Paddling the rafts past the braided channels and vast sand and mud flats of the confluence of the Bremner and Copper Rivers was tedious and tiring. We were glad to see the confluence of the Wernicke River on the west shore, and slowly floated close to land until we found a small protected cove where we landed the rafts.
The banks along the river in this area were steep and required a lot of hauling gear up and down, bear sign was everywhere. It looked like we were on a well used bear trail. We were careful to set up the camp kitchen well away from the sleeping tents, this required additional lugging heavy gear. By now my every muscle was sore, my middle aged body was not used to this much physical labor, and I was glad for the very fit members of the crew. They did more than their share this evening, for sure.
The views from this campsite were spectacular and my camera went into overtime recording images to use as reference material in future paintings. In the morning we planned to explore the abandoned railway bed along the narrow Baird Canyon at the confluence of the Allen River and Copper River. I slept very well in spite of bear fears, we kept the 12 gauge shotgun ready inside the tent. Five years before, I camped in this very spot and bears walked right through camp. This night was either peaceful or I was too tired to care.
Gail Niebrugge, Alaska artist