Canoeing Coppermine River & Pikes Portage

Yellowknife to Arctic Ocean

Northern Paddling Adventure #8

39 days, 960 miles, Jul-Aug 2005

Ray & Jenny Jardine

2005-07-24 page 19 of 40

Day 19 - Clinton-Colden Lake

It was still darkish and very early in the morning when Jenny sat up to check the time. At night in the tent we keep the wristwatch hanging from the ceiling. It was too dark to read the numbers so she hit the light button. And that is when the watch battery went dead. No spare. When preparing our gear we included a spare for just this contingency, but the watch's battery had died just before leaving, and we installed the spare. Once again the ol' adage: "don't bring old gear to the Arctic." So now we have to turn on our gps ("geepus junior") to find out what time it is.

We spend the entire morning paddling far from land, point to point across deep bays.


We set off at 5 am with a light headwind out of the northwest. We spend the entire morning paddling far from land, point to point across deep bays. Usually 1.5 miles point to point. The wind gradually built and by mid morning we were paddling in whitecaps, headwinds, bouncing up and down in the waves.

We pulled into a protected bight and found it was shallow and unbelievably packed with jagged rocks. We spent some time trying to get ashore, to land the canoe safely. We finally gave up and paddled another half mile across open water, directly into the wind.


We landed at 10:45 am again in another small bight, just behind an esker with a steep face that dropped into the Clinton-Colden Lake. Instead of paddling around the point, we made a 75-yard portage to the esker's sand and gravel beach. The sun had come out and we went for a nice hike to the top of the esker. We had panoramic views of the lake and the tundra.

At the top of the esker. Note the canoe.



We pitched the tent on the beach and enjoyed a couple hours nap.

Jenny had lost my plastic spoon, so she presented me with these alternatives. Humm... tough choice.

We pitched the tent on the beach and enjoyed a couple hours nap. Jenny had dropped my plastic spoon in the lake earlier, and we had watched it sink slowly into the depths. So on the beach she found a spoon-shaped rock which I used for lunch.


The wind began to abate so we set off again, and paddled 1.5 miles northwest to a round, prominent island. The wind picked up again, still northwest. We paddled north, then rounded island and at its northeast corner we paddled north-northeast 2 miles in heavy seas to a cluster of three small islands, and then north-northeast one mile to the mainland.


It began to get dark, due to the heavy cloud cover. Most of these clouds held rain and we had several brief rain spats. In a few more miles it was getting difficult to see where we were going, so at 9 pm we stopped on a beautiful, wide slab or rock and made camp up on the tundra.



Today we had seen lots of ducks, geese and terns.

29 miles, x hours. Camp #19: UTM 13W 0373327 7099860 Map 75O (75 Oh)


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