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PostPosted: April 30th, 2018, 12:00 pm 

Joined: January 22nd, 2005, 12:16 pm
Posts: 4044
Location: Toronto
Journal of Moffatt-party participant Lanouette.
Post 6. 21 August to 2 September.

Copyright to all the following belongs to the Lanouette family.

Sunday, August 21 – Camp #34 (Dubawnt Lake near mouth of Dubawnt River).
The day started cold and windy—solidly overcast with strong gusts from the NW—felt sure we’d be hitting the tents again right after breakfast, but such was not the case. When Bruce went to check his thermometer, hanging on a small willow bush, he found it lying broken on the rocks. From now on any temperatures I give will be guesses, probably pretty wild ones at that.
According to George (who had been up at 3:30 A.M. because of an upset stomach: gotten, no doubt, from sampling an untested mushroom) there had been a terrific storm—hard rain accompanied by near-gale winds.
We broke camp quite late and Art and I paddled upstream against a stiff current to retrieve a dare-devil lure he lost last night while fishing from the shore. We found it, we then rode the current back down to the lake, and, by 11 o’clock, the three canoes were under way. We had a hard time making headway against the wind—Pete’s canoe was slightly bow heavy and he took in a bit of water. We did have a slight current, which helped a little, but making miles go by was not easy. Even traveling along the lee shore didn’t help much because no trees blocked the wind roaring off the gentle slopes.
I had started out wearing my heavy parka, but now it hampered me while paddling, so I took it off. I wasn’t too cold, but the minute we’d stop my snoot would start to drip and I’d feel every last puff of wind.
By about one thirty we had paddled the 5-mile length of lake and, having found the river channel on the east bank, we put in at a sheltered cove carved out of rock—complete with a small beach that barely held our three canoes. Ahead lay 10 miles of river and three rapids. The current was very swift and we made excellent time.
The sun came out around lunch time, and the skies varied in color from very pale blue to light green—beautiful but an ominous forewarning of cold weather to come.
As we cruised down the now widening river, we noticed fewer and smaller clumps of black spruce. Both banks became rocky. The hills, still present, became gentle and rolling, except for an occasional gray cliff where the river had chewed into a hill.
The first rapids was easy and didn’t even need looking over from shore. The second was the same, although Art and I almost got sucked into a deep trough behind a huge, barely submerged boulder. We missed by a foot and took in a splash or two, but, except for the excitement of the moment, we suffered no ill effects. A couple of miles upstream from the second rapids we came to a stretch of river lined with little stone “men.” Both banks had these cairns, but the east bank had by far the most.
By four o’clock we came to the last rapids—short but ferocious. We pulled over to the west bank to look it over and, as luck would have it, discovered a Nirvana of blueberries. They were huge, dark-blue and sweet—Bruce, George, and I just lay down among them and gorged.
This last rapids proved quite rough. We shipped some water on the way through, but nothing serious, and we went right on.
By 4:30 or so we came to a widening of the river and a series of low, flat, marshy little islands. Art announced our arrival on Dubawnt Lake. It was not a very impressive beginning—just islands of varying size—almost all low and flat. We continued under gray skies until we came to a little dot of an island on which Tyrrell describes erecting a cairn. We found it—a large, triangular rock mounted on a pedestal of lesser ones. But we found no note or message of any kind within it. We scrounged around the island for scraps of dried willow branches—but saw no trees of any size or shape wherever we looked.
We paddled on for half an hour when; suddenly, we heard airplane engines. (It was approximately 5:15.) Art spotted it, and he and I looked at it through his field glasses. It was probably a DC-6 enroute from Thule, Greenland, to L.A.—although this is just a guess. The plane was too distant to be identified from the bouncing canoe, even with binoculars. A few minutes later we found a cove with a 30-foot cliff at the north end and decided to pull in for the night.
While Art was preparing caribou steaks some of us scaled the cliff and looked out onto the vast lake. We saw no ice floe, as described by Tyrrell. Either the wind had pushed it out of sight or it did not exist at all this summer. (Sun came out at this time—quite a beautiful evening.)
After dinner, as we huddled around our very small fire, we heard the unmistakable howl of wolves back toward the south. Art grabbed his camera and took off after them—Bruce and Pete have not seen any yet, and they too wanted to look for them. But Art told them not to run around and scare them off, so they, too, stayed in camp. Finally, near dusk, Art came back. He said he had spotted a family—two white adults and a gray, nearly full-grown pup. But they had been into the sun and he had not gotten any pictures. He planned to get up at dawn to film them as they slept in their lair. At intervals through the evening we heard the wolves howl—once or twice we heard others to the north, as if howling in response.
Then, as George headed to his tent near a huge, upright rock slab, he suddenly came almost face to face with one of our wolves. He ran back to get Art, but by then the huge animal had loped off and we saw no more of him.
We heard the wolves howling eerily in the distance until after dark. Then all went quiet, except for the wind whistling in the rocks of the cliff—very ominous. I nearly brought my rifle into the tent in case the wolves came by to run off with our hanging caribou meat, but I finally decided against it.

Monday, August 22 – Camp #35 (approximately 4 miles north of camp #34 – west shore).

