Snow Bunting Lake, Quoich River, Ketyet River and Baker Lake

CanadaNunavutHudson
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Brian Johnston
Trip Date : 
2019
Additional Route Information
Distance: 
430 km
Duration: 
22 days
Loop Trip: 
No
Portage Information
Longest Portage: 
0 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Advanced
Lake Travel: 
Intermediate
Portaging: 
Moderate
Remoteness: 
Advanced
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Unknown
Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 

Air Charter Bake Lake to Snow Bunting Lake.

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

 

Snow Bunting Lake, Quoich River, Ketyet River and Baker Lake Trip Report, July 2019

The 430 km canoe trip, which spanned 3 weeks, can be summarized by the following paragraph. 

Starting at Snow Bunting Lake, we paddled marathon distances down the West branch of the Quoich River. Ten days in, we portaged into the unknown Ketyet River. This river was an exploratory route that took us through jagged headwater ponds and down long finger lakes banked by tight contour lines. We were challenged by steep rapids on the Ketyet River, shown as dozens of tightly spaced rapid bars on our maps. It was also on the Ketyet River that our urgency and rapid pace slowed. On Baker Lake, it seemed we had all the time in the world as we paddled surprisingly placid waters back to our starting point at the community of Baker Lake.   

Image, GE 2019 route overview no legend

But of course, there was so much more to it. Here is the remainder of the tale. 

The start of our 2019 trip, in the central Arctic of the Nunavut Territory, was thwarted by commercial air travel delays. Next we started farther upstream than expected due to the air charter company picking out the furthest upstream landing site I had spied on the map. Ahead lay our plans, a crossing a height of land and a first canoe descent of a minor river, both full of unknowns. Add to that a human error that we did not yet know about but that I take full responsibility for it. 

The good news was that the entire trip, from home start to finish, was all within the same time zone so there would be no jet lag. We would be chartering the same turbo single otter airplane as last year but this year we were fortunate to share the air charter, in theory, saving us some cash. The lakes were still mostly iced over but our route featured many miles of river before encountering lakes so we were confident in our expectation of ice free conditions. The exploration nature of canoeing the Ketyet River, a river not known to have been canoed before, meant we would be adding to the wilderness canoe tripping body of knowledge. 

Although we experienced rain on something like 90% of the days we had no extreme temperatures, not too hot nor freezing cold. I only twice wore an extra sweater, never a warm hat nor mitts. We never had to seek out shade or were forced out of the tent due to the greenhouse effect, no bake oven or sauna tent experiences. 

Image, Pre and Post rain

Our route was 435 km from the headwaters to the hamlet of Baker Lake. The river started small but surely built to a powerful river flow with a velocity of concern. By the time we came to portage watersheds we were trail hardened and ready for some leg exercise. As we revealed the unknowns of the Ketyet River it was all that we could have hoped for. The narrow and small river was a welcome change from the powerful Quoich River. There was scenic vistas in its long finger shaped lakes banked with 5 contour lines as well as river challenges to stay on top off—a rapid drop or descent, with a dozen rapid bars within a mile and 2 dozen rapid bars in 1.5 miles. In the end, the river released us to Baker Lake, shoreline paddling. Overall, after a slow start—rock filled shallow headwaters—there was pressure to our pace, epic mileage days of 40 plus km, until we figured out the map distance error. The result was a relaxing finish. 

Image, Ketyet River map rapid bars

I made a notational error while marking the map to-go distances. From my journal, “I made the distance error. On the map I wrote 115 km then 220 km instead of 120 km. Hence all the distance markers on the map higher than 115 km are 100 km too big.”

 

Preamble

Originally we had explored Alaska river trips along with two other people and had come up with Sheenjek or Coleen River followed by a shuttle to the Marsh Fork of the Canning River but in the end the other two paddlers both pulled out. 

We were left back at initial trip planning stages again. We explored routes options out of Rankin Inlet, such as the Diana River but we were challenged to find a suitable canoe route. 

I knew someone who had already booked a single boat air charter with Ookpik Aviation. His plan was to paddle the Hayes River from Walker Lake north to Pelly Bay. The plane wasn’t full. If we shared his air charter there were options—possibilities like the Hayes River to Chantrey Inlet, Kellett River to Pelly Bay, Arrowsmith River to Pelly Bay, Quoich River (the middle branch from Laughland Lake or the western branch starting at Snow Bunting Lake), or Lorillard River to Chesterfield. A fallback plan was a Baker to Baker loop such as Pitz Lake to Princess Mary and down the Kunwak and Kazan Rivers. 

We settled on starting at Snow Bunting Lake, the western branch of the Quoich River,  with a unique detour or crossover to the Ketyet River, following it to Jigging Point on Baker Lake. Our backup plan was the no fly option Baker to Baker loop—Pitz Lake, Princess Mary Lake, Kunwak and Kazan Rivers.

My canoe tripping partner wrote, “Apart from the overland crossings from the Quoich to the Ketyet, there will be a challenging section on the Ketyet beginning above the 40 m contour down to the 20 m contour - a distance of about 1.85 miles.  That works out to be a drop of about 39 ft. per mile.  Parts of it looks like continuous rapids, but there are ponds and parts may be runnable.  I suspect we'll be portaging in there somewhere.  Otherwise the Ketyet looks to have rapids a few other places mainly at contour crossings or the run-out into Baker Lake.”

Image, Lining

On Google Earth the most logical Quoich-Ketyet connection is obvious—there is a conceptual straightforward, visual water route of real sized lakes, a reasonably short distance between the two rivers, and it positions us sufficiently downstream of the Ketyet River headwaters such that we should avoid the headwater challenges of no water. 

The Ketyet River cuts off mileage and shortens the distance to Baker Lake hamlet plus avoids tidal issues of Chesterfield Inlet. Besides, I had canoed that section before whereas the Ketyet River was all new territory to us. 

It was the end of June. I’m home late from backpacking the Chilkoot trail and then visiting with family over supper. Next was wash clothes, fully unpack from the hiking trip. Canoe trip gear laid out. Out for supper to a friends place. Back home to have a neighbour sleep over because he’s renovating his place. 

It’s Canada Day. A slow morning visiting with my neighbour and then packing my canoe tripping gear and food pack. On the road at half one pm bound for the city to meet my tripping partner. From 3 to 6 pm we exchanged items, packed up 6 fifty pound packs and looked at maps before we ate supper. 

Tuesday July 2, Day 1

Up early at half four am. There was a long check in lineup—we learn that yesterday’s flight was cancelled. Oh that explains the long lineup. We each pay for extra baggage.

Going through security, my Goal Zero battery pack caught their attention but was okay. Flight delayed one hour due to weather in Rankin Inlet. 

