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PostPosted: May 17th, 2018, 7:08 am 

Joined: January 22nd, 2005, 12:16 pm
Posts: 4044
Location: Toronto
Journal of Moffatt-party participant Lanouette.
Post 7. 3 September to 10 September.

Copyright to all the following belongs to the Lanouette family.

Saturday, September 3 – Camp #41 (same, goddam it all to hell and back!).

Helluva job getting sack time last night—Art toss, turn, bounce around, take piss-calls, light up cigarette, kick me in air mattress, breathe loudly in my eardrums until he falls asleep, around 1 A.M. with his right elbow playing tic-tack-toe on my ribs. By this time, I am thoroughly awake, so I nudge him in ribs every time he snores, light up my own self-rolled-in-dark cigarette, and blow smoke in his face—this only makes him snore louder, so I consider cramming sock down his gizzard.
Then I get “call of the wilds” and jostle outdoors to empty 10-gallon capacity bladder. Wind blowing loudly and shrilly as any preacher at revival meeting—crawl back inside, being careful to kick Art every foot of the way until I am again squeezed into bent-corkscrew shape to fit into my part of tent.
I lay awake long time thinking and day-dreaming about Molly, “Zeus,” Dartmouth, DKE house, and wild blasts to come when I get back to college. Also, thoughts wander to sauerkraut, beans and hot dogs, and cans of Klim I will consume at Baker Lake.
Also mentally compose radiograms to send Dad, Dean McDonald, and draft board; telling them I will have to wait until freeze-up to “mush” down to Churchill with sled dogs. Only thing that worries me is that Dad may blow his stack when he learns of my very late arrival.
In 12 days RCMP starts search for “Six Americans Feared Lost on Expedition.” Actually, Art figures they won’t do much for another couple of weeks, if they do anything at all. But I have a hunch they will be more than a little annoyed at our failure to arrive at Baker Lake on the September 15 deadline. Art is not one to rush to Baker just to make Canadian government happy. George and I figure late arrival will stir up publicity for Art and that he is not going to kill himself or any of us in a mad, 200-mile dash to Baker Lake if he can help it.
He jokingly admitted earlier in trip that he could be sure to sell a story if one of us got swallowed by a bear—however, having as yet seen no bears, letting the folks around Norwich, VT stew a little may be the next best thing. After all, who wouldn’t beat a path to the auditorium to see and hear an “explorer” who “against all odds, beat his way out of Canada’s wild barrenlands just as winter’s icy maw was about to clutch him”? Look what it did for Ernie Hemmingway and his “bunch of bananas and a bottle of gin!” They even wrote a song about it!
Woke up 7:30, by Art hollering to Skip to get breakfast. Winds from northwest blowing at tent—low, fog-like clouds of mist sprinkle on the tent and sound like gravel. Breakfast of oats, raisins, 2 boiled fish, roe, and 4 cups of tea—eaten amid clouds of mist that collect on our windward sides and form water drops that spatter onto the slippery, moss-covered rocks around cooking area—very bleak, somber, cheerless day—everyone dressed to the hilt in parkas, long-johns, mittens, and ear-protecting caps, hats, hoods, and towels. I left my mittens in the tent to eat breakfast, and my hands were soon cold and numb—damn near dropped a bowl of oats (that would really have been a disaster, as far as I am concerned).
After the fish (excellent tasting) I turned my back to the wind and swigged down 4 cups of tea and listened to the droplets slamming against the back of my parka hood. Then…the fire was out…Art and I were the only ones still outside—I because I didn’t feel like moving, and Art because he was busy worrying what’s left of his sugar ration (one big, damp lump) into the dregs of a cup of lukewarm, coffee-black tea.
Wind blowing, feet rapidly cooling off—I came back to the tent—now I am writing this, after spending 15 or 20 minutes breathing into my cupped hands to thaw them enough to function. I am still bundled in my parka and lying on top of my sleeping bag. My breath is condensing and white puffs stream down onto the pages of this journal as I write—my cold feet can get no colder without freezing, but because the temperature is not yet near freezing, I have nothing to worry about except the discomfort of plain, garden variety, cold feet. The rest of me is comfortable enough, even though I am cramped from lying in one position for so long—Art came into the tent about an hour ago and has just left it again, to brew up soup with scraps from yesterday’s wood-scrounging efforts—we are now being intermittently bathed in clouds of wind-whipped mist and fleeting patches of sunlight.
Notes: Art had a very significant and interesting dream yesterday afternoon, just before the sun came out—it goes somewhat as follows: He and the rest of us were standing around on a frozen lake (presumably somewhere on the barrenlands) looking intently at some beautiful and delicately-wrought eskimo or Indian artifacts made of ice. Meanwhile, he had found a tent ring, also made of ice, and was standing at its center. Suddenly, the inside of the ring broke loose and started to drift away. From the small floe on which he stood, Art looked down into the widening gap of crystal-clear, cold, green water. There, on the bottom, he saw, very clearly, a mound of caribou bones, and on the top of this pile, he saw a gray canoe—empty.