Before going to sleep, I half expected to be awakened at any time during the night by marauders, and kept my knife, flashlight, and 9 rounds of ammunition right handy, just in case—Tyrrell mentions being attacked on the shores of this lake by a wolf-pack and I half expected some sort of commotion in the night because this no-man’s land: too far north for modern Indians and too far south for today’s eskimo. I figured that maybe these wolves were wild enough to try something. Our canoe, under which lay my rifle and an axe, was no more than a few yards away, and, as I dozed off, I went over in my mind what I would do if anything wild erupted.
But nothing happened and we spent a calm night at our campsite under the cliff. Morning turned out to be another wretched one—where we were, the sky was completely overcast with soggy looking clouds and a terrific wind howled down from the northwest, although at the time we didn’t realize its force, as we and our bay were sheltered by the hills around us. To the south gleamed a narrow band of clear sky—it was pale green and looked cold as hell—the overcast just above this ribbon of green was a pale and anemic-looking orange-pink. The air, although cool in the wind, actually was not bad at all, and I got by at breakfast without my parka.
Today I tried out caribou liver for the first time and found it to be by far the best liver I have ever laid tooth on; juicy and very tender—not at all bitter or unpleasant. Even Art, who dislikes liver, had some and pronounced it very good.
Because it didn’t look as though any of the showers would hit us, we decided to break camp and head on. We are all hoping to be able to make 20 miles a day, at least, as long as we have any kind of favorable weather. We loaded in short order and put out into the bay. As soon as we left our cove and rounded the point we were smacked by the full force of the wind and brought almost to a halt. Even traveling while sheltered between islands and points of land we took in splashes from the wind-frothed waves. The breeze, quartering off the port, made it all Art could do to keep the canoe headed in the right direction.
We barely made any headway and had to paddle like crazy to do that. The only time we made progress, to speak of, was when we headed east around a neck of land or an island—then, with a tailwind, we really tore along.
At one point we landed on a sheltered rocky shore and got out to look the weather over. It began to sprinkle, but, coming at us was a heavy shower, so we decided to run for cover for a couple of miles and to try to find a better place to batten down. By about 11:30 we came round a large peninsula and, seeing a low cliff, we landed in its lee and hauled our canoes and supplies over the rocks to the tundra.
While unloading, Bruce slipped on a rock and soaked his feet—many curses. (Note: - The soles of both of his boots have long been flapping in the breeze and, for the past couple of weeks, he has been wearing sneakers until he gets around to stitching his boots back together.)
We saw no driftwood in the vicinity, so Art decided to use Bruce’s 2-burner Coleman stove to brew tea and warm up the steak (We decided last night to save hardtack by having only 2 apiece for lunch—these will be supplemented by ample portions of caribou meat as long as we have any). This is the first time since Stony Rapids that the stove has been used and, despite being knocked around on some portages, it still works well when shielded from the wind.
While Art prepared lunch, I walked to the top of the rise to look around and scared up a covey of nine ptarmigan. Unfortunately, I was not armed and so I just watched as they flew away to the south. Continuing my hike, I found two or three mushrooms and a couple of bushes with very few, but choice, blueberries. I also found a couple day’s supply of driftwood among the rocks along the shore and brought an armload back to camp for future use.
There was not much we could do after lunch beside lie around and wait for the wind to ease off. Bruce nailed and wired his boots back together, I wrote a little, Art put up the tent and sacked out, Skip took the .22 and went ptarmigan hunting, Pete worried his caribou hide with a rock, and George read or slept in his tent.
Finally, when Skip returned empty handed, I took the .22 and went off in another direction to try my luck. It was one tough job walking into the wind. I had to lean forward and, several times, almost got blown off my feet while stepping from boulder to boulder through swampy ground.
I saw quite a few caribou—once I got near a small herd of 5 large bucks and a doe. They could not scent or hear me because of the wind and, if I’d been hunting them, they would have been easy prey. I saw an Arctic ground squirrel and, had I known they were good eating, I would have popped him off. Instead, I watched him from about 5 feet away while he ran around chomping berries and, finally, zipped into his burrow.
No ptarmigan anywhere on the point. I walked about 4 - 6 miles and was quite bushed from fighting the wind. Although extremely windy, the weather was warm and I was sorry I had worn my parka. Looking out over the broad expanse of lake, there were times when the whitecaps were so frothy I could see very little blue water.
When I finally got back to camp I flopped down on the moss and caught a short nap.
For dinner we wolfed down an entire hind-quarter of caribou and one packet of dehydrated mashed potatoes—for dessert we had 4 cups of hot chocolate apiece and a potful of tea.
Even so, most of us were still hungry and we cleaned off what remained of the leg. I had another couple of pounds of meat. George and Skip roasted the meat right on the bones and, when they had finished, they cracked the bones and extracted the marrow…delicious!
At about 11:30, as Art, Skip, and I were sitting around the embers of the fire, the wind suddenly shifted to the north and, within minutes, we noticed a radical drop in temperature.
Right about now, we are being lashed by a cold northerly wind, not quite as strong as this afternoon’s gale, but just as uncomfortable. Black, ominous clouds drift over us, and I half expect to shovel my way through snow to breakfast in the morning. Our campsite is no longer as protected as it was this afternoon, and I have just tightened the guy-lines on our flapping tent.
Note: We are now getting more and more into the swing of things caribou-wise. We waste less and less of each animal we shoot: The meat, of course, is all being used; even the less tasty rib cages. The backbone makes broth; the brains are used to help preserve the hides; the heart and tongue are quite tasty—I have not yet had any heart, but the tongue tastes a lot like rare roast beef. The liver, despite parasites inside, is now eaten without qualm; the bones are cracked for marrow; even the meat on the shanks is used. The next caribou we kill, we will also include the kidneys. About the only things we don’t eat or use are the intestines, the tripe, or the lungs. Eskimos and Indians eat the viscera, as it is their only source of vegetable. They think the white man is nuts for not relishing these parts. We are not that hungry yet, but the day may come when we gratefully gobble down the intestines.
Most caribou meat, when cured, is succulent and tastes as good as any steak. But maggots, worms, and cysts do detract some of the pleasure of eating what would otherwise be considered first-class meat anywhere in the world.

Other observations:
Air mattresses, comfortable as they may make any bed of rocks, are not so good during cold weather. They draw the cold from the ground and lessen the efficiency of the sleeping bag insulation. Now, at night, I spread my parka and Levi’s on top of the mattress and under the bag. This makes for a much warmer and comfortable sleep.
Lately, all kinds of birds and beasts we encounter are going or preparing to go south for the winter. Large flocks of Canada geese, ptarmigan, and ducks can be seen gathering and winging toward the afternoon sun. Arctic loons, sandhill cranes, caribou, are going. The gulls, too, are leaving us—their young can now fly. It makes us feel uneasy to see all other creatures going south, especially because we are probably the only ones for hundreds of miles around flying in the face of animal instinct to head north as winter sets in.
The berries and mushrooms, although still around, are far scarcer than they were just twenty miles or so back. We still have wood, but it is only driftwood and does not burn very long. Mosses, lichens, and a few swamp grasses and small brush can still be found. The willow, the tallest plant, is now small and stunted.

Tuesday, August 23 – Camp #35 (same) & Camp #36 (2miles north of #35).