Image, Airport, the long lineup.

The flight left as stated, one hour delayed. There was a hot or cold simple breakfast on board. Flight staff put on aprons to serve—a nice touch. It’s a Calm Air flight that is operated by First Air. Jet service, Winnipeg to Rankin Inlet. 

We are in Churchill waiting for the 11:00 o’clock weather update....

Sounds like we are going onward to Rankin Inlet. A cookie and pretzels. Both are better with a cup of tea. At Rankin Inlet we go down and back up without landing. Poor visibility. Heading back to Winnipeg.

It’s a slow process collecting baggage and rebooking flights but fast through security and to the gate with boarding in progress. Then we waited for everyone to board. Getting ready to push back from the gate, it’s after five pm. Hopefully better weather in Rankin Inlet this time for landing. 

The ceiling was extremely low in Rankin Inlet but we ended up on the ground. I heard the plane was carrying parts to repair another plane Rankin so there was pressure to land. 

We were told the plan was to fly Rankin Inlet to Churchill to Baker Lake. A weird plan. Then our bags were unloaded from the jet and appeared on the baggage carousel. Our Churchill Baker Lake flight was off. New options were presented: overnight Rankin Inlet or Churchill or Winnipeg. We called Nanuq Lodge. Page Burt had a couple of single rooms. Decision made, we are staying in Rankin Inlet. 

Plan is tomorrow, a 9 am flight to Baker Lake. 

At Nanuq Lodge, there was a good selection of used books in the hallway, which I assume is a give and take library for guests. Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes, The Book of Awesome, In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, etc. All my books for this trip are ebooks on my iPhone but it was encouraging to see a diverse collection of paper books. 

Image, Nanuq Lodge books

We have stayed at Nanuq Lodge before and met Page years ago at Bathurst Inlet Lodge. Page invited us to join John and her for supper. She had spaghetti cooking. 

In the end, the plane never left Rankin that night. The flight crew arrived at Nanuq Lodge after midnight. Passengers going to Churchill or returning to Winnipeg ended up overnighting at the airport terminal. Hotels fully booked. We made the right call. 

Day 2 Continental breakfast. The rooms were $210. Her husband John Hickes dropped us off at the airport. Our six packs had spent the night in their Suburban SUV. 

Flight delayed from 9 am to 10:55 am. Weather conditions looking better than yesterday.  Mechanical issue. Saw the ATR 42 go out for a test flight. 

Last night our options were stay here or Churchill or Winnipeg. We made the right decision, staying closer to our final destination but at our own expense. As it turned out the jet never left and the flight crew arrived at two am where we were staying. 60 extra people in town waiting. Several passengers spent the night at the airport. Lights off at four am for a few hours. 

We walked to the Home Hardware to buy vinyl repair glue for the canoe. Successful. Cold wet wind. Welcome to the North. 

At the airport, I spotted Peter the Conservation Officer from Chesterfield Inlet who flew in to the Lorillard River while we were paddling it. His wife remembered buying our kitchen tent from one of the group members. 

At some point during the day, our air charter party of two arrived from Yellowknife. Their flight yesterday overflew Rankin Inlet continuing onward to Iqaluit and then all the way back to Yellowknife. Too much fog at Rankin because of ice and open water. They too had a long day of flying but didn’t get far. It would a nice bonus if the airlines rewarded you with airmiles points for the actual distance travelled when they fly you from Winnipeg to Rankin Inlet back to Winnipeg and Rankin Inlet again. 

When we finally left it was after four pm. The forty five minute flight seemed really fast. By half five we were in Baker Lake. Helen and Boris of Baker Lake Lodge met us. 

We are staying in cabin 2 at Baker Lake Lodge. Dave the cook is back. Year ten. 

Helen kindly drove us to the gas station, at the other end of town, for White gas/stove fuel. Bought 4 gallon cans, $8 each. Two each for each party. 

Then to the Nunamiut hotel for supper. The Igloo Inn wasn’t serving non guests. 

Walked back. No dusty road because it’s wet mud. Baker Lake has a community banking centre of the First Nations Bank of Canada (FNBC). 

Much warmer and nicer weather and temperatures here than the wet coastal conditions of Rankin Inlet. We were chilled all day waiting at the Rankin Inlet airport. I read until ten. Much noise—ATV, traffic, etc. Similar to last night. And the night before in Winnipeg. I’m not used to the city noises. 

Day 3 I woke to vehicles and septic tank trucks pumping out. Slept longer than expected. 

We walked back to Nunamuit for breakfast. It got warm in their solarium. Out the door I chatted with Water Resources Survey Canada. A couple of guys from Yellowknife are out checking water-gauging stations on the Back, Meadowbank, Thelon and Dubawnt rivers. 

Up hill and slightly east to the Wildlife office. There Russell the CO lent us bear spray. 

A beautiful day. Warm sun. Light breeze. Only the odd mosquito. The Northern Store has been renovated since I last was in it. There is a full gluten free section as well as a foreign food section. 

Back to our cabin to repack for the river. Pulled various canoe and paddle stuff to add to the Pakcanoe bag. Speaking of Pakcanoes, I read about their warehouse fire last night online. 

We also moved and switched items between Tent and Annex packs. Likewise for the two food packs. Our packs morphed from flight baggage at 50 pounds each to functional canoe tripping packs with no real concern for weight restrictions. 

The other party arrived a couple hours late from Rankin Inlet but arriving here is good. Three of their packs were withheld because the plane was overweight. Their remaining baggage is due to arrive on this evening’s flight. 

More reading and napping. I can hear birds as well as all the unwanted noise of the hamlet. Did my Seven app exercises. Had showers. I washed my shirt. 

We cooked a supper of Gnocchi with sauce and rum with lemonade. 9 pm finished cleaning up. More reading our books. Traffic. Vehicles. ATVs. Birds. Kids on bikes. 

Day 4 Up to more septic pump out noise. We inquire about our half one pm air charter departure time. It is now pushed back to half two. At 3:13 pm we are off. Mike is the pilot. First we fly to a known old strip at Walker Lake. Five pm ready to depart Walker Lake. We are North of the Arctic Circle. Next stop is Snow Bunting Lake.

Image, Iced lakes en route

Six pm we are on an esker near Snow Bunting Lake, albeit two days late! Mosquitoes! The pilot was heading back to an exploration camp because he’s flying their drill rig around. 

Image, Pakboat, wheeled Single Otter

We are near the Quoich River but there ain’t much water at the headwaters. We carry our gear and stage it, and start to make Camp—Mantis shelter goes up. My trip mate unpacks supper items as I trek to the nearest tundra pond for water. Rain. I get wet. Cocktails with leftover airline pretzels, then Spaghetti, sauce, mushrooms, olives (!), shaker cheese. 8 pm. Rainbows. More rain. Dishes. A piece of crystallized ginger each. Nine pm. Double rainbow. 