Meanwhile, his wife, Carol, standing in the sun on the non-icy shore of the lake, kept beckoning to him and telling him to hurry up and get to shore—but he, and the rest of us, paid no attention to her and continued looking at the icy artifacts. Every now and then, we would excitedly call to one another as we found new treasures in the snow!
I think that this dream, and the fact that Art is again beginning to long for his home, wife, and children, and is eager to see how the carpenter has progressed on building his study, may soon be the cause of much fast travel. Art, and the rest of us are, in varying degrees, creatures of the weather—what the weather does certainly affects our psychological make up.
After a bad spell, like the one we are now enduring, Art will suddenly panic at the thought of being caught by the deadly winter (deadly for us who don’t know how to survive it, that is), and for the next few days, we will bend hell out of the paddles in urgent haste to lessen the gap between us and Baker Lake. Then, after a couple of warm, sunny days, Art will completely (it seems) forget his fears and we dawdle happily around, waste time, and drag our feet…until, once again, a stretch of storm clips us upside the head. Then Art puts away his cameras, takes out his maps, and predicts a frozen and hungry end to the expedition.
Right now, he has reached a new low of despondency, and I’ll be damned if he hasn’t started talking about portaging into Grant Lake from here. Not being much given to “alarums and excursions in the night,” I rebel at this idea for more than one reason: First of all, we are on the wrong side of the river. The regular portage, from the other side, is 2½ miles long—longer than the Chipman Portage. If we portage from here, we will be on the outside curve of the river and will add at least another quarter mile to what is already a formidable jaunt. To make things even more absurd, we are still a mile or so above where the regular portage begins (besides, again, being on the wrong side). In addition, should the portage be attempted from here, it would make the “rocky road to heaven” seem like the NY state thruway by comparison. This, the outwash side of the river, is littered with boulders, bogs, and streamlets. The other side, is comparatively easy, with few, if any, such obstructions. Then, too, there is the ever-present drizzle…
Winter’s rapid approach has become apparent to us all—ever since we woke up to a morning of frost, to be exact. The winds from the Northern quarter grow a bit colder with every storm—the storms themselves have been getting increasingly violent. The winds, whistling across the tawny and reddened leaves of the Barrenlands ground cover, have the cold, empty, lonely ring of winter. We are gradually wearing more and more clothing when sack-time rolls around—the winds from the south no longer herald the taking off of shirts for a day’s paddle—the evenings and nights have become less friendly—so much so that some of us are no longer drinking all the tea we can hold just before bedtime—fewer birds now fly southbound—a lot of fish we catch have a layer of fat under their skin and along their backbones…the fish roe is ripening—young birds, born this summer, are flying and feeding on their own…caribou pelts are thickening and becoming longer…
Later (4:30?) Lunch of 2 cups soup and 2 ‘tacks (jam and cheese) is over—wind shifted back to north—still as strong as ever—clouds of mist even blacker than this morning—feet still cold—lunch grim affair—almost got into argument with Skip over nothing at all. Will read until maybe sun comes out—then gather more wood.
Later – Cold rain showers all afternoon—but also splashes of feeble and comforting sunlight—clouds have a brownish-yellow tint to them, making them seem weird and unworldly.
Did not need to gather wood—Skip and Pete found enough dried driftwood about a mile from here to last a couple of meals anyway. Instead, I spent a couple of hours dumping rocks into the river to make a jetty so that Art and I won’t have to get wet feet wading the canoe out into deeper water at 4:30 in the morning (the latest “plan” gets us up at this cool hour to cross the river with minimal wind. But we will have to make 2 portages--#2 rapids, plus the long “Gorge” Rapids).
While gathering fuel, Skip found a very interesting artifact—a bowed and weathered strip of wood 3 or 4 feet long and an inch or so wide. It has many holes in it—a couple of these still hold very old, hand-made, square, crude nails. The wood looks as though it may once have been part of the circular rim enclosure of an eskimo kayak—Skip is saving this memento. Also, this morning, Art found what might be a spearhead made of milky quartz. (Other than these—and the rings—we have found very few artifacts because moss and lichens cover this old campsite).
Dinner, amidst freezing rain that tinked against the pots and pans, consisted of a bully beef-fish-macaroni glop, with curry, and 4 cups hot chocolate—I sacked soon after—but before sacking, George, Pete, and I each cleaned a fish (in the dark) that Pete had caught before supper. Our hands were so cold we could barely force our knives to cut through the fish’s “neck” bone—I had to use both hands. Bruce, doing dishes, could not bear down hard enough on steel wool to clean the greasy glop pot thoroughly.
Weird clouds; hazy and with indistinct edges, brightly lit by a full moon at intervals, before we sacked out.
Sunday, September 4 – Camp #42 (2miles NE camp #41 – head of “Gorge Rapids” on East bank Dubawnt River).