Art was first one awake—it was 6:15—the weather looks as gray and foreboding as ever. What made it even more ominous was that right before breakfast there wasn’t a puff of wind and the lake was flat and calm. At breakfast, the breeze from the NW picked up and we had a few drops of rain. But the temperature was moderate and I was warm without my parka.
I dreamed about food again last night, as I have been doing since Boyd Lake: I was in a supermarket on a Sunday, wanting to buy a huge can of Klim so I could sit down and eat it on the spot. One of the clerks was around, but he didn’t want to serve me because it was Sunday. I finally talked him into getting some powdered milk for me, and although he had all kinds of powdered milks, cheeses, and other dairy products, he had no Klim--I was very disappointed.
At breakfast, Art used, for the first time, a red bowl like the rest of us. This settles a lot of early morning tension, as before, he used his pannikin and got more than his share of oats. Several of us asked Skip to talk to him about it (Art listens to Skip more than to anyone else) and I guess he did so last night while they sat together around the campfire.
Breakfast was grim. According to Art, we are in a rather precarious state, foodwise, despite our rationing—weather looks grim and unyielding as ever.
Almost as soon as we finished eating, the wind shifted to the north and we felt a rapid drop in temperature. We also saw squalls moving in on us, so we decided to wait out the weather in the tents. It got really cold and we anticipated snow at any moment, but the clouds only spattered us with cold water.
My hands and feet got cold but I did not crawl into my sleeping bag, and dozed atop my air mattress. Finally, it got so cold, Art and I had to close the storm flap at the tent’s entrance—we could see our breath as we huddled writing or reading or napping.
Another food dream: I was refused a cheese omelet sandwich in a restaurant because the proprietor did not know me and I did not have sufficient credentials. All my food dreams lately have been frustrating—is this because of deep-rooted physical necessities, or is it merely because food has become of such consuming interest to us all?
Lunch, cooked on the stove in the lee of our canoe, included meat, tea, soup and 2 ‘tacks—very good.
By about 3:30 the skies cleared a bit and we had some sun—wind died a little, but not much. We loaded canoes and left camp #35 by 4:30, intending to paddle until dinner, then eating and resting until dawn.
The going was very tough—by 6:30 we had made 2 miles. Our canoe took in a bit of water in very choppy and rough water. I started to paddle with my parka on, but got my right sleeve wet and took the parka off—was not too uncomfortable paddling in sweater and sweatshirt.
Ate dinner in lee of rocky ledge on a point 2 miles north of where we started—meal cooked on stove—meat, potatoes, pudding and tea. Food got cold very quickly—only tea stayed hot for more than a few minutes. As sun set, decided to pitch tents and unload canoes—wind still blowing from north—very cold—Skip doing exercises to keep warm.
Very little wood—much bother to collect tiny scraps and bits. Threw rocks at a ptarmigan I ran across on reconnaissance stroll—missed—bird flew off.
If wind dies during night, we will get up as soon as there is enough light to paddle by (about 4:30A.M.)—if not, we are to remain in camp—if wind does die out, at 4:30 will eat ‘tack and paddle ‘til wind comes up—then will eat regular breakfast, catch up on sleep and continue on at next opportunity—our primary concern now is to get the hell out of here—almost state of emergency.
Am in bed early—beautiful sunset, but black clouds once again bearing down from north—wind still blowing—sleeping bag best and warmest place to be on night like this!

Wednesday, August 24 – Camp #37 (Harbor Island – my own name – off NW coast Dubawnt Lake.

Wakened at 4:30 A.M. by George—calm, beautiful orange-and-green dawn—heavy frost on tundra and on tents—first time this phenomenon of fall and winter has been noticed.
Ate one ‘tack and jam—shoved off into frigid morning at 5:45—too wretchedly cold to enjoy the dawn.
Shortly after starting, slight wind from west kicked up a bit of chop, but travel along lee shore kept us and canoes dry and we managed pretty good progress. Paddled without mittens—hands hurt for awhile, but eventually warmed up—feet, cool to cold most of the day.
Dawn sun spread flecks of gold on canoe wake—very pretty against deep, blue-black water.
Finally reached Teall Point after passing several low, very rocky and barren islands. Ate full breakfast on south coast of Teall Point. Beach made up almost entirely of water-rounded small rocks and boulders. Pete found 1 piece of dry wood—saving it, along with other scraps found last night. After eating, decided to stretch 5-day sugar allotment one day extra.
Noticed many snowbirds on point.
Paddled E & NE to tip of Snow Island—boasts one cliff at western end from which Art got pictures of other canoes as they paddled past mainland hills.
Noticed large fog bank to SE—ice – caused maybe? To date have no reason to suspect ice-pack on Dubawnt except for fog banks—water, though cold, doesn’t seem to be very near freezing point.
Art trolled a few minutes before making 2 P.M. lunch-stop—caught 12 pound lake trout, stuffed with jam-can full of ripe roe—damn good eating when fried for breakfast.
Stopped at small beach for lunch of meat, 2 ‘tacks, and chocolate bar. Went over list of remaining food—most items good for 25-30 days—cheered us up quite a bit. By the time we stopped for lunch, had made good 20-mile paddle—I was quite tired.
Dead calm and oily water before and after lunch—sky, high overcast with patches of blue.
Suddenly, at 4:30, wind came in from South—ominous, black clouds on horizon—paddled another 6 miles to this island where we found almost landlocked little pebbly harbor—good protection from all winds—very pleasant. Cliffs on west side of harbor: also on east—beautiful meadow to south with lots of white Arctic cotton. George and Skip found mushrooms and few blueberries—Pete caught another big trout before dinner—Art made good fish chowder out of whale he caught—Pete’s will go at breakfast.
Damned good but very tiring paddle of approximately 32 miles today. Right deltoid muscle sore in late afternoon—made paddle a grind.
Right now air is cold and calm—few clouds. Rise at 7A.M. tomorrow (I hope) – this 4 A.M. stuff has got to go!
Saw more Canada geese this PM—also a few caribou this AM when closer to shore.

Thursday, August 25 – Camp #37 (Harbor Island – same).

