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

2001-07-31 page 22 of 25

Day 22

We set of at 6 am, in a mere 5 knots of southeast wind, under low, dark skies. Quite a switch from yesterday, as now we could see the ripples and small rapids on the water's surface. The current now swept us easily around the island we had camped on with the Y-shaped eskers. At the end of the island we passed inside of the next island. The current was very good all the way to the next lake, at the end of which the river makes a hard right. Even in the lake there was some current. At the lake's outlet the marked rapids were quite substantial and we lined them on the right. The next marked rapids, seven miles downriver, we also lined, waded and dragged on the right. And here we also stopped to fish. Jenny threw out her favorite lure, "blue moon" and hauled in a magnificent lake trout of about 22 inches.

The final catch of the trip, and the largest fish we kept. This beauty fed us for 2-1/2 days.

The bedrock and loose slabs along this stretch was a beautiful red sandstone, and in places was stacked like slate shingles. From here the river accelerated wildly and featured very little flat water. It was all rushing and turbulent, not for the faint of heart. Sometimes it was almost dizzying, watching the land whizzing past and the different motions out across the river. Also, from shore, watching the river rush by was quite dizzying. At one point we came to a red sandstone cliff averaging maybe 6 feet high and several hundred feet long, and this we lined. The clouds had lowered even more and the wind remained 5 to 10 knots throughout the fairly chilly morning.

The day is cold, so we're wearing extra clothing including insulated jackets under our rain parkas. I'm lining the boat as a precaution because I can't see around the corner.

Nearing the delta we started working to the left bank, as always carefully skirting various rocks and rapids. Then the river began to spread out and shallow, exposing a great many rocks and rapids to avoid. At last we steered through a narrow slot leading left and this emptied into Baker Lake. And thus, at noon, we went from wild river water to placid lake water. The wind was dropping and the lake was almost flat calm, with one foot, gentle, rolling swells.

We made our way across the first bay. The map showed shallow sand, but we found no difficulties. For the next six hours we paddled along the coast in pea soup fog. Visibility was about half a mile, so we had to be very careful with our navigating. The next eight miles of coastline were like teeth on a saw blade, with point after point jutting out, and these we cut point to point, relying mainly on the compass until the next fog-shrouded point hove into sight.

And so we went, groping our way along. The wind died completely, the bugs came out and the water went completely flat. We had never seen Baker Lake so calm. Surprisingly, in several places fish were feeding and jumping all around the canoe, what kind and size we couldn't tell. Also to our surprise the lake's water all along the way was fresh. But we had collected some extra from the river just in case; we had thought that Baker Lake would be slightly saline from the tide flowing in from Hudson Bay.

Beyond Takijuq Island the fog began to lift and for the first time we could see that the coast was very low lying, meaning that the camping possibilities were minimal. We had been paddling for 12 hours and were seriously looking for a place to stop, when at last we found a small area of somewhat higher ground. So we landed ashore and made a nice camp. We had just pitched the tent and had put the gear bags under the vestibule when the rain started to fall. Jenny cooked the fish cheerfully out in the rain and bugs, wearing her hip waders and rain jacket. Good rain gear is a must on a trip such as this.

28 river miles plus 17 lake miles equals 45 miles. And we estimate we are just 17 miles from trip's end at the village of Baker Lake.

Camp #22 on the shores of Baker Lake.

A typical dinner on this trip was either corn pasta or fish, boiled in our cookpot.

The story has 25 pages. This is page 22.
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