Trade Lake - Kettle Falls, Uskik Lake via Frog Portage
Distance 35 km [151 km]
Fast Water 0
Got away late [11.15am] because the alarm clock slept in until almost 8am but also because we made a concerted effort to get everything dryish before we left. It was sunny early but soon clouded over and we had a strong cold headwind for the rest of the day. We had done less than a kilometre when it got so strong that we were forced to shelter in the lee of a small island for almost an hour, we made it an early lunch stop. It was a hard slog all day due to the cold headwinds, it seemed to take an eternity to paddle up Uskik Lake. We did take a slight detour however to visit the historic Frog Portage. This was one of the most important portages on the voyageur route from Eastern Canada to the Mackenzie River Basin.
The tramway across the portage is no longer maintained and the cairn and plaque erected to commemorate the Cree and Dene Nations and the Voyageurs has been shot at and spray painted still you could not but be aware of the thousands of years of hunters and fur traders who had canoed this route before us.
Later that afternoon we had a second highlight when we saw a large old looking beaver close by on the shore. He had apparently come out of a hole in the mud bank, we paddled close and he ignored us, most unusual as beavers are amazingly alert and slap the water with their tail and dive before you get anywhere near them. Finally he noticed us and went into the water but unusually he surfaced nearby and we paddled after him in the canoe getting to within several metres – amazing. A real close up wildlife experience.
It was our day for wildlife as later we saw an otter in the water who swam not far away continually popping up in the water to check us out. Eventually we arrived at our planned destination Kettle Falls. We camped in the same site we had used in 2010. It was a late night we didn’t eat until after 9pm and were in bed by 11pm.