It took us a week to finally find the banks of the Twitya River, but with all the breakdowns, hang-ups and dead ends along the way, it seemed so much longer.

We managed to catch a few fish on our way. The catch was almost exclusively arctic grayling, with a Dolly Varden or two thrown in the mix, on No. 1 Mepps spinners. They made fine dinners, crisped in a pan or over the fire. Much needed energy, it would turn out, for tackling the Twitya.

We spent a day camped beside the big river, fishing mostly, and scouting the best way to bring the quads down the steep bank to the water’s edge. It was one of the best weather days of the trip. Mike and I swam across the river twice. The current was fierce, the water cold, but in the 70 degree sun we were quickly warmed. Even Mike, without a dry suit, in nothing but shorts and Five Finger shoes, didn’t seem to mind the frigid water.

That would soon change.

Day Two on the Twitya’s banks the weather shifted. The stiff wind and drizzling rain we’d been accustomed too started back. We cut logs, built our raft, broke camp and packed gear. Despite the repair job, my trailer was toast, so we did a carefully picking through the tools, taking only what seemed essential.

As we winched the last quad down the steep embankment to the water’s edge, the sun had set for restless three hours of darkness. Mike and I made a fire on the beach and took catnaps on the sand. With the sunrise would be our true test: the mighty Twitya River.