Image, Olives!

Rain. We wait. We heard a sandhill crane. A familiar sound of the North, akin to a loon call. Tent still needs to be put up. Once up it’s like a new tent as we rediscover my tripping partner’s tent—we used my tent last year. 

Surprisingly I can hear the river rapid. Unfortunately by our sight from the esker top, there’s insufficient water to float our boat. It’s like a babbling brook, water over stones is making all the noise. 

Finished my book, The Year Of The Flood by Margaret Atwood. Up next, the last book in the trilogy. 

Distance made good: 0 km. Distance to go: 428.5 km

Day 5 but let’s restart at day 1, first full day on the river

I waited for my trip mate to wake. It was eight am. Beautiful day. Sun with clouds. Wind. Ice on the lake. Open water on the river. Rock filled shallow rapids. We are walking after breakfast—portaging to the river and charging my iPhone by solar panel. 

Image, Esker landing portage to river

We staged gear, still on the esker, overlooking the remaining portage and assembled the Pakcanoe. Lots of mosquitoes. No black flies. 

Mountain Avens, Arctic heather, cotton grass, cranberries (I ate a couple of small ones), Labrador tea lemon scent. It’s nice to be back on the tundra. 

Another stage forward. Then lunch followed by the third and final stage to the river. Shallow. Current. Rocks. We slowly made progress. Some one-footing required. 

Image, Looking for water

More shallow slow moving current with rocks. Class I rapids. We make a confluence at 524 km to go to Baker Lake. Sand river bottom. Not very deep. 

Error, 524 km should be 424 km.

Image, Too many rocks in current 

Musk ox then caribou then a couple of musk oxen butting heads. 

A very shallow and rock drainage enters river right at km 520 (error, should read 420 km). Then several more powerful rapids. We scout and run all but the biggest. It has a large drop like ledge with huge hole. Definitely not running. We line the canoe river left to the drop and do a short portage. Time to look for a camping spot. It’s after five pm. 

We camp river right below a rapid. Straight forward big V. In camp we continue to get organized. Move wallet and 110 volt phone charger into the Annex. Also the Pakcanoe duffel bag finds a place in the Annex pack. 

By seven pm we are enjoying cocktails, mixing cheddar garlic biscuit mix. A sea of heather White bells flowers carpet the tundra campsite. 

We calculated our daily required distance. It’s a big scary number. 519 km in 18 days. Basically we spent extra time getting to Baker Lake and then waiting for the other party and their last bags as well as not being Ookpik’s top priority. Then Ookpik decided that the landing option was farther upstream than our first three choices. The end result is fewer days to paddle more distance. We are looking at 30 km a day. I’m concerned. Error, it was 419 km/18 days = 23.3 km/day. 

Nine pm seven app exercises done. Into the tent. I need to be better at charging my iPhone. It’s at 40% charged. Time to journal, read and sleep. By morning the iPhone will be in the red. 

Distance made good: 9 km. Distance to go: 418 km

Day 2 Seven, we rise. Oatmeal. Last night three holes appear in the Mantis kitchen shelter—a little animal critter. This is very usually. In fact, I don’t think it’s ever happened before to my Mantis shelter. 

Rapid, lift over then line river right. Peregrine nesting. Geese. Loons. 

Lunch at noon, river right, 505 km (error 405 km) to go. Warm. Mosquitoes. Very light wind. Partly cloudy. Wee bit of snow here and there. Lake like paddling. Sandy river bottom. 

On and off rain and winds as clouds and micro systems pass. We donned rain jackets but no rain pants. It’s warm enough to get a bit wet. 

Left side of island was a rock filled channel. Right side had a wee bit of current. 

Three linked continuous rapids ending in a boulder fan. Then an unmarked rapid at where there is rock symbols on the map at kilometre 490 (error 390 km). 

Later afternoon rapids were all easy, we ran them “read and run” style. We had a “let’s camp at six pm” deadline. Easy rapids late in the day were welcomed. 

Epic day!

Half seven pm, minestrone soup with bannock. Cocktails half done. Solar charging the battery pack. 

Image, Bannock

Half nine pm. Tired eyes. Light rain on the tent. Strong winds blowing upriver. Early to bed. 

Distance made good: 39 km. Distance to go: 380 km

Day 3 Have yet to zip up my sleeping bag but last night was cooler. Woke early to wind and no brightness. The sun is not warming the tent. 

A slow cook breakfast. Wind blowing upstream. Gusts creating the odd whitecaps as they push and drive the water back up river. Some rain as well. We are going nowhere until the wind drops. It maybe a wind-bound day. 

I pull out my trip mate’s next book out of the Annex pack. The final Red Sparrow trilogy volume. Nine am reading in the tent. Nap, nap, nap. My Polar watch records 14 hours and 50 minutes of Resting—sleep and rest, lying down. Sleep from 10 pm to 7 am and then a long nap from 10 am to 2 pm. 

It’s two pm. Time to venture out into the driving wind and rain. Soup. Grilled cheese sandwiches. Hot drinks. 

Five pm. Still overcast, windy but the rain has just stopped. More reading. 

Reading. Chilled hands, nose and feet unless I’m in my sleeping bag. So I nap again until my buddy awakes at seven pm. Time for supper. Pesto pasta with finely chopped walnuts. Not drinking evening tea. Less need to exit the tent to pee. A little less wind and rain but still got wet drops off the Mantis. My trip mate pulled long underwear etc. from the Annex pack. I wore my extra fleece top while reading in the tent and for supper in the Mantis. 

Distance made good: 0 km. Distance to go: 380 km

Day 4 It was a grey day, from when I opened the tent door until we settled in for the night. 

The wind was down. Still windy but we could paddle and make good headway. Rain and mist for most of the day. Full rain gear, neoprene gloves and mitts. We put the spray deck on the canoe. 

Image, Rain on the water

Ran all the rapids except one where we did a very short line river left at a boulder fan because we were chilled and wet. There was a centre line through. 

Long tail ducks and eagles. 

It was difficult to see through the moisture on our eyeglasses. 

Lunch on an island before a rapid after my tripping partner navigated us the wrong way into a side channel by accident. 

Tired. We camped short of six pm because of the wind and our tiredness. Nevertheless a grand day of distance considering the conditions. 

When I unpacked the big green tent pack my Therm-a-rest pump was on. It’s not turning off? Pulling the batteries I see the lid is cracked and it’s the lid that activates the pump. 