Breakfast around 8 A.M.—High “cobblestone” overcast until noon with occasional sun—ate Pete’s fish and oatmeal and prunes and roe—very substantial, tasty.
Bruce called Art’s attention to 2 Arctic Loons on a little pond east of camp—he took camera and left soon after breakfast.
Later in A.M., as Art didn’t show up, Bruce and I gathered 2 large pots of mushrooms to have with caribou glop—after chopping these up, took pictures around campsite, because sun was coming out for longer periods. Then went back to tent to catch short snooze.
Pete caught 3 medium-sized lake trout before lunch—tomorrow’s breakfast, maybe?
Very unsatisfying lunch of 2 ‘tacks—famished all afternoon.
Skip and Art went out after lunch to take more pictures. I took extremely frigid bath, shaved, and washed clothes. Afternoon very beautiful—sunny, cloudless, warm, southerly winds.
By time had finished bath, etc., it was time for dinner—Skip to try cooking glop over heather fire—much manpower, much time, two fires needed. Bruce, Pete, and I acted as firemen, kept fires stoked—also gathered armloads of heather from hillside—burns very fast as soon as kindling point reached—flame, fairly hot; many ashes; much white, pleasant smelling smoke. Took a long time to prepare abundant glop.
Ate quite late—I consumed all-time high of 7 glop bowls—really big eating orgy—felt full—capacity personally consumed = 14 cups: 3 bowls glop (made of caribou, noodles, mushrooms, etc.), 1 bowl chocolate puddling; still hungry, so made 2 bowls mushroom soup (very tasty, despite lack of seasoning), and drank 1 bowl tea. Many nightmares cause by feast.
By bedtime most guys pissed off at one another—Art wanted 4:30 breakfast before shoving off: rest did not. George and Skip pissed at one another when George was reluctant to gather heather. Pete pissed because we had not taken advantage of good travel weather—very grumpy, argumentative evening—I was ready to tell Art off, but occasion never quite presented self.
Black cloud to south about bedtime—plan for tomorrow: up at 4:30, eat breakfast (and freeze asses while doing so), load, shove off—if too windy, forget it and go back to sleep.
Finished last of 3rd caribou tonight in glop—meat had fine coat of mold—Bruce caught 2 fish—total = 5 small and medium-sized “lakers” for tomorrow. Boots starting to fall apart—must fix damn soon!

Friday, August 26 – Camp #38 (Big island 16 miles NWW Outlet Bay).

Black as pitch around 3 A.M.—thought sure big storm would smash us—not so—by 5 A.M., when awakened, last of black patch disappearing to north, leaving beautiful pink light—blue skies—cloudless to south. Temperature fairly cool but tolerable.
Rolled tent and loaded canoe before breakfast—consisted solely of prunes, oatmeal, tea—not too filling despite 3rds on oats.
After leaving harbor, struck by moderate south winds—when we left sheltering lee of Harbor Island, we were lifted high and dropped low by 3-5-foot swells coming in over vast expanse of unbroken water—very beautiful, much like sea—beautiful sky, distant hazy, odd-shaped mountains on west shore.
Passed many wave-cut Athabaska conglomerate cliffs—where no cliffs, there were pebbly beaches.
Had intended paddling straight to west end Outlet Bay, but freshening south breeze made such a course untenable and dangerous—swung north instead, to protection of a chain of big and little islands—almost lost other canoes when Art and I altered course, as they didn’t see us turn. Later, Skip pissed at Art for not having clearly communicated direction change.
Stopped at tiny, bouldery island to have cigarette and rest, and to let others catch up. George discovered 4 ptarmigan—Art took pictures—birds foolishly tame—George shot 2 with his .22 and got other 2 by throwing knife.
Decided to have ‘tack and jam on island after Skip almost tipped over his canoe while standing to put on parka—green canoe half-filled with water—had to unload and dry out food packs. Skip soaked—had to wade in 4 feet of water to retrieve dishes and silverware in lake.
After everything dry (1 ½ hours later) shoved off into strong south wind—came to big island where now camped, saw caribou on shore, decide to kill it. I tracked it for about a mile—missed with 2 shots—saw other herd, singled out big buck for benefit of movies—fired twice—clean misses. Range-finding extremely deceptive in barren country—no other excuse for such misses unless sights have been jarred askew.
Came back for lunch of chowder (5 fish and soup and mushrooms) and ‘tack and cheese.
After lunch Bruce and Art went looking for herd—Skip took walk with .22, Pete, too, took walk—I spent afternoon fixing my boots.
Bruce finally killed spike-horn doe that grazed up to close range—George went out to butcher slain prey.
Had ptarmigan—bully-beef glop (with mushrooms). Ptarmigan very tasty, sweet meat—excellent eating—not gamy or tough. Does not lose flavor by being boiled.
Right now beautiful salmon sunset—few gray, puffy clouds to west. Air cooling fast—put on parka—moderate gusts from south.
Sack early tonight—tomorrow, up again at 4:30 if not too windy.
Notes: This island has very flat, low shores with green swamp plants overlying small, flat rocks, not much shelter if a storm comes up. Wood is non-existent—even heather is sparse. Some blueberries found, but not enough to bother collecting. Also present, though not yet picked, are mushrooms.
Because of frost a couple of nights ago, many of the barrenland plants are turning red—very beautiful. The colors of the landscape, on a good day like this one has been, are almost unbelievably intense and rich. Looks almost like a re-touched Kodachrome.

Saturday, August 27 – Camp #38 (same).

