Day 4: Clear, calm and fantastic Hoodoo country!
“We had a full windless day, allowing us to travel with ease. The high overcast from dawn until late afternoon kept the solar intensity at a reasonable level, making most of our time on the river a bit chilly, enough to wear a light jacket.
A singing Brown thrasher sat on an exposed perch looking very handsome when I emerged from the tent early today. A female Common merganser announced her low fly-over too, doubling back for a closer inspection of our camp. A mule deer appeared across the river on the high horizon, as I prepared breakfast. Her huge ears gave away her species.
Once on the river, the current took over, and transported us in to more and more spectacular badlands. We had arrived! A Golden eagle perched on a bentonite pinnacle high above, and just lower down to the right hung the bird’s nest. We couldn’t see any chicks, but the nest was likely very deep. Several mule and white-tailed deer were seen either resting or feeding as we quietly passed by. And finally, we spotted a female elk, which appeared in a small valley from a grove of small cottonwoods. She quickly disappeared up the valley. One of the estimated 70,000 elk that live here!
I conducted a Herald newspaper interview via satellite phone on a very calm stretch of water once we had passed into the block of military land on the right side of the river. Until now, the reserve was only on the left. The interview was for the upcoming TV showing of the Kilimanjaro climb, scheduled to air province-wide on June 23, 2015.
I also did my 2 weekly CBC radio shows with Calgary and Edmonton, as we floated quietly and Dee steered a bit from the bow. It was lucky that we were in a windless spell.
The famous “Rapid Narrows” were easily navigated on the right side, but Dee hopped out to lighten the front-end load, making any rock hits that much less of an issue. At the downstream end of the rough water, we set up camp with a spectacular view of the badlands across the river, including “Murphy’s Horn”, a distinctive hoodoo formation. Cedar waxwings were fly-catching as we enjoyed our river view for our late afternoon tea time.
We plan on spending two nights here, giving us time to explore “Bull Springs Coulee”, part of “Prairie Coulees Provincial Natural Area”.
Kilometres today: 37, and we dubbed this camp ‘Murphy’s Horn Camp'”