Canoeing Coppermine River & Pikes Portage

Yellowknife to Arctic Ocean

Northern Paddling Adventure #8

39 days, 960 miles, Jul-Aug 2005

Ray & Jenny Jardine

2005-08-02 page 28 of 40

Day 28 - Point Lake

We awoke to a cloudy sky with the wind from the northeast at about 8 knots. We set off at 7 am. We expected the portage to be marshy and very brushy. We chose the right side. Surprisingly, the willow gave way in only 50 feet. The rest of the 200 yard portage was fairly easy going.

Thrashing through the willow.

Paddling a couple miles on the small lake, we reached Obstruction Rapids which again we portaged on the right. Once through the dense willows it was easy going, and in about 20 minutes we reached paddle-able water again. This was a short section of calm river, then we pulled out at the gnarly section to portage it. This part was along the river bank, easy for the first half, rocky for the second half. Along the way was saw two large piles of bear scat.

At the bottom of the rapids I tossed out the fishing lure, the 2-segmented barbless minnow. My first cast is normally an easy trial, it doesn't go very far out. The second cast I slung it way out there, let it drift just a bit, and had a fish. While reeling it in, another fish followed. Quite a wrestling match ensued.

As I was landing the fish over the rocks, the hook came free and the fish got away. This did not disappoint me in the slightest because it meant more fishing fun. I threw the lure out again and in a couple seconds had another fish. This one put up an enormous fight. But when I finally brought it ashore, I was surprised to see it was quit small, maybe 18 inches. This one got away too, while I was trying to haul it ashore. No disappointment there either. The next cast I let the lure drift down and was feeling disappointed having reeled it most of the way back in with no strike. I thought perhaps the fish had all been alerted and they were no longer biting.

Then suddenly I had another one. This time I was more careful landing it. Again the lure fell out of its mouth, but by then it was on the dry rocks and was not going to get away. It measured 28 inches. I cleaned and sectioned it, and put the chunks in a plastic bag.

Fish Identification Paddle. Yep, what I caught looks like a fish alright.

On the handle of the Fish Identification Paddle we painted marks that were even more useful. Looks like 26 inches.

So much for the fun time. Now we had some real work to do in the form of major headwinds and seas. It was a windy day on Point Lake. The winds were out of the northeast and we were generally heading north. We crossed the narrow winding lake many times, short cutting the zig-zagging channel, which on average was about 1.5 miles wide. Then the lake opened wide and larger waves started rolling in. It would have been a great day to make an early camp, but the season is growing late and we need to keep moving.

Today was marginal. Without the spray cover we would not have been able to be out on the water paddling today. At least not in safety. In this area there are a great many beautiful low lying rock slab islands. Behind one of these we stopped to collect our equilibrium after a huge downpour of rain.

This storm cell moved on so we continued ahead. And while rounding the first major point to the northeast we found ourselves in huge clapitus. It was very amusing to watch Jenny bouncing up and down so hard, in fact almost dizzying. But of course I was doing the same.

We paddled another hour. We had started a 3-mile crossing in calmer conditions, but another storm cell began materializing and moving toward us, so we turned 90 degrees to the left and paddled south to a point of land. There, on a beautiful slab about 8 feet above the water, we stopped at 6:00PM to make camp.

Not fishing, but pitching the tent on the rock slab.

Jenny cooked tonight's dinner of fish chowder, which was delicious. And also tomorrow's breakfast of corn grits. This fish contained maybe a couple dozen (plus or minus) peas-sized, cream-colored cysts. Probably parasites of some sort. All of the fish we've eaten so far has had these, but this one had more than the others. The cysts are cooked along with the fish, and of course this kills them. They are lumpy so we spit them out. But anyway, after cooking they are very unlikely cause harm.

One of Jenny's wader boots shows small bubbles all around the sole rim. After so much use, both in the canoe and portaging, we suspect that the upper fabric on both of our boots is not as waterproof any more. Both of our socks are always damp.

26 miles, 11 hours. Camp #28: UTM 12W 0430873 7228563 Map 86H

The story has 40 pages. This is page 28.
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