‘So you guys are hoping to go all the way to the Wells (Normal Wells) without a resupply or flight across a river?’ Stan asked, raising an eyebrow. We looked up from our coffees and nodded. ‘Do you have a satellite phone with you?’ We nodded again. ‘Good,’ Stan laughed. ‘In that case you had better take my number with you! We’ve been up here for twenty summers now, and I think I have met everyone who has come down the trail in that time. I honestly don’t think anyone has done the whole thing without a resupply. That, or they call me up to fly them over one of the rivers, the Twitya or the Carcajou usually. A lot of them think they can make it, but they all end up calling. And the rivers are as high as I’ve ever seen them this summer. I don’t know how you’ll make it over the Twitya.’
‘Can you land your plane beside the Twitya?’ Ferg asked. There aren’t strips there are there?’
‘Oh, With enough looking I can always find a gravel bar to set her down on,’ Stan smiled. ‘It’s got tundra tires, but you have to have a strong stomach,’ he laughed. ‘Now, one more thing. Do you guys have a gun with you?’
‘Nope, but we have a canister of pepper spray and a few bangers,’ I mumbled with a full mouth, glancing up from my chocolate square.
Stan looked at us skeptically. ‘There are a lot of bears in these here valleys,’ he warned. ‘The bear hunt was banned a few years back, and they have come back in hoards. They’re a real nuisance. When a gun goes off they think its the dinner bell. We can’t finish cleaning a goat or moose before several bears are hovering around waiting for the entrails. We had five here last night. They could smell the meat drying in our shed. One big sow with two cubs started to scratch at the buildings, and I had to let the dogs out to chase them away. Be careful out there, they are getting more persistent every year.’