Up at 9 A.M.—sunny morning with hazy clouds to SW and W—south wind all day keeps us from striking out across 20 miles of open water to Outlet Bay—decided on day of rest—Art stretched hide on rack—he’s been up since 5 A.M. doing this, and hiking with camera.
Breakfast of oats and delicious liver—very tender, juicy, tasty—am now a confirmed liver-lover.
Sat around all morning, luxuriating in doing nothing at all.
Pete, Art, Skip, decided go mainland, 2+ miles to north, and climb low mountains, get pictures, hike, climb, look around. They left in gray canoe shortly before lunch—Bruce, packing lunch, went on all-day fishing spree (caught 6 ½ and 8 ½ pound lake trout—half can of roe from smaller fish).
George and I ate lunch at camp—I made mushroom soup for myself—3 ½ bowls (I gave bowl to George, but he still has little appetite for mushrooms and ate only half bowl)—also had toasted cheese-‘tack, ‘tack and jam, ‘tack and peanut butter—still ravenous. Ate tongue besides.
All morning we hear mewing sounds to south—lots of cranes and Red-throated Arctic loons—can’t see them, but they sure kick up a holy racket—Last night, saw shrew running around on rocks—looks like mouse, only much smaller—grayish black—hibernates in winter.
Spent good part of P.M. sacked in tent—Bruce came back about 5 o’clock—George butchered caribou for dinner—Art, Skip and Pete returned about 6:30. Art and Pete saw gray wolf on distant ridge—many caribou on mainland—all were hurrying away from wolf—Art got wolf pictures, but too far away for good shots—Pete and Skip each saw Arctic fox—very tame—Pete got within 15 feet of one—Arctic fox, grey back, white belly.
For dinner had 2 delicious chops apiece and many assorted cuts from along the backbone—mashed potatoes, gravy, chocolate pudding, and tea.
While checking in our yellow supply box this A.M., found boxes of oats had gotten wet on bottom—2 or 3 boxes sport thick coats of green mold—bitter tasting—put in sun to dry. Counted cheese; enough 34 ½ pound boxes for as many days—supply box also contains 36 chocolate bars (enough for 6 lunch desserts).
Yesterday, when cleaning rifle, found rust on outside, on lever, at tip of magazine, and on top of cartridge chamber—also on swivels—inside still in good shape.
Cigarettes—still have 7 good American packs + 2 packs soaked in bug juice (probably no good)—over ½ tin of Player’s Navy cut “roll-own.”
Drank 6-ounce can unsweetened lemon juice found in pack—tart as hell.
Cloud bank to south, southwest, and west—no wind; very calm—quite cool (am wearing parka)—up for 7A.M. breakfast tomorrow.
Notes: Sun now sets 8:30 P.M. (+-)—stays light, though, until 10. Evenings cool to cold—Last night stars brilliant, fiery, almost awesome in cold, sparkling beauty. Northern lights also increasingly impressive as nights get darker.
Dubawnt Lake, especially north shore, quite magnificently beautiful—can see for miles—barren except for mosses and lichens, and other small ground cover—colors since frost are deeper, richer—water of lake on good day is bluest blue have ever seen.
Group has been getting along in better humor past couple of days—no arguments.
Baker Lake is now the magic word—Baker Lake, cornucopia, “Land of Plenty” are now all the same thing in my mind whenever thoughts wander to food. Just finished huge (for civilization) dinner, yet can hardly wait for breakfast, am so hungry. Back “home,” would puke at thought of eating as much as I do up here—appetite increased over 3-fold since Hanover. Have probably biggest appetite of group—rarely feel had enough eats—some of this must be psychological. Right now, Pete and I are boiling up another couple pounds of meat by light of big, orange, half-moon; using heather and dwarf-birch for fuel—no light—got to quit writing for now—tend to belly business.
Later—11:15 P.M.—Finished cave-man-type meal—perched on rock, plucking bones from dwarf-birch fires—voraciously tearing meat off bones with teeth—much charcoal—greasy hands, face.
Right now all beautiful—absolute still calm—stars—bright aurora borealis to south. In distance can hear loons—also distant, eerie, thrilling wolf howls—three wolves “talking” back and forth to one another—one to north, one to southwest, and third to west—very lonely sounds—moon, large, deep orange, half-hidden by cloud.
Pete, Art, I sat around for awhile, listening to sounds of night. Big dipper very clear—right side up—north star almost directly overhead.

Sunday, August 28 – Camp #39 (63 degrees 26’ N latitude 101 degrees 0’ longitude – 15 miles S.E. Dubawnt River – Outlet Bay).

Bright, clear, warm weather at breakfast—few clouds to west and southwest. Got up late—partook of oats, roe, liver—even stooped to coffee. Art got whole camp in bad mood by fiddling around with hide he stretched out on rack—I had to load canoe, take down tent, etc.; everything but roll up his sleeping bag—rather angry myself, but said nothing. 9:20 A.M. by time finally underway. Wind seemed from west, but as we left island, found wind and waves coming from southwest and south.
Stopped for break by cliffs of Athabasca conglomerate—wave-cut caves all along face. Big island lies across 10 miles open water, decided to go for it. Once out on lake roller-coaster swells pitch canoe about pretty badly—wind coming from south. Art, not knowing beans about deep-water sailing, keeps quartering bow into oncoming chop, slopping water over starboard bow—got soaked from waist down—luckily, weather warm—not too uncomfortable.
Art tends to panic in big waves—he suggested I paddle harder with about 6 miles to go—I paid no attention, did not alter stroke—no sense aggravating sore shoulder.
Once, got hit by 3 big ones in a row—took in a little water—Art seemed convinced we were going straight to Davy Jones; hollered at Skip to stand by—yelled to me to start bailing (actually only a couple quarts of water sloshed in and there wasn’t enough to bail, even if I had something to bail with).
Finally made it to island by 1:30—pebbly beach—decided to stop to bail canoe, cook up fish chowder—very pleasant place, beautiful view—clouds to west creeping up slowly—rather threatening with “mare’s tails” streamers high in sky. George shot 7 ptarmigan—we each skinned one—George saved mother bird for self—rest got younger ones.
Skip, who had gone on “short walk” before lunch came back late—unhappy because he felt cheated on chowder cooked by Bruce—I suggested he show up in time for eats from now on.
Finally reached Outlet Bay—fumbles abound: Too far south of course; slightly lost—Art finally orients self on map—head down bay under threatening sky overhead. Steel-gray water—greenish blue sky—dark clouds—big island west of course extremely bleak, rocky, and hostile—stopped at island for ‘tack and cheese around 6:30—then pushed on again to snug harbor Art said was 8 miles farther to north. Everyone bushed, edgy—tempers short, bellies empty—right shoulder painful.
Finally got to harbor on mainland by 9:00 P.M. Was numb with fatigue—hungry as bear. For two hours while paddling, went over in mind best eating places in Hanover—went over all palatable dishes ever eaten—this helped keep mind off sore arm.
Small, triangular mountain quarter mile west of campsite—could see same long way off when on lake. By time reach harbor, almost dark—by time dinner ready was black out—Art cooked ptarmigan/caribou glop by flashlight—forgot pepper—not enough salt—tasted not too good—everyone in bad mood—ate in silence in dark—had hot chocolate for dessert.
Rain came before finished eating—light drizzle—wind from northwest. Campsite extremely rocky, dismal in dark.
While putting up tent before dinner little ground squirrel ran up to within couple feet of me—sniffed tent and tarp, looked at me and scooted about at a furious pace…very cute and curious beastlet.
Sacked right after eating—rain came down in increasing amounts. Breakfast at nine tomorrow.
Today, we paddled 28 miles—15 miles to go in Outlet Bay, 228 miles to Baker—practically wrapped up trip!