Art and I awoke at 4:30 A.M.—I scrambled out of my warm, comfortable sleeping bag into bitter, cold air to relieve myself, looked up at the ominous clouds, noticed the wind was still up to par, and lost little time in hustling back indoors—Art asked if the ground was frozen yet…I said “no.” He told me his feet were icy cold and that he couldn’t get them warm—I grunted sympathetically from the depths of my sleeping bag (it was all I could manage at that hour)—he asked about the weather and I mumbled my report—then, back to sleep.
I had a peculiar sort of dream-nightmare: The whole gang was camped for the summer on a barren little island near Hoboken N.J., or some such place—the only fuel we could find were some semi-petrified railroad ties—I tried to start a cook fire and poured lighter-fluid on them, spilling some on my legs—my legs caught fire (I don’t remember that the ties did, however), but my trousers didn’t burn, so I figured I was alright. Several weeks later, however, when I next removed my pants, I was amazed to see that my legs had burned almost to the bone and that gangrene had long been active—I ran to a hospital and the doctors there said that amputation was imperative—I woke up, relieved to find this was only a dream.
Breakfast at nine, and our oats, boiled fish, roe, and tea were eaten amid snow flurries—Skip said he found a half inch of ice in the water pail—Bruce and I cheerfully sang Christmas-type songs and cracked jokes about the cold—the others remained glum and silent—Pete asked Art if it was true that the barrenlands Fall came here one day and Winter the next—Art said it was true and that we were fast getting to that time when Winter closes in with a rush—more such talk.
(Note: Yesterday P.M., Bruce and Skip took an empty canoe across the river to scout #2 rapids and see if they could find the tremendous gorge Tyrrell reports as the river plunges toward Grant Lake—they said they found the gorge, and that it was very impressive—I call this rapids “Gorge Rapids”).
After a very substantial breakfast, Art took movies of us huddled around with the snow showering down (wind, slight, gusty – from the north – clouds; scattered, broken, bringing snow squalls at intervals). Then, I went back to my rock jetty and found it half submerged (apparently, the river had risen 3 or 4 inches during the night, perhaps because the wind eased and because of yesterday’s rain). I threw on more rocks and soon had the thing back in good shape.
We shoved off around noon during a snow squall and grey-black skies—made it to the other bank—Pete and Art reconnoitered the rapids—Skip, who had looked it over yesterday, went right on through—he bounced over a few big waves in the channel he had chosen (right of center), but, luckily he and Bruce remained dry.
Sun came out—Pete and George ran #2 hugging right bank—water- shallow, swift, but few waves—they too managed a “dry” run—Art and I followed last, hugging the bank—we, too, made it in good shape. We then swooped downstream to within 100 yards of Gorge Rapids and pulled ashore in a small eddy—we unloaded and hauled our supplies up the steep, mossy bank where the others waited. The clouds were now rapidly dissipating and much blue sky could be seen.
Ate lunch then loaded up (I carried the yellow box, my rifle, the axe, and the wooden poles to be used as splints if we break a limb). We all went together so Art could get action flics—at first the going was soggy from the thaw run off—got feet damp. From the beginning of the portage we could see Grant Lake shimmering like a huge turquoise in the distance—very beautiful sight. We walked until we suddenly came to the lip of the gorge as it slashed down a hundred feet or so to the river—there, before us, in foaming green splendor gushed the wildest, most powerful stretch of water I have ever seen! Some of the waves rose 10-15 feet high; pure white with emerald green water rushing in at the base to keep them churning in magnificent fury. The sound from the depths of the gorge was like that of a giant locomotive—deafening—the ground seemed to tremble as the full force of the river, now squeezed to a 50-yard plunging channel through massive black walls, smashed against a few jutting cliffs. The spectacle was awesome and the huge sucking waves were almost hypnotic to watch as they built up and then crested and crashed with a roar. I took many pictures—so did Art—the rest of the portage took us along the rim—this was the shortest 2 ½ mile portage I ever imagined. In no time we were at its end, about half a mile above Grant (we will shoot the tail end of this rapids where the river broadens out before it reaches the lake).
More wet going near the end of the portage, but not too bad.
I got back to camp around 6:30—put up the tent, and gleaned a few birch scraps—Skip made a watery and tasteless glop of fish and bully beef—very unsatisfactory—too soupy—didn’t put in enough salt—chocolate pudding for dessert.
It is now 11:45: moon out—dark streak to north—ice on canoe bottom, where dew has collected—in tent, right hand almost too numb with cold (from holding flashlight) to roll a cigarette—consequently much tobacco spilled—can see breath in flashlight beam—drank 6 cups black tea—now must brave cold to get rid of some of it. Guys in good spirits now that we are across river and have a good way to warm up by making pleasant portage—2 small fish for breakfast tomorrow in addition to oats—too bad, no roe.
Art now raising roof with great, bellowing snores—will have to kick his ribs if I’m to get any sleep—will put on dry socks now at the bottom of sleeping bag—damp ones I’m wearing will be stashed under my butt to dry off for morning.