No rain nor mist during supper. Cocktails with hot and sweet nut mix. Authentic heart-warming split pea soup by Alessi Spaccarelli Sicilian. Bannock. Sauerkraut. Ginger. Before nine pm we are snug in our sleeping bags reading. 

Distance made good: 33 km. Distance to go: 347 km

Day 5 Overcast and cool. We exit the tent with rain gear. Light wind. Breakfast. On the water at nine am. 

We make good progress san wind. Some mist. We stop for a granola bar about half eleven am. Lunch river right at one pm in the rain but it stops raining while we are eating. 

More distance to paddle. We run all the rapids. Today there are also several unmarked rapids. Temperature warms then cools. Threatening dark clouds but they keep ahead of us. We see a musk oxen river right. Then sand beaches—the Ookpik landing site that Wanapitei Canoe used once. 

We camp just after five pm. An okay site. Good canoe landing and exposure to keep the bugs at bay but the tenting site is marginal. We took notice that there are more dark clouds rolling in so we are motivated to camp. 

Image, Rain Mantis

Tent, dry footwear, Mantis, warm cocktails. Solar charging. Mosquitoes—head nets. First time in days for sun, solar and mosquitoes. Some rain. Then more sun. Next time we get sun and a drying wind I’m washing clothes and body. Our bodies and outfits are humid and in need of washing. 

Coleslaw, chili, bannock. Ginger. 

We continue to try to make distance as we have a long way to go in limited days. 

Reading at nine pm. Rain clouds nearly overhead. Wind increasing. Now rain falling at half nine pm. Changed out camera battery. A warmer night

Distance made good: 43 km. Distance to go: 303 km

Day 6 Mosquitoes. Plentiful. Granola. We have more granola than oatmeal. Light rain. On the water at nine am. Our usual time. 

Slight stern quarter wind. Pesky mosquitoes on our lee side. Flat water paddling. Musk ox. Then rapids. More river with rapids. Ran everything. More musk oxen. Groups of three to five musk ox as well as lone bulls. Eagle. Loon. Lunch on Shield rock, wind, no mosquitoes. 

There is a white wolf where we camped at half five pm. I washed clothes and bathed. Airing out my sleeping bag. Mostly cloudy but clearing as we set up our camp. Good drying wind. Solar charging a camera battery. 

The other party on the Hayes River message by Inreach. All is well with them. 

Nightly we have been toasting our fellow canoe trippers. “hot food.” “favourable tripping partners.” We have also been toasting to unknown Arctic canoe trippers, “fair winds.”

Nine pm. Into the tent after warm cocktails, pistachio nuts, spaghetti, ginger. Less sun and wind. More mosquitoes. 

We continue to push hard, paddle if we can, over thirty kilometres a day, from nine to six, although today had us camping at half five pm. Still undecided as to what to do—rebook our flights later—how long will our food last?, hire a pickup on Baker Lake by air or boat?

Our evening routine post cocktails, nuts, supper, clean up, etc. is to be in the tent by nine pm for an hour of reading. 

Distance made good: 29 km. Distance to go: 265 km

Day 7 Up a bit late after seven. Rain gear. Granola. On the water at nine, our usual time. 

Bugs for bit until we turned and no longer created a lee for the mosquitoes. Flat water and rapids. Eagle flying. 

At eleven am we miss judged a rapid. We switch paddling positions each day. Today my partner is in the bow and I’m in the stern. Usually I stand when paddling bow to get a better visual assessment of the rapids. We failed to fully grasp the situation. It looked like an overflow channel to river right. We took the next channel left of the overflow but right of the main course. In fact the overflow was too shallow and our route choice was too steep and rocky. A better route would have been slightly more left in deeper water with fewer rocks. Anyhow we hit a rock forward of centre on the right, and stopped our canoe. In the end, the bow paddler got wet, the bow filled with water and I managed to get the stern going forward. Surprisingly I could pull my end upstream. With a rock just aft the bow seat we should have been able to slide off backwards but our trim is always bow heavy when I stern. Off the rock and to shore we go. One pinky sized hole to patch. My trip mate changed out some wet clothes and we patched the canoe letting it dry while we had lunch in the Mantis. Onward. Lesson learned. I need to stand to scout regardless of my paddling position bow or stern. 

Winds. On and off dark rain clouds. Two friendly caribou. Camped river left at six pm. Our daily kilometre rate of thirty km done. Nice tundra topped ground with sand underneath. Next rapid within sight. Mosquitoes were out as we moved after supper from Mantis to tent. 

Distance made good: 30 km. Distance to go: 235 km

Day 8 Windy. Partly cloudy. More so than past days. So far lots of daily rain compared to past Arctic canoe trips. 

Hitting the rock yesterday has us concerned about whitewater. 

Portage. Something we’ve not done much this trip. Right at the right hand turn—Falls. Carried river right. We ran out the lower section. Bald eagle. 

Very strong northwest winds. Slow progress. Much work to make headway into the wind. Ate our granola bar snack early, a sign of our efforts. 

Lunch river left on granite between rain showers. Heavier rains today. 

Musk oxen. Eight. Tiny new calf. 

It’s slow going into the strong headwind. We found little lee along the shoreline. Camped river right between rapids, early before half four pm. Concerned about rapids and dark rain clouds. It rained but not much. The dark clouds dissipated. Mantis up. Hot cocktails. Tent up. Canoe secured. Dry feet. 

A couple of time we were concerned about the dark clouds and wondered about camping but the dark clouds had the habit of dissipating. 

Solar charging. Annotating Maps. Journal entries. Rehydrating rice, corn, beans, salsa. Cutting cheese. Tortillas. Tea. First cup of my evening tea! Never much sun for solar charging. Gained half a light bar on Goal Zero Venture 30 battery pack. Best to through charge my iPhone (using the battery pack in conjunction with the solar panel) because if the sun and clouds come and go the iPhone starts charging but then stops and doesn’t restart charging with only the solar panel. 

Going to look into rebooking flights because our flight delays and our drop off/starting location was further upstream thus our daily distance of 28 kilometres is a concern. 

Eight pm into the tent. More time tonight for Atwood’s book MaddAddam. 

It’s ten pm. No blue. All clouds. Of course still bright daylight. 

Distance made good: 25 km. Distance to go: 210 km

Day 9 We picked the right canoe route this year—starting with a river sans lakes, because it’s been a late start to the open water season—many lakes with ice. Also a high water year. Shoreline willows sticking out of the water. That maybe because it’s a late spring/summer start. 

Image, high water into the willows

Another morning of waterproofs—wearing our rain jackets and pants. Strong northwest winds. A bit lighter wind speeds than yesterday. Have we had a day yet without rain?

