Contents
  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

2001-07-16 page 7 of 25

Day 7

Clouds built during the night and we awoke to complete overcast and a few sprinkles. The wind was southeast at 10 knots. We set off at 7:30 am and followed the left (west) shoreline of Dimma Lake. These shores were lined with rocks and willow, with the occasional sandy cove or rocky cut bank. Along the way we saw eight swans, including one pair with two or three cygnets. The male stayed somewhat with us, baiting us with a cackling meant to say: "chase me" while the female of course ushered her cygnets away at top speed. Twice, a young loon landed near, as though bring a heartening message. So far on the trip we have seen no caribou, although we've seen their tracks on just about every piece of available land.

At the outlet of Dimma Lake we passed to river right of a large island, then kept to the right shore for protection from an increasing wind. From there we wound our way through the channel to the next lake 279 (depth shown on the map), which we called Middle Upper Dimma, jokingly, because to us the whole Dimma system seemed like one big, long lake. The sky blackened and twice we were chased into our rain jackets with passing rain showers. But for the most part the day was pleasant - cool, and sometimes windy enough to keep the bugs away, but usually not quite. Such a wind speed we estimate at about 15 knots. Anything less and the bugs will attempt it; anything higher is an obvious bane to them and they will not budge from their tundra shelters.



Throughout the afternoon we kept to the right shore, paddling the length of Middle Upper and on into the next one which we called Upper Upper Dimma Lake. The northeast side of this lake was festooned with islands. The lake was generally deep, but shallow in places with isolated patches of rocks. Navigation was a little tricky because both the islands and the shoreline were generally very low lying, and the diffused light from a gray sky tended to meld everything together as one. We find this light condition quite straining to the eyes and fatiguing to the mind, hour after hour.



The lakes were all very high on their waterlines, as indicated by the shoreline willow standing in water. The Kazan river feeding these lakes is high. We reached this lake's outlet and easily paddled the first two sets of rapids shown on the map. Then we plied a mile or so of river, looking for a campsite. Finally we found one on the left bank, where the spongy tundra made for a very comfortable bed. Overall it was a great day of lake paddling, and we were very pleased with our progress.

Camp #7

Typically when reaching camp we unload the canoe and carry our bags of gear up to camp, arm-full at a time, followed by the canoe itself. The canoe is not just our means of travel, it is our very means of survival. We keep it close to us at all times, never leaving it down by the water for mere expediency's sake. At camp we weight it down with heavy gear bags and if needed a few ponderous rocks. Where possible we also secure its painter to immoveable rocks. That done, right away Jenny starts cooking while I pitch the tent and secure it against any tempest or impending one. Then I pile the tent-specific gear bags close to the tent door. These contain items needed in the tent - things like the sleeping pads and quilt, clothing bags, and so forth.

Typically, I would enter the tent and right away Jenny would hand me the bags. Then I would spend the next 15 or 20 minutes annihilating the bugs that had followed both me and the bugs inside the tent, and cleaning up the carnage. Getting the gear into the tent took two people to minimize the number bugs admitted. When Jenny was finished cooking she organized the food bags, put the stove away, put the food bags back into the canoe, then piled into the tent. Meaning another 15 minute round of bug clean-up. Finally we could relax, pull off our sweaty clothes, and eat dinner in peace. Later when the evening cooled off, usually around 9 pm, we change into sleeping clothes, wrote in the journal, and then the next thing we knew is was time to get up and do it all again.

We tended to enter the tent only once a day, and exited only once a day. Stepping out for a midnight pee was flatly out of the question, with the blood-thirsty bugs hovering about in uncountable numbers. Instead we used the boat bailer, kept within easy reach just outside the tent. At our first camp of the trip we had unthinkingly left the bailer on its side, and when later we brought it into the tent we were aghast to find thousands of black flies sheltered within. After that we were careful to keep the bailer inverted and pressed to the ground. During the day we also used the bailer afloat so that we did not have to expose ourselves to the bugs ashore. As mentioned, we tried to stay as far from land as was safe and practical, minimizing our bug exposure. And we took as few shore breaks as possible, for the same reason. Today we took no shore breaks, paddling 35 miles in 11 hours.

The story has 25 pages. This is page 7.
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