Monday, September 5 – Camp #43 (1/2 mile east of Grant Lake – end of “Gorge Rapids”).

Saw a huge, fairly bright arc of Northern Lights running east-west and slightly north of us—a string of lights ran in the same direction under it, making the whole thing look like a giant, strung bow running from horizon to horizon—cold as hell, though, so I didn’t linger long to admire it.
Slept well—called to breakfast around 9 A.M.—saw the ¼-inch sheet of ice Skip had taken from the water bucket lying unmelted on the ground—Art said we had a heavy frost during the night—the ground cover was wet. Skies partly overcast with puffy cumulous clouds—some sun—also a high, milky overcast—wind, what there is of it, from the north.
After eating and having a cigarette or two over coffee, we started packing again—my first trip included the lunch pack, crammed with 25 pounds of bully beef, and all the food for our lunches. The white “kitchen” box sat atop this load.
Because of the frost, the ground was wet in places, and my feet were soon damp—made 2 rest stops—tripped over a rock once, but nothing got damaged. Pete, Skip, Bruce, George, and I made the hike within a few minutes of one another—Art tagged far behind, carrying the gray canoe.
We all, except Art, went back to camp #42 and sat around for awhile before loading up for the second trip of the day—then, because all our food was at the other end of the portage, and it was almost noon, we went back over. Art was just then coming into camp (he took 3 loads over today—at least part of the way).
After lunch, Pete, Skip, and I set up our new camp while Bruce went gunning for a caribou and George went back to get Art’s last load in an effort to hurry things along. (Art was still half an hour or so from the new camp). Pete, Skip, and I found usably dry dwarf birch near camp and brought in enough to cook for a day or so.
Later, Pete caught 4 lake trout—one was a huge 15 pounder and will go into tonight’s glop—the others will probably wait for breakfast.
Bruce shot another young doe—he had a hard time getting her—used 8 rounds and chased after her through swamps and little streams for over a mile—finally, as she was about to swim across a lake, Bruce waded in after her, up to his knees, and finished her off with a bullet in the neck. He, George, and Skip are now getting back to camp, bringing the butchered doe with them. I’m more than normally ravenous tonight and it’s all I can do to keep from drooling while Art cooks up the chowder. Walked about 7 ½ miles today—not too tired though. Had a few rain showers late this P.M.—weather still looks bleak.
Later: Ate a rather unsatisfying dinner of chowder—also had a large steak of fish apiece, but still lots of room left for more—hot cocoa for dessert—ate quite late—almost dark by time meal over—most everyone sacked right after eating—Skip and I stayed up a little longer boiling caribou heart (which, incidentally, is delicious)—a rain squall dampened us while we sat by the fire—I sacked soon after—had brief argument with Art over my flashlight—Art is using the tent tarp to cover his sleeping bag in an effort to keep warm.
Weather at bedtime still cold, unpromising.

Tuesday, September 6 – Camp #44 – (Mouth Chamberlin River – west shore Grant Lake).