We made good progress with our SW river direction. Ran many rapids. Good current. Lunch within sight of the Tehert River confluence. Caribou river left. 

Moving faster after lunch. Stronger current and more of a tailwind. Demanding steering conditions. No rain after lunch! Mostly overcast. Unmarked rapids. Pushy water. The Quoich River has gained volume. 

Used my old canoeing tripping partner’s technique of both paddling on the same side. It worked well and saved me from drawing water hard on the upwind side, which would have led to burnout. 

Camped near the 90-metre contour line at five pm. We are beat. Sun. Solar charging. Mosquitoes in the lee. With all the winds and cooler temperatures we haven’t had to use our head nets much. Musk ox on the ridge. In the tent before nine pm. Still sunny!

Distance made good: 41 km. Distance to go: 169 km

Day 10 The sky was partly cloudy but I solar charged the Inreach gaining a dozen percent of charge. 

Solo caribou. 

Ice. On the river’s shoreline. No doubt from an ice jam. It was up on the gravel shoreside. 

Image, Quoich riverside ice

Mosquitoes. Little relative wind. My trip mate head netted up. I toughed it out. 

We are half way, distance wise, done or left to go. 

Much current in the early morning. Caribou. Bull with antlers up on the cliff ridge. 

Image, Caribou

Ran rapids. No rain until after 11:00 o’clock this morning. 

More ice and lunch up on a massive pushed up boulder ridge—we are trying to find wind to keep the bugs away during lunch! We ended up with our backs into the wind. 

Image, Leaving the Quoich River. Looking Eastward. 

We made the turn, leaving a perfectly good river, in fact a racecourse, to explore overland and the Ketyet River. What will it hold?

Image, Starting upstream to the Ketyet River. Looking Westward. 

Camped at the small outflow. We will portage. We caught a couple trout for supper. I carried three loads across to the lake. That’s were we are heading tomorrow.

Image, Fish catch

Looking at maps tonight my trip mate discovers my 100-kilometre map distance error. We go from 25 km/day to 15 km/day. The concern is done. No longer do we need to make big distance days everyday. There should be no need to rebook our flights. The error was mine. I did the trip maps. 

More solar charging. The Inreach reaches 100%. 

Heavy rains at five pm. Not a typical Far North rain. We are already into cocktails. The wind dies. Mosquitoes become bothersome in the Mantis. A rainbow brightens the evening. 

Image, Rainbow

Trout, fried potatoes, coleslaw, ginger. I made tea. 7 pm done. Not much wind. Still lots of mosquitoes. Late evening rain. 

Image, Fish fry

We are looking harden by the North. Wind burnt and sun tanned hands and faces. 

Tomorrow we go a walking....

Distance made good: 27 km. Distance to go: 141 km

Day 11 Warm night. We rose a bit after seven am. Clear skies. Solar charger the Inreach to 100%.  A slow cook breakfast—potatoes and eggs, this time with black olives. Bacon for the meat eater. 

We portaged our camp packs to the lake where I had staged all of our other gear. He carrying big green. Me doubling up with the two red kitchen and food packs. 

It was a chilly lake paddle from one end to the other. I’m dressed for portaging. The lake is ideally positioned perpendicular to the Quoich and Ketyet rivers. Long and skinny body of water. 

Next was a short portage on the North into a pond followed by a portage into the next lake. We are going against the creek flow.

Image, Headwaters connecting ponds

A bit of a paddle across the lake at kilometre 135. Still cool in the northwesterly wind. We overshoot our destination bay. Navigation is difficult. The island shown on the map is connected to shore. We continue too far southeast before figuring it out and paddling back into the wind. 

We are able to connect the three small bodies of water continuing to the next portage. 

Lunch. A few too many bugs—mosquitoes but now also black flies. The warmer temperatures mean the bugs are more able to withstand the wind. 

We portage once done eating lunch. 

Another lake to paddle across. And another portage. Now the water is flowing in our direction—towards the Ketyet River! There is good camping tundra at the start. We decide to venture onward. Our chosen portage ends on white ice. 

Image, Snow portage 

We continue paddling on a smaller lake and do one last portage. It’s short but more boulders than tundra, unlike the other portages. We can hear water flowing below the rocks but I do not see any water. We record the sound of the water. 

It’s half five pm. We see a camping opportunity and investigate it. Not ideal but if the next portage has no camping it will be getting late, and we’ll be continuing in a tired state. We camp. 

Unload. More effort today because we have been loading and unloading all day. Tent up. Mantis up. Bath and clothes washing. 

Time to switch food packs. I pull three breakfasts and suppers as well as restock the lunch bag with peanut butter, cheese, GORP, sausage, bread, and fig cookies. 

Cocktails and pretzels snacks. Coleslaw. Bean and rice stew. Tea. All done. It’s eight pm. For the rest of the trip, we are all-done by eight pm in part because of my faster suppers—more rehydrate and reheat than cook. No baking bannock. Less food preparation. Etc. 

Many more bugs. 

No rain. A great day to move overland. It rained hard while we were in the tent. Then it rained overnight. 

Distance made good: 13 km. Distance to go: 127 km

Day 11 I late morning. Loons calling, a pair close by on the lake. Pancakes. An excellent recipe. Super tasty and flavourful. With blue berries. Then, after we packed away the Mantis, it started to rain so we waited out the rain in the tent. I broke the handle on my hairbrush. 

Left camp very late. Maybe eleven-ish? Exiting the small lake surprised us—we ran the tiny rapid only having to one-foot it once. But from there onward the lake was much more work than anticipated. Portaging past rock infested chokepoints, on several occasions. Four unexpected portages. 

Image, Headwater lake rock bridge 

Lunch on a midstream rock—Trying to find the maximum wind. Bugs were bothersome. We ate in the canoe passing, back and forth, food items on a paddle blade. 

Image, River lunch on the water

Once on the Ketyet River we passed the island River Right because the River Left side was a dry rock channel. Shortly thereafter ran tight River Right, a thin wide rock fence. 

This is where I made the distance error. On the map I wrote 115 km then 220 km instead of 120 km. Hence all the distance markers on the map higher than 115 km are 100 km to big. 

At kilometre 117 and 116 we ran rapids. At the 60 metre contour the river volume increased. We did a combination of run, line, run. Threatening dark rain clouds surrounded us. We could be keen to get off the water but the clouds rolled passed us. The wind slowly swung around and increased in speed. 

Image, Ketyet River typical headwater rapid

We camped at an excellent site. Best tundra camping in days. Right at a rapid, River Left side. We lined part way down and pulled out. It was half five pm. Sunny. A few bugs. My trip partner was head netted but I was not—similar to several other occasions today. 