Monday, August 29 – Camp #39 (same).

Some hard showers during night—woke up 9 A.M.—read Thomas Wolfe’s, The Hills Beyond, until called for breakfast around 10:30. Snowy looking low, gray cumuli soon blown off by strong wind from north—Cold in shade, comfortable in sheltered, sunny spots.
New dish-out method for oats dreamed up by Art: 1 cupful per serving—no sense to new rule—oats stick to inside of measuring cup—guys can heap oats in cup as well as in bowl—Skip, Art aggravated with one another before and during breakfast—Art wanted less oats; Skip vetoed idea.
Had kidney—tastes like liver—smaller –less satisfying. After eats, Art, Bruce, Skip, and I walked to hill ¼ mile west of camp to erect cairn and take movies—did so. Skip wrote note on lined paper—names and addresses of group—put note in empty “Old Virginia” tobacco can. Cairn approximately 63 degrees 26’ North Latitude, 101 degrees 0’ longitude. Cairn is 3-4’ high with rock on top pointing roughly north. Can be seen from quite a distance.
On way back, took photos of frost-reddened juniper (?) and dwarf birch—pretty, colorful.
Showers during PM—also lots of sun in between rain—slept, read, wrote during PM—Bruce cooked steak and potatoes—heaping plate of meat—caramel pudding—YUM!
Skip brought in 3 trout—lots of roe—Art came back from hike after sundown—saw eskimo stone “men” at end of bay near camp.
Moon bright, approaching fullness—big black cloud moving over us from west.
Gasoline supply for stove running low—Skip estimates a week’s worth—uncooked meals sure going to be ghastly!

Tuesday, August 30 – Camp #40 (NE Outlet Bay at entrance to Dubawnt River).

Up 8:15 for breakfast in rain—bad morning…lots of clouds, wind from southwest, lots of rain and drizzle. Ate oats, fried roe, 7½ trout steaks—felt quite satisfied with meal; went back to tent. There, sacked, read Wolfe, smoked, sacked some more—Art also in tent most of A.M.—likewise with others.
Lunch around 1:30—clouds cleared, leaving rest of day beautifully sunny and warm.
Loaded; left camp 2:00-2:30—wind continued blowing from southwest—not bad, good tailwind—made good time—wind dropped off completely around 5:00—dead calm, glassy water. Paddled most of P.M. without shirt.
Note: At times, while paddling, got sniffs of salt air—just like sea—Art says northeast end of lake was limit of marine submergence (Hudson’s Bay at one time reached as far as this lake.) Salt air smell probably caused by ancient marine salt deposits.
At 5:30 stopped at rocky point for ‘tack and cheese (had only 2 ‘tacks at lunch)—water along here crystal clear—saw many big trout cruising among rocks—Skip caught 2 from canoe. Bigger fish crammed with ripe roe—when arrived at camp, I cleaned and made steaks of Skip’s catch.
Found campsite within ear and eye-shot of first rapids must shoot on river—camped on tundra meadow—very surprised to see thousands of blackflies—first time see insect pests since meeting caribou just north of Boyd Lake—thick as hell and devilishly hungry!
Bruce cooked steaks, mashed potatoes, while Art took movies around campsite—goddam weasel ate most choice cuts of caribou hind leg last night, leaving only tougher morsels—not as full tonight as last night.
Today = 6th day since last sugar dole—Skip hands out rations before dinner.
Gas for stove real concern—dwarf birch great pain to collect and cook with—may start chopping up crates, tent poles soon.
Cool night—moon almost full—sky completely clear.
Made good 15-mile run this afternoon—Aurora Borealis faint tonight because of moon glow, now seen to east. Stars out, though not so bright—also because of moon. Order of the Day = up at 6 A.M.

Wednesday, August 31 – Camp #41 (3 ½ miles SW Grant Lake – West bank Dubawnt River 1 mile from long portage).