Up at 8:30 for breakfast. Weather bad as ever—only 2 changes: wind a lot stronger and today was colder than yesterday—I thought Art was joking when he announced at breakfast we would be shoving on—not so, however. He managed to waste a couple of hours after eating by fooling around in the tent—this angered Skip and, later in the day, they had words about it.
While Pete and Skip shot the tail of the rapids, Art decided he needed to warm up and announced that he and I would portage another couple hundred yards downriver—this pissed me off, especially because I would wind up making most of the portage by myself. The others were already out of sight around a point at the river mouth (which is about ½ mile wide here). By the time we loaded our gray canoe—Skip and Pete both made small holes in their canoes when running the rapids.
Once on the lake, we were struck by the full force of the waves stirred up by the strong northwest wind and the river’s current as it flowed into the lake. Art bitched at me because I took a couple of minutes to make a waterproof apron of my poncho and we lost a little headway by my not paddling. When splashes and wave crests started coming in over the bow I swore at him for griping at me—by now I was thoroughly annoyed with friend Art.
Paddling was next to impossible—it took 45 minutes to cross the river mouth. I took off my parka and rolled up my right sleeve so my lower arm and hand were exposed to cold water and freezing wind (we had a shower of freezing rain while portaging)—I was mighty uncomfortable and swore more at Art for breaking up camp on a day like this—he did not respond.
Finally, we saw the other 2 canoes beached in the lee of a sandy bluff—while landing, Art insisted we get as close to Skip’s canoe as possible—from where I sat at the bow, I could see rocks where Art wanted to land, and told him so three times—he paid no attention and kept hollering for me to pull the bow in as close to Skip as possible—this, for me, was the last straw—shouting that I’d “pull his sorry ass halfway back to Stony Rapids,” I leaped out of the canoe and began to drag it over the rocks as hard as I could—Skip came over and pushed me away. “Take a walk and cool off,” he said. The canoe finally wound up beached about 25 yards from Skip’s; and I walked up a little gully to collect dwarf birch for heating tea.
In addition to the 3 ‘tacks per man for lunch, we also had 14 dried apricots apiece, a slice of tongue, and I had 5 cups of tea.
The wind did not die down after lunch, so we decided to struggle on up the west coast (we have only about 8 miles of paddling on Grant) to see if we could reach the Dubawnt river by nightfall. Art said we might also camp at the Chamberlin River (about 4 miles up the coast) because, according to Tyrrell, willow groves grow along the river.
The wind made paddling extremely difficult, although waves didn’t bother us much, because we paddled close to the sloping shore. This time I wore my parka and mittens on both hands—the heavy jacket, along with the wind, forced me to adopt a new stroke, and this, too, was tiring.
Paddling along, we saw 3 or 4 caribou carcasses on the beach—some still had meat on their bones, and a big white gull chewed at one of them. About 2 miles north of our lunch stop, we spotted a huge, dark form about ¼ of a mile inland—Art at first thought it was a musk ox, and leaped for his cameras, even though the light was poor—a second look revealed this was no musk ox—it was a huge Barrenground Grizzly (Ursus horribilis), clawing away at some berry bushes. Now even more excited, Art leaped ashore the instant we touched, not noticing he was in water up to his ankles—he and Skip rushed ashore with cameras—the rest of us stood by in the canoes, partly because we were told to, and partly because we wanted to prepare for a hasty getaway if the bear charged—(Note: Ursus horribilis is less afraid of man than his lesser “relations”—he is known to consider man a delectable morsel and often charges with very slight provocation—this bear was huge—we tried to find paw prints after he left, to measure them, but couldn’t—like other grizzlies, this one had a large hump on his back, above his shoulders).
The wind was “with” us when we landed, and, at first the bear did not notice us. Art and Skip went inland a few hundred feet and began taking pictures—then, suddenly, the bear sensed our presence, looked up, went back to his berrying; looked up again—now he saw us moving and his curiosity was really aroused. This time he stood up on his hind legs and looked directly at us for more than a minute—not satisfied, he lumbered closer and stood again. By this time those of us in the canoes began to twitch nervously, and we reached for the paddles. As we sat and watched, the bear suddenly charged directly at us. Art, who had been fumbling with the camera, looked up just in time to see him charge, then he and Skip fell back toward the canoes.
After coming about 50 yards closer, the bear stopped and stood up again—he must have been more than 7 feet high—he then lumbered in our direction once again—this time I shoved off into slightly deeper water, though, as it later turned out, I was still practically aground. Bruce, too, shoved with his paddle, but his canoe was hard aground and did not budge—he almost jumped out to wade his canoe out, but sat down again when the bear stopped short. Pete had dislodged his canoe in a hurry, and both he and I were hanging onto the stern of Skip’s canoe.
Our ammunition, tucked away in the packs, was not easily reachable if the bear came much closer—I ran over a plan of action in my mind: If the grizzly charged again, I’d jump overboard, shove the canoe out, and paddle like six furies, when Art caught up. Then, if I still was not fast enough, I would grab our axe and pound away at the bear’s head or neck as he swam alongside. (Not a pleasant alternative to contemplate.)
Then the grizzly changed course to the left, toward a low point about 100 yards south of us—this time he did not charge—now downwind, he stopped, stood up again, and then, fully satisfied as to what we were, he took off to the southwest and soon disappeared over a ridge (the grizzly supposedly can outrun a horse)—at any rate he really high-tailed it away after picking up our scent.
I breathed a lot easier seeing his retreating hind end, and was soon again aware of the cold northwest wind.
Before coming back to the canoe, Art flushed several ptarmigan and diddled around for an hour or so, to get pictures of them—and Pete realized he left his knife back at our lunch stop. So while he walked back to get it, George shot 3 ptarmigan—he and Skip skun and gutted them.
Eventually, we shoved on up the coast a couple more miles until we came to the mouth of the Chamberlin—it was quite wide and very shallow near the lake—its north bank was a very steep and high gravelly hill—to the west rose another formidable hill—we went up the mouth of the river about a quarter mile and camped on a rocky beach on the south bank—from camp, we could not quite see the willow groves Tyrrell mentions (Pete, who later walked farther upriver, said some of the willows he saw stood 10 feet high). But we did find lots of dried driftwood near camp so, except for Pete, none of us went to the willow grove—as it turned out, the wood in this grove was green anyway.
The wind dropped completely during dinner and the skies became almost entirely clear—Dinner: fried caribou, mashed potatoes, chocolate pudding and tea.
(Note) At the highest part of the embankment across the river (which runs along the watercourse as far as can be seen from the mouth) someone has built a cairn or marker—its topmost rock is large and triangular, clearly visible from camp.