Tent up. It needed drying out from the morning rain. Mantis. Both were well staked and rock anchored as the wind velocity was increasing. 

I washed my socks and solar charged. A few clouds slowed the solar charging process. Then a warm cocktail and snack of black olives and pretzels. Coleslaw. Apple raisin rice noodle supper. 

Half eight pm. Journaling in the tent. Warmer and quieter than the Mantis. Still a little cool. Definitely not cold. 

Distance made good: 15 km. Distance to go: 112 km

Day 12 Up at 7:15 a.m. feels overcast. Some wind. 

The wind is cool. Hot breakfast of wild rice oatmeal with blueberries, raisins and cranberries. All trip I’ve been using my Thermos each morning for tea. That way I get a cup and a bit for breakfast before refilling it for lunch. 

Left the nice site, which was a bit noisy for our likening because of the rushing rapid, at 9:15 am. Surprisingly, my trip mate was wearing rain pants. He was still cold. I didn’t know it but he was also wearing two fleece tops, his 100 wt. zip T and a heavier full zip sweater/jacket. 

From camp we put in where we had lined the boat to yesterday. A short front ferry and we ran out the bottom of the rapid. At the next couple of narrows there was easy current/CI rapids. A caribou was standing still on the near shore. 

Image, Lining

Before entering into Lake 58 the river drained through a wide rock garden. We found no main channel river right. One footing, wading, and dragging the canoe was our route down. It was longish. 

Very strong winds blow us across Lake 58 to the eastern channel. Cascading rapids—Portaged the river right side. We notice a new hole in the sidewall of the canoe, above the waterline. Patched it with glue and a patch, and covered it with tape. 

Image, Pakcanoe patching holes

The next 3 bar rapid was shallow and without a main channel. One option was portaging the left side but I suggested we follow one of the three main flows as I could not see the end of the carry so I was keen to deal with the rocky rapid over portaging. In the end we one footed, waded and dragged. Twice we carried two packs to lighten the canoe. 

Lunch. We saw 8 musk oxen. We switched ends of the canoe to be stern heavy. Stern heavy is preferred with a following wind and we had a very strong tailwind. Lake 51 was wavy and windy, but we did fine. Before crossing it we stopped to put the spray deck on the canoe as a measure of safety. It was my suggestion and I’m anti spray deck compared to my partner who favours its use. It was not required—We shipped no water. 

The 50-metre contour line between Lakes 58 and 48 was an easy CII run. The paddle across Lake 48 was also fine. Some big waves but we stayed dry. 

Camped at half four pm on the lee side of the point at kilometre 90. The idea is, this location sets us up well to start the next narrow river section where the drop or gradient increases. 

Image, Ketyet River scouting canoe

I pulled more food from my food pack to top up our in-use food pack. A light mist fell on the Mantis while we were enjoying coffee and tea, and annotating maps, writing journals, etc. Warm in the sun. Otherwise cool in the wind. Call it typical Far North canoe tripping conditions. 

From coffee and tea we moved onto our standard overproof rum and lemonade with a bit of lime and a nuts and pretzel snack. Then coleslaw followed by chickpea and quinoa dish with sun dried tomatoes. I note that the meal needs more spices. 

During clean up the Mantis let go when the rear anchor rock slid. We recovered, finished washing dishes and closed up the kitchen pack. We put the Mantis down for the night, as per usual. That’s the second time this trip the Mantis rear anchor has failed. Perhaps that speaks to the nature of the wind this trip. 

Reading at 8:15 pm. Sunny. It’s nice to be in the tent—out of the flapping kitchen shelter. Warmer as well. 

I finished reading MaddAddam, the third and final book in this series. The first two books are Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. Atwood has talent as a writer but also as a thinker. And great vocabulary. I’m a fan of her works, at home and on trail. 

Distance made good: 22 km. Distance to go: 90 km

Day 13 We both woke just after 7 a.m. No doubt overcast—the tent is not warmed from the sun. In fact, this trip, we have yet to experience a hot tent, a sauna. In the end, we never do. Rain everyday we think, including yesterday and today but light enough and little enough that we did not use our rain gear. 

We left camp shortly after 9 a.m. Homemade granola was breakfast. It was made using my trip mate’s homemade maple syrup. 

Today is the real test of the Ketyet River as it drops fast, the 40, 30, 20 and 10 metre contour lines. We ran, lined and portaged four times. There were two waterfalls like drops. We did a short side walk to view and photograph a drainage creek with a steep rapids and falls. It was on river right. 

Image, Ketyet River scouting downstream

Lunch was on the long lake after passing the first three contour lines. A couple of musk oxen—we stopped to watch and capture photographs. Also paused at a small waterfall that was draining into the river on river left. A light rain pre and post lunch. We commented on the fact that we climbed the bank and hill to get into the wind because the mosquitoes were pesky. Thereupon it was too windy and cold! 

Similar to the morning, we ran, lined and portaged the 10-metre contour line. 

Image, Ketyet River scenic portage 

Moulting geese. Many of them near our camping site. Camping around 6 p.m. in the little bay on River Right still on the second lake section. Baker Lake and a cabin were visible before we pulled off the river to camp. Sad to end the wilderness nature of our trip. Soon we begin the “cabin tour” of Baker Lake, as we call it. Still no signs of old stone Inuit structures. No tent rings, kayak stands, hunting blinds, food caches, etc. 

Although our campsite isn’t much it is a wonderful pleasant evening. The sun is out. The overcast sky is gone. It’s warmer. The view is welcoming. The mosquitoes are okay. The wind is helping and we are either in the Mantis for cocktails and snack, gnocchi with veggies and red sauce, or facing the wind whilst flossing and brushing our teeth, or heading into the tent to journal and read. A sandhill crane is heard calling off in the distance. Nearing ten pm. Still warm. Wind is down. No doubt the mosquitoes will be more active when we soon exit the tent to pee before turning in for the night. 

My feet and legs feel the demands of lining and portaging. Wet feet with a couple of soft spots. Hopefully not blisters. 

Started reading Angels don’t play this HAARP: Advances in Tesla Technology.

Distance made good: 12 km. Distance to go: 78 km

Day 14 It was a warmer night. The two us, tired, woke shortly after 7, at about 7:15 a.m. There was a man standing off in the distance with a gun over his shoulder. No doubt a local Inuit from Baker Lake, out hunting, and staying at the cabin at the mouth of the Ketyet River. 

Oatmeal with wild rice and blueberries and raisins and cranberries and milk. We left camp a bit later than normal, by 9:30 a.m. Blue skies. A Northwest wind. 

