View topic - Route suggestions for Aylmer Lake to Lac de Gras

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PostPosted: April 24th, 2010, 2:23 am 

Joined: April 22nd, 2010, 5:06 am
Posts: 7
We are at the 1:250 stage of figuring out best route from Aylmer Lake to Lac de Gras . Does anyone have travel experience in this area. We can see going up Thonokied River system but do not know how much "fun" this would entail. The Jardines travelled this area a few years ago but are not taking emails currently to answer route questions.We can also see upstream travel to MacKay Lake then suggestions on how to get to the Coppermine system from there? Thanks

PostPosted: April 24th, 2010, 11:59 am 

Joined: September 29th, 2005, 5:57 pm
Posts: 572
Hi ncm-

Did you see this post?


The Shepardson group seems to have reached Afridi Lake on the Thonokied by portaging through a chain of lakes and ponds east of the Thonokied, beginning somewhere in Sandhill Bay of Aylmer Lake. The Che-Mun article referenced is on line here:

It does not provide many details.

The portage route from MacKay Lake to Lac de Gras began at the north end of MacKay Lake a couple of miles west of the outlet. It went through a couple of small lakes to the long southwest arm of Thonokied Lake, then from the northwest tip of Thonokied Lake through a series of small lakes to the far southeast corner of Lac de Gras.

A friend of mine followed this route from MacKay to Aylmer as part of a longer trip a few years back. The map at the end of this article (not the article itself) shows the general outline of the route.

There is a little bit of flow data on the Thonokied (dated now) here:

Type Thonokied in the “station name” box.

I have thought of exploring the Thonokied several times, but haven’t got there yet. If you want to send me a PM, I could get copies of the 1932 GSC portage route description scanned for you – I also have an old Preliminary Series 76C topo with them shown.

Happy planning.


PostPosted: May 4th, 2010, 8:53 am 

Joined: November 19th, 2008, 9:18 pm
Posts: 7
Hi nmc,

I'm the friend jmc talks about in the Clipper Canoes article. I can give you some detailed route info about how I got into Lac de Gras. It was following the 1932 GSC route John mentions. I have the articles from the GSC survey crew describing their route through five small lakes crossing the height of land into the Coppermine drainage.

I started my trip near Canoe Lake in the MacKay drainage and worked my way into MacKay which was still frozen solid in June - no bugs!!!

I portaged into Thonokied and from there through the five lakes into Lac de Gras which was confusing because I kept seeing a mountain on my horizon that was not shown on my 1:50K sheets. When I finally made camp at the height of land I looked a little closer with the aid of binoculars and realized I had been looking at a "mountain" of tailings from the diamond mine at Diavik.

Thonokied is a pretty stark place but as you climb into the Coppermine the scenery improves dramatically with the appearance of many eskers.

send me a pm if you would like some more details.


PostPosted: May 17th, 2010, 9:58 pm 

Joined: January 22nd, 2005, 12:16 pm
Posts: 3916
Location: Toronto
Another Thonokied trip:
Fort Resolution, Lockhart, Pike's, Clinton-Colden, Alymer, Lac de Gras; return.
Guy Blanchet, The Beaver, Autumn 1964, pp 34-41.
I expect that the trip took place well before 1964 though.
I don't know that the accompanying map shows any more than present topos.
Blanchet refers to Lac de Gras as the source of the Coppermine; Toporama disagrees.

Blanchet calls it "Hearne's Thonokied Lake".


A literal mind is a little mind. If it's not worth doing to excess, it's not worth doing at all. Good enough isn't.  None are so blind as those who choose not to see. (AJ)

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