Day 1
  Day 2
  Day 3
  Day 4
  Day 5
  Day 6
  Day 7
  Day 8
  Day 9
  Day 10
  Day 11
  Day 12
  Day 13
  Day 14
  Day 15
  Day 16
  Day 17
  Day 18
  Day 19
  Day 20
  Day 21
  Day 22
  Day 23
  Day 24
  Day 25

Canoeing the Kazan River

Kasba Lake to Baker Lake

Northern paddling Adventure #7

25 days, 560 miles, Jul 2001

Ray & Jenny Jardine

2001-07-27 page 18 of 25

Day 18

The sky was again cloudless when we set off at 8 am. The wind was south 8 to 12 knots. The morning was warm, sunny and peppery (bugs). Our first objective was to cut a large bay across 3.5 miles of of open water. At that distance, the far shore is barely visible, though no features are evident. Especially as we were looking directly into the eastern sun. So we paddled on a compass bearing. Halfway across the wind increased and started kicking up the seas. But we finished the crossing, and reached Forde Lake's outlet without having to correct heading.

Now on the river again we had to quickly shift mental gears back into river mode - watching ahead for rapids, rocks, gauging our speed, paying more attention to the map, donning life jackets, making sure all loose items are tied to the boat. On lakes we tend to relax more and it is more grunt work, paddling steadily, sometimes hard, depending on the conditions.

At the far end of a small lake is a set of marked rapids, and these we took on the left with some lining, wading and dragging. At the bottom of the rapids was a perfect fishing hole and bath rock. But the day was early so we pressed on.

In the next lake we skirted the group of islands to their right, then rounded the bend to the right, avoiding a few sections of rapids. At the next section of marked rapids where the river bends sharply left, we kept to the left and lined and waded. For the next three sets of marked rapids we stayed on river left and lined the boat just a bit.

The final set of marked rapids, where the river empties into 30 Mile Lake, we stopped on the right bank for fishing. This rapid could have easily been paddled down the middle. At the very bottom of the rapids, on the right bank, is a beautiful fishing spot. Jenny caught a nice Lake Trout and we wanted one more for lunch the next day, but her next fish was a real whopper - we hauled it out, took a few pictures, then released it. It was far too big for the two of us to eat and far too noble to even think of taking from the river, at least in our current state of appetites. This hole produced a fish with every cast, although we did not always land the fish; sometimes they got off the hook, mainly because we were using small lures with small hooks. Then while Jenny took a quick bath I landed another 16 inch Lake Trout.

Fish this size we always set free, knowing we would catch another - and hopefully smaller - one in the next cast or two.

From here the land seemed more brown than green. We started seeing our first gravel bars and the terrain was rockier. This was a very pleasant change from the low-lying, swampy ground of the past day and a half. The river flows through a cluster of islands and these were very fascinating. It felt like we were in a maze, but the river's constant current showed the way. At the end of the cluster is a hook of a peninsula attached to the right mainland bank, and just around this we saw a couple of large, dark brown objects that looked like they might be musk ox. Musk ox have a color that nothing else here does. The color alone is unmistakable. But these two lay motionless and we could not tell if they were musk ox or rocks. We drew closer and closer, and thought ever more surely that our eyes were playing tricks on us, and we were seeing a couple of rocks. Finally one of them stood up and ran over to what had looked like a rock for sure, but it stood up too and we could see that it was a small calf. The two ran around the corner and joined three more, while the stately bull lay in front of us. Finally, begrudgingly, it stood up, with no little effort, and stood its ground. We did not want to make him nervous so we refrained from approaching too closely. We got to within 40 or 50 feet.

The river here was over half a mile wide, but still had current, although now the southwest wind was starting to blow and we had to work to hold close to the right shoreline. Just before reaching a big crossing on the right, we stopped on the right bank and made camp on a nice patch of grass just up from the low-lying rocky shoreline. Curiously, a seagull stood very nearby - somehow knowing that we had fish. We wondered if it might have followed us from our fishing hole. I cut the tails off the fish and tossed them to the bird which swallowed one tail whole. This was no small feat because the tail was much wider than the bird's mouth. Somehow he got it all in. I think it may have done the same with the second fish tail, but I didn't see it. This is probably the closest we have been to a seagull up here - outside of being dived and swooped at incessantly at every seagull rookery islet we pass by. The bird's size amazed us. I had already cleaned the fish, and this bird had probably eaten the entrails. Here, I cut the fish into pot-sized pieces, rinsed them well, then carried them in a plastic grocery sack up to Jenny's cooking site.

Camp #18

The day had been very warm with the sun beating relentlessly down. We had countered the heat by splashing water onto us every now and then. However, once we were in tent, the heat became a real problem. We thought of a piece of mylar covering to block the sun, though such a thing on the Back River two years ago would have been unheard of, but on this trip it is not the cold we are battling but the heat and glaring sun.

32 miles today.

The story has 25 pages. This is page 18.
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