The 3 bar exit rapid was a run and portage rapid. A family of eight tent camping at the mouth had motor boated over to say hello, as we were on the opposite side of the river than them. The man born in the 50s pretended not to speak English, looking at his granddaughter to play along. She is soon off to school in Cambridge Bay for social work thus he is the good grandfather taking her out on the land before she leaves. It’s Saturday. He’s the Baker Lake Hamlet housing manager—listening to complaints Monday to Friday as he describes it. He has seventeen grandchildren. His second wife kept her distance, wanting nothing nor anything to do with us. They were successfully catching fish as we chatted. And then they were off. 

Image, Ketyet River runout rapid

There are three cabins at the Ketyet River mouth. One is the Hunters and Trappers Organization (HTO) cabin. The cabin tour has begun.… 

Image, Baker Lake Cabin tour

We paddled onward to pass Jigging Point. The wind was strong but we could stay in the shelter of the shoreline. The shoreline garbage tour is also in progress. It’s a kin to the cabin tour. 

Lunch stop. We enjoyed the warmth of the sun and the coolness of the wind. 

In the canoe, we feel the colder Baker Lake water beneath the hull. Our feet are chilled. While paddling, if we take a wave or splash on our hands, again, we notice the colder water temperature. 

After checking out a possible campsite before Helix Point we decide to venture forward. The site was marginal. Plus we’d prefer to get a few extra kilometres than our daily distance of 15 km (only 15 km) because of the unpredictability of the massive body of water. Our other consideration was we’d rather avoid pausing for several hours, then waiting out the wind before getting back out the water once the wind is down. We decide to paddle onward and see if the winds are okay around the point, then finish our day and stay put for the night. 

In fact, the wind and waves are very manageable. We canoe to the 55 kilometre mark and camp for the night at about 5 p.m. 

Our cocktail is our first this trip with Bake Lake water. It’s a welcoming and refreshing cold and it’s paired with salty pretzels. We toast to favourable winds. The evening meal starts with coleslaw, then veggies and mashed potatoes. It’s calm. The big lake is flat. It begs us to venture out but we, steadfastly, remain ashore. 

Two tired guys quickly sponge bath. Tent. Journaling. Reading. Will we make it to 10 p.m. for a pee break before falling asleep? Life is simple. 

No rain today!

Slightly drier hands. I started using hand lotion only the last couple of days. No cracks. Most unusual. Usually my fingers are cracked and bleeding. Maybe the higher moisture conditions has aided my dry skin. 

Distance made good: 23 km. Distance to go: 55 km

Day 15 We both woke at times and thought we should get up because it was still so calm. But we didn’t. Yesterday was a bit big day. We are tired. But we are also conditioned to rise when the wind is silent. 

Up at 7 am. Granola with coffee and tea. Left at 8:40 am. Sunny. Light airs. Mosquitoes and the odd black fly. 

Once on the water the slight on shore wind chilled us to the bone. In camp, the wind was off shore—pleasantly warm. We left without wearing fleece or long underwear. Maybe we timed our departure to coincide with the wind reversal, from offshore to onshore. 

I was cold all morning. Feet, hands, legs, arms. I paddled hard, thinking we were going to get off the water about noon when the winds increased and the Inreach weather forecasted heavy rains were due to arrive. 

Stopped for a granola bar. Too many bugs. It was a quick stop. There isn’t much wind. 

Lunch near the point after cutting across the bay. Wind was a bit stronger. We both put on our light fleece tops and enjoyed a 45 minute break. Paddling was easy, calm water, with an ever so light wind, but we had paddled hard for some distance and time. 

Back on the lake until half three pm. Saw a couple of arctic hares. More than half a dozen boats passed by out farther out heading out for the day. It’s Sunday. We investigated an old beached double-ended boat when we decided to camp. Tent up. Nap. We are now hearing boats returning, off in the distance. Up for cocktails and pretzels. A deep-sea vessel is chugging along heading to Baker. Well, maybe it’s a big diesel engine chug but not truly a deep-sea vessel. No doubt, it’s the annual sealift to the Hamlet. 

Image, Baker Lake sealift

We are in amazing position. Hard to believe we are only 25 km to the hamlet. 

No rain today. Day two in a row. 

7 pm spaghetti is on the go. Dead calm. By half eight pm we are in the tent reading after a very pleasant and enjoyable evening. 

I keep forgetting to mention that I’ve been seeing ptarmigans including several with chicks.  We also watched and listened to a small group of loons. Surprisingly how long they can dive below the water surface before resurfacing. 

Image, Loons

Listening to ptarmigan, sandhill cranes and the odd motorboat passing by. Tent, it’s maybe ten pm, and it’s cooling off...dramatically. No cellular service but we are straight-line distance within 20 kilometre of the Baker Lake community. 

I’m tired after a second day of paddling hard, albeit a shorter day than earlier in the trip. 

Distance made good: 30 km. Distance to go: 25 km

Day 16 Still. Overcast. Can hear the deep chugging sound of a diesel engine. A tug and barge. Far off in the distance. A ptarmigan sounds close by. 

Cool enough that the mosquitoes aren’t too bad. Pancakes for breakfast. We are in no rush. The supply ship passed by heading out to sea. We packed up camp and left at half ten in the morning. 

Light rain. Calm lake. No wind. No waves. Bugs on the water—mosquitoes and black flies. We paddled with head nets. It was a slow leisure morning on the water. Musk oxen. Noon. Camped at the Prince River. ATV tracks. Lots of garbage. The tug and its tow are heading east. Three musk oxen are across the Prince River. We’ve been here before. I have fond memories of previous trips, firstly down the Prince River but also canoeing the coastline from Chesterfield Inlet. We left late and arrived very early into camp.

Image, Baker Lake Calm waters

Post lunch nap. More black flies than mosquitoes got into the tent. Woke at half two pm. It’s raining. 

Up and out of the tent at three pm. Did a Mantis rotation—The wind had shifted 180 degrees. I’m making tea. My trip mate had a walk from the ridge to the last rapid and then read in the Mantis while I napped. More light rain. He’s now in the tent napping while I’m reading in the Mantis. My anorak is looking dirty. Likewise my pants. No surprise after a couple of weeks on trail and my clothes washing is not as effective as the washing machine at home. Drying clothes is the same, hang to dry. 

Four pm. Stronger winds. More Mantis rotation and I added more pegs and rocks. The canoe rolled over in the wind so I re secured it as well. 

I walked up to the ridge and onwards into the wind to the final Prince River rapid and returned along the river. Inuit stone structures, the first of our trip. Two sandhill cranes. An outfitted Oldtown canoe from Wisconsin. Cabin. Garbage. First real evening hike as well. 

For the second time this trip I’m wearing my extra fleece. Have yet to use my overpants, gloves, warm hat, etc. 