Wednesday, September 7 – Camp #45 (North end Grant Lake at entrance to Dubawnt River – East shore, slightly south of large esker).

Solid sheet of clouds from southwest spread over us during night, but by breakfast most of it had dissipated and we anticipated a fair day with a favoring tail wind.
Breakfast was great! Oats, lots of liver, plenty of tea.
As I was rolling up sleeping bag after breakfast, I and the others saw 2 large white wolves looking down on us from near the cairn across the river—Art got pictures.
Just as the gray and red canoes were loaded and ready to shove off, (Skip’s green canoe, still on its side so Skip could repair a cracked rib) a rain squall blew in, so we made a shelter out of his canoe and the tarp—we all squeezed under it while shower after shower came over from the southwest.
Finally we ate lunch (3 ‘tacks and tongue), and by 1:30, the weather improved enough to allow us to shove off, even though we could see more squalls forming behind us.
The wind shifted more to the west soon after and picked up force—paddling became tough—Art and I were bow heavy and had a high, sail-like load because we had filled one of our empty duffles with firewood—bow kept yawing and broaching into the wind—I had to paddle on left side and was soon bushed because not used to it.
Ahead, loomed a huge esker, about 200-300 feet high, that had been carved into a wave-cut and terraced mountain by prehistoric flood waters. (Note: We have seen this mountain from the beginning of the “Gorge Rapids” portage—it is by far the most outstanding landmark in the area).
As we struggled into the entrance to the river, we suddenly saw 5 red objects on a beach about a mile north of us. Art, looking at them through his glasses, said they appeared to be the barrels of a gas cache—100 yards or so from them, on a low cliff stood a white object that looked like a small mountain tent. Art hesitated. He did not want to go directly to the campsite, so we paddled closer, but from the opposite side of the wide river until the wind got so bad it nearly blew us across anyway.
We finally made it to the lee side of a red-sand beach and hauled the canoes up. George, Bruce, Pete, and I went directly over to what looked like the tent—we were overjoyed and shouted happily to find that the tent was actually 4 cases of assorted, dehydrated vegetables—24 large cans of chopped carrots, string beans, spinach, cabbage, and beets!
We knew immediately this was one of Ray Moore’s sites—copies of fairly recent magazines, empty egg cartons, empty butter tins, old grapefruit cans, squeezed out toothpaste tubes—the refuse around an air-supplied camp—the red drums, containing outboard motor fuel and aviation gas, were nearly empty—even though airplane fuel is leaded, we filled our 5-gallon can with it to use for cooking in an emergency (leaded fuel clogs a Coleman stove, and we will use this only after we run out of naptha gas and wood).
After a few minute’s hesitation, we decided to take advantage of the food cache. Certainly we could put to good use the food to supplement our rapidly dwindling supplies. We also felt sure Ray Moore had left the food for us. (Art had talked to him last spring and Ray said he could probably leave us a little food or gas, if he had any extra). We also felt this food was not to supply another party as, by now, the season was late and everyone should be back at Stony Rapids—Besides, the food cache was marked with white cloth clearly visible to us as we came up from the south; the cloth would not be visible from any other direction.
As we were loading, a heavy rain squall bore down on us from the west, so we spread tarps over the loaded canoes, and ducked under Pete’s canoe (which had been unloaded for the purpose).
After it passed, we decided there were so many good campsites around, we might soon call it a day—we paddled a quarter mile or so through a gap in a sand ridge to a small lake sheltered from westerly weather. (see map at end of entry)—The site was very beautiful—we are in a small lagoon—with sand hills running north-south to our west—To the north, about ¼ mile away rises the back side of the huge esker mountain. The view from the top ought to be quite extensive. Too bad we didn’t camp here on a sunny day; this site would be ideal for picture taking.
Before dinner, we were showered on once again—had to put up the big white tarp over the cooking area—very miserable weather; gloomy, forbidding—begin to wonder if the sun really exists.
Dinner: - a veritable vegetarian’s delight! I ate as much as I could hold, and then managed to cram in even more when the others left a couple of bowlfuls in the glop pot. Dinner: ½ large ptarmigan per man, 2 front legs of caribou, a few noodles, and carrots and beans mixed in a vast quantity of glop. The vegetables overwhelmed the meat and noodles, so this might be considered a vegetable glop—Most of the guys quit after 4 bowls and lay around under the tarp, too stuffed to move—I too had 4 bowls and, when I got the rest of the pot, I scraped it down for 2 more helpings—a bowl of tea on top of this, and I, too, could barely budge. I have never been a lover of vegetables, especially carrots and string beans, but, boy, they sure tasted good at dinner. (Stomach was slightly queasy during the night, though, so I may become anti-vegetarian again).
Cool, but not freezing, after dinner—despondent talk about not getting to Baker Lake before October 1—even I became alarmed by this chatter, because, by October, dangerously cold weather will be upon us. Spirits of group “down in dumps,” despite finding food—our worries now have shifted from starvation to freezing, neither being highly regarded.