Breakfast at 7 A.M.—oats, trout steaks, roe, tea—morning beautiful…sunny, warm skies, no clouds—feel great!
Pete in bad, sour mood for no apparent reason—after eating, he does dishes, loads canoe, takes off downriver as if pants on fire. Skip does same shortly after—Art and I last loaded—when reach rapids, Pete already gone (forgot his caribou hide at camp, so great was his haste)—Art looks over rapids, we shove off, following Skip—This rapid = 2 step kind—not bad—no trouble—swift river after 1st rapids for couple of miles before hitting 2nd.
Skip and Pete ready to shoot 2nd rapids by time we catch up—Art decides to take pictures of them because there is much impressive-looking white water.
While sitting around waiting, Pete remembers missing hide—gets frantic notion to walk back to camp—questions us as to whether we have seen it or packed it along—we tell him “no” (actually, I have hidden hide under my parka—we all determined to teach Pete to check campsite—which he never does—before leaving)—let him stew good until lunch time.
Suddenly hear sound of plane—big military job—high—leaves vapor trails—Art, with glasses, sees red wing tips—I tell him this is probably Army Air-Sea Rescue plane markings. Did not see plane myself, only vapor trail.
As still sitting, waiting for Art, I notice 15 seagulls feeding on caribou carcass across broad part of river—presently, Art comes back—he decides to take telephoto pictures of birds of prey—starts grinding away. Suddenly, birds take wing in big hurry. Seconds later, Art and I astounded to see gray wolf on scene—goes to carcass, begins feeding. Art; takes pictures like madman—ecstasy written on his face. He gets excellent photos—I, through Art’s field glasses, watch wolf rip caribou apart and gorge. Very impressive scene of raw nature.
Wolf: Big as St. Bernard—called gray (or timber) wolf, even though same color as police dog—muzzle not snarly, long, or cruel—teeth not curving or gleaming like scimitar—wolf had fairly short snout—even looks friendly—just like any other German shepherd, except bigger.
Wolf ate much of carcass—then got scent of humans—looked around—went back to eating—repeated cautious procedure—finally, he trotted off behind ridge. Gulls come back and continue feeding. I was very impressed. Art almost shaking with joy—we had cigarette, then joined others at head of 3rd rapid. Lunch time, so we beach canoes and stretch out in warm sun.
Others had also seen wolf, so they didn’t wonder at our prolonged absence—they figured (and rightly) that Art must be having field day with movie camera.
3rd rapids long, very powerful—big waves caused by big rocks—Art decided to take more rapids-shooting flics after lunch. I, too, got pictures of Skip shooting down channel—took picture of Pete’s red canoe for Art with Art’s Leica camera—also took pictures of frost-reddened dwarf birch cover, and of eskimo stone “man” at head of rapid where we ate lunch.
Then comes our turn to run rapids—we shift some load to stern—makes bow ride lighter if we get sucked into big waves.
I sit farther back, on a box aft of my seat—we shove off, taking entire rapids as far right as possible.
We miss first set of big waves in good shape—then, bang!, we muck up and hit second series almost head on—I begin sliding around on my precarious perch—cannot paddle effectively, as all efforts bent on merely remaining in canoe. I go way up in air; come crashing down—bow sends up geysers of white spray as canoe smacks into trough of 4-foot beauties—then up again, a sickening mid-air pause,…and crunch back down into another wave.
Bow, lighter than usual, does good job of not digging in—but finally, two big waves in succession is more than buoyancy can cope with and we take in a couple gallons—luckily, this series of waves is over with and we dash madly along through churning foam, water and rocks—1/4 mile or so farther down. We again get tossed into breakers—take in spray and splash, but no solid water—Art decides to stop and dump water halfway through rapids—we pull into an eddy near shore (furious paddling keeps us from becoming land-borne locomotive)—I jump out in ankle-deep water and we unload our canoe in jig time—find we have only shipped 2 or 3 inches of water—we roll canoe over, dump water out, have cigarette, load, and are on our way, again.
Rest of rapids not bad—just question of missing a few big rocks. River very swift—banks getting steeper as we approach gorge leading into Grant Lake. Above banks (some of which are made up of coarse gravel and small rocks) land is billiard-table flat. At this point, river just cuts right into ground.
At end of rapids, we see other 2 canoes—Pete, too, took water and his load is spread out in sun, drying—Bruce had gotten soaked and had changed outfit—Skip was out, scouting around. Somewhere nearby, the Dubawnt River contracts and shoulders down a narrow gorge before flowing into Grant Lake. In the course of 2 ½ miles it drops 100 feet—needless to say, no canoe could ever shoot this rapids—Two small, fairly short rapids and the ever-increasing height of the steeply sloped banks tell us we are near the head of the 2 ½-mile rapids.
We land—I get pictures of miniature Grand Canyon river makes—to northwest we notice black bands of storm clouds.
Finally, Skip comes back with news that the 2 smaller rapids are negotiable and that Tyrrell’s map of this stretch of river is accurate—we decide to run these rapids and camp at good site Skip found at this end of long portage into Grant. He said could see the lake shimmering like turquoise in distance.
Out on river again, were suddenly caught by very strong northwest wind. Even in rapids did not go very fast. After shooting first of 2 rapids, wind too bad for further progress—had to camp on ancient flood plain on northwest shore of river—in stretch of swift water between the 2 rapids (both of which we can see from camp). We are now 1 mile south of portage, on opposite bank.
Landing canoes in eddies difficult because of rocks—feet again get wet—wind and slimy rocks = bad combination.
Lots dwarf birch around (tallest being 6 inches high)—since have only enough gas for maybe 6-10 more meals; decided to use birch to cook last of caribou glop. 5 guys hunting wood, breaking it up; 1 guy cooking and stoking fire—dinner preparation takes hellish long time—had chocolate pudding, 10 cups tea for dessert.
Camped on flat ground—old river flood plain—to northwest is low, craggy cliffs, crevices among which we have set up tents for protection vs. wind—even so, tent really bangs around.
At present camp site, noticed at least 2 old eskimo tent rings—will investigate and maybe get pictures tomorrow, if sun comes out.
Note: These are circles of boulders that anchored the bottoms of caribou-hide shelters used by the eskimos. They are fitted closely together and form a circle perhaps 10 feet in diameter. The eskimos used caribou tents in the summer and also in winter when they couldn’t find proper snow for an igloo. These rings must be quite old, as eskimos haven’t been coming this far south for more than a hundred years—also, these rocks are completely overgrown with lichens and mosses.
After dinner, wind howled and shrilled dismally through the rocks and shrubs around our ravenous campfire—very lonely, far-away-from-home sound. No rain yet, despite low, swirling clouds. Brewed more tea—sat around fire until 11 P.M.—then, to tent, one last weed, hit sack at 11:30.

Thursday, September 1 – Camp #41 (same).

Woke up 8:15—breakfast 9:30—sparse eats—only oatmeal and roe—howling gale from northwest battered tent all night—during breakfast rain came up—damned miserable day—cold, rainy, blowing to beat hell—retired to sleeping bag right after eating—stayed there all morning, writing, sleeping, smoking, cursing the weather.
Art left tent at 12:30 to fix lunch—took him ‘til 3:30 to boil up enough water for thin chicken-noodle soup—also ate one ‘tack with cheese—very unsatisfactory lunch—hungry as hell all P.M.
After lunch, crawled back into tent—much water on floor and sides—slept more, memorized ballads, cursed weather. Around dinnertime emerged long enough to help gather dwarf birch for cook-fire—lean pickings. Found 2 more tent rings near camp, making total of 4. These rings are 8 feet diameter.
Fish chowder for dinner—consisted of 3 Arctic char (almost like lake trout—very tasty) and macaroni—hot chocolate dessert—wind still blowing. To northwest see small streak orange sky—good weather maybe?—very slight sunset—sacked out early—wind still a-blowin’—had to shut air vents and tie up storm door to keep rain out, heat in—gets smoky as telephone booth when both Art and I smoke—but what the hell?

