears through out the whole season and they do if they have a chance. Most likely there are boats passing by all the time. They see a bear- snap and they shoot it.