Thursday, September 8 – Camp #46 (Dubawnt River 10 miles N camp 45 – end of “Heavy” Rapids.
Rain and freezing rain during night—outside of sleeping bag wet, though, luckily, still dry inside. Frost on ground before dawn.
Breakfast at 8:30—Shitty day! No blue sky, drizzly showers, but also, not too much wind—very depressing weather—rain squalls keeping us in camp for entire morning, hoping for better weather in P.M.
Art and Pete took walk to esker—find a trove of eskimo artifacts on various terraces—this esker is a site well worth looking into by any museum—Art found about 50 artifacts, including a bone knife or scraper with copper rivets (these rivets may have come from the Coppermine River where, it is said, native copper can still be found). Pete picked up a few projectile points from a casual search.
Skip, who also took a walk after breakfast, found the skull and horns of a musk ox—he is saving it, because these animals are quite rare and on their way to extinction—he also found what may be a couple of old graves (stone groupings outlining a man-sized plot of ground—vegetation inside the enclosures is markedly more lush and abundant).
I wrote up log under big tarp, Bruce fleshed his caribou hide until lunch time—
Right now, Art is tagging samples found and rolling them up—weather still looks lousy, but we will try to log a few more miles this afternoon. (Note: - yesterday, we came about 5 miles—day before, 4 miles).
Later: Finally loaded and left camp at 3:30—shoved off into fairly swift current (3 to 6 mph)—On right bank were many sandy, terraced hills—part of an old esker—some peaks were quite high—left bank completely different—all gray rock with patches of red at intervals where dwarf birch grows—very barren and dismal looking. After 3 or 4 miles, we left the esker behind and both banks became rocky.
River, for most part, ¼-mile broad, swift, lots of shallow parts—many good fishing holes—rocky shores north of esker country are quite low—some hills visible in the distance.
Weather—crummy as ever—no wind—but, later in afternoon were drizzled on for a long time from black clouds bearing in from southwest and west—temperature cool, though not bad under “no wind” conditions—just wet and damp—no sun or sky at all. Shot a rapids before leaving esker country—ran it on right—no trouble—hugged shore close to steep, high partially eroded sandy cliff.
Second rapids (about 8 miles north of entrance to river)—Described by Tyrrell as “heavy rapids, choked with boulders”—correct! Broad, very shallow, swift—ran most of it on right—rode and scraped over 2 barely submerged rocks—no apparent damage to canoe, though made a great racket at the time—Rain.
Now camped on very rocky site near end of second rapids (just few hundred yards from where river runs into small lake). Rest of rapid will be tough—no well-defined channel—many rocks, very shallow.
Put up big tarp—fine glop of carrots, string beans, 2 fish, 2 bully beefs, and few noodles—chocolate pudding—plenty tea. Sack out 9:00 P.M. right after finish off tea. Right now wind from NNW—cold rain beating on tent—one more smoke, and then to sleep!