Friday, September 2 – Camp #41 (same).

It would be hard indeed for anyone who is now warm, dry, and comfortable at home to imagine our great joy at seeing even a streak of sunny blue sky!
Woke up 9:30 A.M. this morning—gale howling, throwing intermittent showers of drizzle and rain down on buffeting and leaking tents. Wind had shifted to east and we were completely unprotected against the savage gusts—I expected at any moment to hear a screaming rip as the battered cloth gave way, leaving me and my sleeping bag alone on the ground, while Art and the remaining shreds went spinning off through the air.
Miserable, foul, shit, crap—no words too foul to be found for this morning’s weather. I read, wrote, slept, scrunched deeper into my sleeping bag, and watched drops of water trickle from ceiling to floor.
By around noon, Pete, for some ungodly reason, started to walk over to his canoe. A strong gust hit. Pete blinked, watched with popping eyeballs as his red canoe went sailing a hundred yards through the air, landed with a thump, and skittered along the mossy ground with the wind. From the recesses of my sleeping bag, I heard Pete’s voice borne on the wind—“Hey, everybody, the canoes are blowing away!”
I pulled on my Levi’s, not bothering to button them all the way, slapped on a pair of sneakers, and threw on my poncho on my way out through a tangle of mosquito netting. Art, too, was dressing, but he seemed in no great hurry, even as he urged me on in tones of direst emergency.
By the time I got out of the tent, Bruce and Pete had carried the red canoe to a safer position, and I held it down while the packs and boxes were brought over and put under it—it was raining hard now and the drops were going through my poncho—my arms and legs were soaking and cold water ran down the back of my neck.
At length, Art appeared—our gray canoe was at a better angle to the wind and showed no signs of becoming airborne (the same was true of Skip’s green canoe)—anyway, we decided to move our canoe around slightly to be more perpendicular to the gusts—after this was done, and the canoe thwarts had been tied to some of our heavier packs, I ran back to the lee of our tent and removed my still dry socks. Just then, Skip hollered that lunch was ready (we had not eaten breakfast) so I rolled up my pants under the poncho and beat my way over to the pitifully small and comfortless fire—a pot of oats lay on the ground—a sheet of rainwater covered the contents—they were barely warm—I hunted all over hell-and-gone to find a bowl and spoon—the others stood around, water running off their hands and noses into bowls they were trying to shield.
I filled my bowl to the brim and knelt, facing the wind, behind a low, wet rock—I choked down the oats as fast as I could, not bothering with milk or sugar—By the time I was ready for my second portion, everyone else had had his, so I grabbed the large kettle, put it behind a rock, and poured milk and sugar over what remained. It was almost impossible to pour the milk, as the wind caught it and sprayed it all over everywhere—same with the sugar.
After gobbling down and scraping out all the mush, I turned my back to the wind and blew straight back to the tent, belching and burping as I went.
I quickly removed my soaking clothes and dove headlong into the dry and warm sleeping bag, where I stayed for a couple of hours, restoring warmth to my numbed limbs….
And now it is almost 4 o’clock and the sun shines into the soggy tent! Guys are running around outside as though this was the greatest day ever invented—they are laughing, joking, hauling out their waterlogged belongings and spreading them out in the sun—their voices are carried this way by a friendly south wind. Art is babbling happily to Bruce outside our tent, about a monster fish-chowder dinner—Bruce is running off to get his rod and reel—even George is collecting scraps of dwarf birch for the dinner fire—I too must go—I have not yet washed the lunch dishes!
Later: Finally emerged from cocoon into warmth—felt like doing jig—instead; cleaned fish Bruce was catching right and left, washed greasy pots, dishes in cold water, scrounged firewood—clouds building up in southwest and west—really fierce and deadly looking!
Art took flics of tent rings—got dinner on fire quite late—managed to squeeze 7 good-sized fish into glop pot—added 1 packet Lipton dehydrated chicken-noodle soup, 6 “oxo” cubes, I can dehydrated onions, salt, pepper, and small amount of water. Fish chowder mostly fish, little chowder—my hands, clothes smell of fish from cleaning them—got fish blood on parka, face, hands—found some roe.
While working on first bowlful of chowder, heavy shower crashes onto camp—dove under green canoe with Bruce—shower all over by time I am ready for second helping—second and third bowlfuls eaten with gusto, smacking of lips, and spitting out of bones. For dessert, chocolate pudding—because today I am dishwasher to nation, I get to lick pudding pot—lots left over—really go to town—then, chug down 4 cups tea, get big bellyache and feel stuffed plumb to the chops, but only for a few minutes until roaring appetite reasserts self.
Bruce too full to roast extra fish (he caught 2 extra, one for me, one for him, to roast later in evening) so he gives it to Skip to boil for breakfast—grudgingly, I do same and kick self for doing so. I had been looking forward to an after-dinner roast-em-up on wood Bruce and I gathered for the occasion—could have kicked Bruce for getting too stuffed to eat more.
More clouds coming up, soon to obscure full moon—huge but faint arc of northern lights visible overhead and to the north.
Howling storm hits again—this time son of a bitch rolls in from southwest—blows right into tent through doorway. One frigid sea gull standing out on rocks, waiting to scavenge fish viscera.
Tent lousily located for comfortable sleeping—I got big rock to beat head on if not careful, so have squeezed air mattress between it and Art’s, giving him less than half of tent—besides am sleeping on slant and with feet above head—Art keeps bitching about my taking up too much room—I keep telling him maybe next time he let me pick place to put tent (this pisses him off, especially because I give him the same line every time he complains).

Directory for the items of Lanouette’s journal.
The limit of 60,000 characters required eight posts.
Post 1 of 8. 16 June to 1 July. ... 81&t=46535
Post 2 of 8. 2 July to 16 July. ... 81&t=46555
Post 3 of 8. 17 July to 28 July. ... 81&t=46557
Post 4 of 8. 29 July to 7 August. ... 81&t=46561
Post 5 of 8. 8 August to 20 August. ... 81&t=46610
Post 6 of 8. 21 August to 2 September. ... 81&t=46696
Post 7 of 8. 3 September to 10 September. ... 81&t=46737
Post 8 of 8. 11 September to 16 September. ... 81&t=46738


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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