A quick food update. Finished the first bag of Medallion whole powdered milk. Halfway into the second 500 g peanut butter jar. Jam tin almost gone. Camp stove fuel—we took a 1 gallon can and our two small 600 ml Sigg fuel bottles. We’ll have leftover fuel. 

Distance made good: 6 km. Distance to go: 18 km

Day 17, our last day on the water.  We are keen to go. It was five am. The tent was silent. No wind. 

We switched out our plan of a slow cook potatoes and eggs breakfast for oatmeal. It’s chilly at five am. We wanted a warm breakfast over cold granola but not a slow cook meal if we want to get on the water before the wind comes up. 

We left the Prince River a bit after half six am. Cold we were as we paddled. The sun was bright but too low to cast much warmth. 

Our cabin and shoreline garbage tour continued. My tripping partner made the statement that he’d rather not paddle Baker Lake again. It’s a means to an end. Disheartening as it be. Pristine tundra no more. 

I’ll add that there is a real possibility of a successful circumnavigational paddle tour of Baker Lake. No need for any air charters or shuttles. No added expenses. No complicated logistics. Fly to Baker. Paddle the lake. Go with the flow of the lake and weather conditions. Spend time on the land—hike lots. No rapids. No portaging. Handrail navigation. Much of the lake remains wilderness. That’s a good trip option to have in the back of your pocket. 

Light airs faded away. We were left with calmness. And a few mosquitoes. Still cold hands. 

We stopped a couple of times. Each time we pumped. The canoe is taking on water. Must be a hole or a leaky patch. Noticeable bilge water today but none yesterday. Ate our granola bars for a mid morning snack, albeit an early mid morning snack. We pause to photography of one of the many old freighted canoes. They must have floated away from the hamlet shoreline ice many years ago. We are saddened seeing them rot. I envision a restoration project. 

Our original plan yesterday was to have a slow breakfast and departure, and close our remaining distance to Baker—to camp between 5 and 10 km away. But with our five am let’s go, we can camp at the Canoe Campground in town, so to speak. I figured that’s what we’ll do. We pull ashore and asks each other if we want to camp or continue. I had assumed we were going all the way. It was not yet 11 am. Baker is within sight. We discussed our options and use the Inreach to obtain a weather update. Tomorrow morning 9-12 miles per hour winds. Not the end of the world but it is flat calm now. My trip mate had primed me for Baker so I said let’s finish it off. 

Image, Baker Lake barge unloading

A barge and tow were at the mine docking site. A resupply tanker was at anchor closer to the centre of the hamlet. Many expedition canoes were seen along the waterfront—left resting after their long voyages down mighty Far North rivers—the likes of the Thelon, Dubawnt and Kazan. A select few might have come via the Back River (and up the Meadowbank). Some started their journeys in Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Yellowknife—the odd one started even further away. They have been sold to local residents. 

Image, Baker Lake past tripping canoes at rest

We pulled ashore. There is green algae. No doubt a product of the hamlet. Another sad sight and unfortunate influence of modernization. 

Image, Baker Lake Hamlet green

We walked up to Baker Lake Lodge. The canoe campground might have been enticing if another canoe party had already been there, creating some camaraderie. But it’s a noisy non-private place to be along the dusty road to the airport. And it’s in a state of disrepair, including the outhouses, which are usually locked shut because of their unkept condition. Anyhow, unfortunately there is no room at the lodge—the 5 cabins are full. The old single room apartment complex with indoor plumbing is not in use for guests, only staff as the plumbing needs repair. The new complex, a dozen years in the making, is not useable yet. 

Helen kindly offers the use of the bathhouse and a shuttle to the canoe campground. The bathhouse is welcome because we are no longer on the land—town offers no privacy, but we see no reason or benefit to move there, to the canoe campground. Thus we camp on site at lodge. It’s raining. Mantis. Tent. Showers. Cocktails. Coleslaw. Noodle soup. All good. We pay $60 for a night of camping and facility use.

We visit with a group of three in waiting. The leader, Marlis Butcher, is visiting every National Park in Canada for a book-writing project. www.canadianparkbagger.com

A postscript note. I hear her on CBC radio just the other day while on a road trip—she became the first visitor to all the National Parks of Canada.

We are unable to reschedule our flights. Wednesday is almost full. Today, Tuesday, is possible but we must check in within 30 minutes. Too demanding because we have a canoe to pack away, etc. Plus ticket changes for $78 must be done at the local airport agent, otherwise it’s $1300 by the 1-800 agent. We settle on leaving Thursday as originally planned and purchased. 

I text message my family, all is well, as well as start organizing airport pickup, ride home, and our family canoe trip dates. Then start to sort through emails. Ten pm. Journaling...

Definitely not as tired today. I’ve regained my strength. An easier day and extra sleep/nap was all it took. 

Tim, our pilot from last year is here. And the two Mike pilots. Mike who flew us in this year and Swiss Mike is the other pilot, who does the opposite rotation with Mike. 

Couldn’t sleep. Read until 12:40 am, lights out. It was a noisy night. 

Distance made good: 18 km. Distance to go: 0 km

Day 21 since leaving Winnipeg Up half eight am, but I’ve been awake for some time due to the noise. We do our slow cook potatoes and eggs for breakfast from the other day. The canoe is dried out and packed away. 

Then we are off walking to wildlife office to return the bear spray we borrowed.

Lunch. My trip mate napped while I caught up on email messages and the like. 

We moved into cabin 3. More re packing for our travel south. Cocktails. Bean salad. Rice and apple raisin dish with noodles. 

Half nine pm. I finished the Tesla book. Unfortunately, I can’t recall the book title and my iPhone Kindle app doesn't show a history of books read after you delete them. Wouldn’t that be a good feature as I’ve known canoe trippers who have taken books on trips only to realize that they had already read the book. 

Weeks later the Tesla book name came to me and a little Internet searching revealed the full title, Angels Don't Play This Haarp: Advances in Tesla Technology by Nick Begich and Jeane Manning.

Day 22 Up at 7 am. 

Airport drop off by Helen at half eight am. We had five bags. A stripped down Pakcanoe weight of only 50 pounds, big green tent pack maxed out at 51 pounds, kitchen plus assorted gear at 45 pounds, Annex pack at 44 pounds, and a food pack of tidbit and gear including canoe seats, etc. at 40 pounds. No extra baggage fees. 

We landed early in Winnipeg. Same time zone for the entire canoe trip!

We departed, each going our own way, until we meet again, next time for some trip planning route ideas before our next summer canoe trip. Little did we know that the Covid-19 pandemic would cancel our 2020 and 2021 summer canoe trips. 

Image, Ketyet River Scouting Brian