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

2001-08-03 page 25 of 25

Day 25

The storm has lessened just enough to allow an early morning departure.

We awoke at 4 am, quickly packed up and set off at 4:30 am. The wind was still blowing, but only at 10 to 15 knots, same direction - northwest. The swell and surf had diminished to 1.5 to 2 feet. The air was nippy, but the strenuous paddling warmed us sufficiently. Before pulling into the bight near Qikliqtaujaq Island, we took a chance and paddled out to Saqiliq Island. This 1.5 mile crossing was a bit iffy because the wind was piping up and the water gnarly and festooned with whitecaps. Before starting the crossing we landed ashore and fitted the spray cover. During the crossing the cover caught a bit of water, but certainly nothing that would have swamped the canoe.

Our final day of paddling, we have stopped to fit the spray deck for an open crossing in still questionable weather.

We paddled around the west end of the island and then 1-1/4 miles due north to a point of land. Next we needed to cross a wide bay to the northeast but the wind was now blowing too strong and the waves were too large to make this crossing safely. So we went round the long way, one mile back in to the bay. We followed the land east, then north and could now see the buildings of Baker Lake plainly in the distance. While paddling north along the shore we encountered our first sand shoals. We had planned to go out to Nicholl's Island, but that option seemed to be dry. So we followed a bit of a channel hugging the mainland.

Wading the canoe through the shallows towards the town of Baker Lake, plainly visible in the distance.

Taking a much needed rest while dragging the fully loaded canoe across the vast expanse of sand.

At the northernmost point of land the channel ended and before us lay a vast expanse of sand. It looked like much of this would be under water during high tide. But we were not about to wait around for high tide. We tied the bow line into bights and each put one around our waists, and in that way we managed to drag the canoe, fully loaded, across the sand mostly going from large puddle to large puddle. In about half an hour we reached the far end of the sand bar. To our surprise we found red canoe scrape marks along the way. With the wind blowing the same way as the current from the Thelon River, the waves were minimal and we had a very easy paddle across to Hornet Point, and then another mile to the airport.

Landing ashore at 12:12 pm, at the boat ramp and the Inuksuk monument, we completed the journey. And what a fine journey it had been.

Town of Baker Lake

Trip's end at the Baker Lake boat ramp.

I stripped the canoe and started organizing our gear, while Jenny went to the terminal to make flight reservations and try to sell the canoe. It was a nostalgic moment for me, removing all the tie lines from the canoe; lines that had served us well all these days and miles. Soon after I had cleaned the canoe a local Inuit drove up on his 4 wheeler to collect the boat. I said to him, "Oh, Jenny must have sold the canoe already!" Which he confirmed. Later Jenny told me that the reservation agent knew someone who wanted a canoe just like this one. The agent paid $200 Canadian.

Reaching the hamlet of Baker Lake, we sold the canoe to a local resident.

I went in to the lake for a nice bath, wearing my full body mosquito clothing. Both me and the clothing got washed. But the bath was somewhat in vain because Jenny soon returned with the news that the next flight out would be another two days. So we would have to stay in Baker Lake for those days. After a taxi ride into town, we were soon taking hot showers at the Baker Lake Lodge.

Once again the Barrenlands had rewarded us with a fantastic trip. We had enjoyed every minute of it. One key feature of these trips is the urge to explore and discover, which is the essence of the journey, the quest, the continually ongoing nature, day after day, of travel without seeing another person. The beauty of the land, its lakes, and the rivers are also incomparable. We love the feeling of openness that just goes on and on for hundreds of miles. The feeling that we have practically the whole river - all 560-miles of it - virtually to ourselves - it is invigorating. At every place we stop, we stand there a few long moments just soaking it in. Every place is new, different and fresh. How rare a treat to have so much land to explore and enjoy.

Stan Rogers: Northwest Passage. They were playing this song at the Baker Lake museum.

On our flight home, we catch sight of the Kazan river emptying into Baker Lake.

The story has 25 pages. This is page 25.
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