After a quick lunch I headed down to the water and loaded up my raft. I paddled out to the main channel and let the current take me. I wasn't entirely sure where the path to the airfield was, but had been told to keep an eye out for a clearing along the riverbank.
Today the airfield is mostly overgrown, and the only thing of note out there was the network of trails made by the Wood Buffalo as they went about their business.
The day was hot, pushing 30C, and the humidity hinted at the storms forecast later in the week. The mosquitos were intense, but I also made my acquaintence with what the locals call 'Bulldogs" - large horseflies that seem to exist for no other reason than to torment anyone who wants to be outside. About the size of a nickel, they sound like a helicopter when they buzz past your ear and take noticable chunks from your arm every time they bite you. I finally caved and put on my bug net -- drowning in sweat was a small price to pay for some measure of protection from their attacks.
Things improved as I got moving. The forest was alive with birdsong, and every so often a breeze would briefly clear my insect entourage. The sunlight filtered down through the trees, and everywhere I looked was lush and green.
The trail took a rambling route up hillocks and down through gullies, but it was in bad shape and it often vanished in the undergrowth. I was usually able to figure out where it had gone, but after about two hours I crossed a little creek and couldn't find any trace of it. I searched and searched, but in every direction all I got was a face full of tree. I decided to call it a day -- I was packed light, and didn't want to spend the rest of the evening blundering around an unfamiliar piece of mountainside. Of course, now the challenge was finding my way back down...
Before long I was upstream of town, so I put in for the final time and floated down to the town dock. It's a shame I couldn't find the knoll, but oh well. A good day hike.
Addendum: there are apparently a couple of routes heading out from the airfield, and it seems I wasn't actually on Pete's trail. Maybe my path just lead to the creek after all?