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

2001-07-28 page 19 of 25

Day 19

The morning sky was totally overcast and the wind 8 knots southeast. We set off at 7 am and paddled south across a mile wide bay, and then followed the right hand shore, such as it was, for it soon became festooned with islands, headlands and bays. The day soon proved to be one of arduous paddling in the wind and chop. Because of these we had to hold as close as possible to the southern shore, and even then the shore offered little protection because of its irregularities. The wind was up to 10 to 15 knots and the sky was blackening. But it was a fascinating shoreline, much rockier than upriver, with large monoliths of bedrock exposed.

Scouting the river ahead.

At one point we saw a lone musk ox. We thought it was a bear so we gave it a wide berth, then we saw it was a musk ox so we closed in. It was grazing amongst the rocks along shore. An hour later we came upon another musk ox lying on the tussocks along shore. We paddled close and it stood up, and after considerable deliberations ran away about 10 feet only to stop again, more as a gesture, it seemed.

The weather was calming, so we crossed to some islands on the far side of the narrow 30 Mile Lake as a matter of expediency. Island hopping was the shortest route. But this proved a mistake because with more fetch the waves were much larger and more difficult to handle. We stopped on one of the islands because the wind was so strong we could barely get around the island's rocky point. Rather than stop and make camp, we thought we would see if the wind would diminish. Meanwhile we made cuppas.

Indeed the wind eased within half an hour, so we set off again and re-crossed 30 Mile Lake to the windward side. This side was far more circuitous but also far less wave-tossed. Even so, we still had to cross many bays and straits where the winds and seas made the going strenuous. Also, rain started falling so we donned rain jackets, thankful that on this trip we were finally carrying a good set of foul weather gear.

An inuksuk stone landmark erected by the Inuktitut Indigenous Peoples. We see such landmarks all down the rivers of Arctic Canada.

The conditions were steadily deteriorating and our energies were flagging. Twice we stopped to look for a place to make camp, but the terrain was rough and rocky. Despite the weather we were not unhappy nor gloomy, we were just doing our thing, pleased to be doing so well in such conditions. And actually, the wind and rain were a nice change from the past few days of roasting under the sun and the battling the bugs. Besides, by Back River standards, even this was a warm and pleasant day.

One of the places we stopped at had a foreboding feeling to it. Across the way was an island with three very prominent inuksuks, one of which looked for all the world like a person standing there. We both had the feeling that the island of the inuksuks was for burial purposes.

Finally we reached the strait where both sides of the lake pinch nearly together and a good but smooth current flows through. We pulled around the corner to the right and made camp a short ways up on the goose grass at 5 pm. Our timing was good, for just as we had settled into the tent the sky let loose with a furious downpour. Day's mileage: 28.

Camp #19

The story has 25 pages. This is page 19.
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