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

2001-07-15 page 6 of 25

Day 6

We stowed our gear in waterproof river bags, and tied those bags to the canoe in case of a capsize.

We set off at 8 am, wading the canoe around the corner, expecting much larger rapids than proved the case. The next two rapids shown on the map were also minor and we paddled through them. The morning's air was calm and smoke-laden. The flat light and sun reflecting off the water did little to aid us in navigating this intricate section of river. And of course the bugs were outrageously numerous and kept us in our bugwear throughout the day.

The difference between a headnet day and a no headnet day was the lack of wind.

This head net has no mouth opening, but water easily passes through the netting material.

After a few smallish lakes we paddled a couple more sets of mild rapids. One rapid proved a little larger than what we would have tackled, had we scouted it first. But it was great fun! It was a sluice with a sizeable hole at the bottom followed by a series of haystacks. The canoe went into the hole and dug a bit of water coming out the back side, giving Jenny a mild drenching. In the calmer sections the fish were moiling on the surface, feeding on bugs. And in a couple places the water was just teeming with fish all around the boat.

The Kazan is growing in size, and already has become quite a respectable river. In some places the shoreline is beautiful tundra banks with small stands of isolated spruce. In others the banks are grassy, soft and lush, or sometimes a jumble of rocks covered in bright orange, green, grayish and red lichens, and at times exposed bedrock of the great Canadian shield, purportedly some of the oldest exposed rock on earth. Today's paddling was quite interesting, especially with the ambrosial fragrances coming off the sun-warmed tundra. At one point we saw another moose with a calf. We heard them first, on a small island, splashing their way noisily away from us. We caught sight of them swimming hastily from the island toward the far shore. We kept a very close eye on the map, again because the navigating was tricky. The river's current also helped show the way among the many islands.

The breeze was freshening, so at the tip of an esker we stopped on a gravel bar for bathing and laundry. This was long overdue and it felt wonderful to be clean again. Jenny washed our netting and shell clothing, and by the time I had worked out our position and figured our next heading, the clothing had dried in the breeze and was ready to put back on.

In the long strait south of Dimma Lake the water empties through a rip-roaring rapid, which we waded on the right. And here we stopped to fish. The powerful hydraulics shot out into the next lake several hundred yards. And into it we tossed the lure, letting the current sweep it far out into the lake before reeling back in. After half a dozen tries Jenny landed a whopper of a pike. The fish was much too large for supper, so after taking its picture we released it back into the water. Another half dozen tries and she landed an absolutely gorgeous lake trout about 18 inches - just what she was hoping for, and this one we kept for dinner. I cleaned it and chopped it into quarters, properly sized for the cookpot once we reached camp.

Fishing these northern waters, you never know what you might catch. But the chances are, it will be big.

This northern pike was much too large for our cookpot, so we released it back into the river.

Camp #6 on Dimma Lake

We paddled 3 or 4 more miles to Dimma Lake and made camp on the left bank. The shoreline was sandy, rock-studded, and very pretty. On this beach we found fresh boot tracks, probably those of a canoe party ahead of us. Also we found magnum sized wolf tracks - presumably no connection. The fish Jenny boiled in four batches. When the first piece was cooked, she pulled it out of the pot, set it aside in a bowl to cool, put the second piece in to cook, then pulled the meat from the bones of the first piece. And so the procedure went until all four sections were cooked and de-boned. When the flesh falls easily from the bones, then the fish is cooked properly. The broth was rich in golden fish oil, and with it Jenny made a luxurious fish chowder, with fresh onion - cooked with the fish, instant potatoes, and some instant beans. Jenny finds the beans difficult to digest, so she had stopped eating them.

Jenny cooking dinner.

The Kazan starts below tree line and flows north into the land of tundra. As much as a hundred miles north of tree line one finds small patches of stunted trees. This particular stand is mature black spruce standing about 3-1/2 feet tall. Judging by the number of whorls they are something like 30 years old.

Every day we've seen and heard loons. Today we saw two swans. They let us approach quite close. According to the guide book, our run today was 31 miles. We stopped at 7:30 pm, having put in a long but very enjoyable and rewarding day.

The story has 25 pages. This is page 6.
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