Friday, September 9 – Camp #46 (same).

Near disaster—from now on log writing is luxury:
Rain turned to snow during night—gale came up from northwest—cold as hell—by morning our tent (on flat ground) was almost collapsed on us—wind drove tent stakes 3 inches into ground—tent had 2 inches of water inside—everything soaking wet—all Art’s clothes, his sleeping bag, heavy parka, blanket, all soaking—my heavy parka, too, got soaked—sleeping bag stayed partly dry until later in day—big white cook tarp blown down—Art and I awake from 4:30 on as wind beats and tears at madly flapping tent.
No breakfast possible—no one could get outdoors for more than a few minutes at a time—water, slush, snow everywhere—Art went out once to see if could get dry clothes—no dice—came back inside drenched through and lay on soaking sleeping bag—soon he began shivering violently; lips turn blue—said he must get into dry sleeping bag or freeze feet—both of us then got into my bag which was still almost dry on inside; very tight squeeze—extremely cramped—could not budge muscle for hours at a time—threw cigarette butts in pools on floor.
Some time in morning George and Pete’s tent started to tear—they had to take it down—made lean-to shelter out of their canoe and the white tarp—they too were very cold.
Around 1:30 P.M. Bruce managed to reach a food pack—distributed ½ pound cheese and 4’tacks per tent—I had very little appetite—lay almost in a frozen stupor hoping temperature would not go below freezing, so would not freeze tents etc. to ground.
After eating the food that had been brought to us—went back to shivering and being 100% miserable—Art, I, others almost completely demoralized—at times I thought sure this was finish for us.
Around 3:30, while gale held off for a few minutes, Pete passed 1 peanut butter biscuit per man—Dinner, too, was passed around by either Bruce or Skip at about 5 (2 more ‘tacks per man, ¼ pound cheese, ½ bag apricots)—then gale picked up again—By now my sleeping bag wet on inside—very cold—great danger if temperature drops—Art and I barely manage to keep warm by breathing into sleeping bag—by nightfall gale still full force—some tent pegs come loose—tent sagging dangerously—I went out to try and fix it but had to return to bag after few minutes to warm up—c ompletely numb hands and feet.
No sleep all night as Art and I worry about our immediate future—I keep wishing I were anywhere else in world but here—think of York Beach, Manchester, Molly, “Zeus,” and other friends.

Saturday, September 10 – Camp #47 (approximately 1 mile below “Heavy Rapids”).

No sleep all night—remained in half-frozen, semi-conscious stupor all night—legs, hips, arms wracked with cramps from being in one position so long—By about 4 A.M. tent almost smothering us—sleeping bag wet on inside around head and shoulders—temperature at this time dropped to sub-freezing—pools of water inside tent crinkled and cracked as Art or I shifted about on my air mattress—wind still howled and shrieked with alarming ferocity—damn near bid good-bye to world for keeps.
By about 9 A.M., Skip began to function—could hear other signs of life outside tent—sound of Skip’s voice urging us out to exercise brought new life to Art and me—I donned dry pants, sweater, went out and kept warm by fire while Art got breakfast going—Skip, Pete, George decided to warm up by portaging last of dangerous rapids. My parka had to be dried in short order, so I huddled partly out of wind behind some rocks, holding it over fire of emergency driftwood—Art dried his sleeping bag and some clothes the same way—rest of soaked clothing was spread on rocks so wind could help them dry (temperature now slightly above freezing) but it took a long time for things to dry.
Just before lunch, I made 1 trip over the rocks to end of portage—got a feeling of desperate urgency to move on—country, partly white with snowy patches—protruding rocks grey and black—very weird clouds—felt as though I had gone completely color blind to all colors but gray and black—frightening feeling.
Few patches dismal and weak sunlight in P.M.—Wind still strong from northwest—occasional snow flurries came close several times but did not hit us.
Decided from now on to make camps more secure—took several hours setting up same at end of portage (about ¾ mile away)—put tents close together so could more easily talk to one another—also put canoes next to tents for more shelter—this way camp more snugged up and gives greater feeling of security—good for morale.
Had good vegetable-caribou glop, hot chocolate, then to bed—wind still blowing, though not so bad, temperature = freezing—still complete overcast—very hopeless looking future, though spirits up a good bit.

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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