Island 16km Below Steephill - Island In Royal Lake, Reindeer River
Happy Birthday Cabe !!!
Distance 29 km [220 km]
Windy over night but woke to sunny, clear sky and light headwind. We were up by 6am and in the canoe by 8.30am. We made pretty good progress despite current and headwind and were at the Steephill portage by midday . We had a hard paddle to get to the portage at the foot of the fast flowing rapid not only was the current strong but there were many rocks just below the surface. The skids on the portage were in poor shape and the portage overgrown compared with when we came through in 2010. It looks rarely used. It is sad to see as you realise fewer and fewer wildness canoeists are using these historic portages. It is only a short portage but very steep at both ends, I found it difficult and my back has not yet recovered. We decided to make for a camp we had marked in 2010 on Royal Lake.
The afternoon was a continual battle with both current and wind, towards late afternoon the wind eventually dropped. It had not been much of a day for wildlife we had only seen one eagle and John one unidentified small swimming animal but on the river just before we entered Royal Lake we saw and heard several large white waterfowl with small heads and long necks we are speculating that they are Trumpeter Swans, they were certainly very noisy.
We made our island camp on Royal Lake by 5pm. Nice island with lots of rocks so we were able to spread out all our still damp gear and managed to dry most things. Both took the opportunity to have a good wash but the water was too cold for swimming. I felt queasy in the stomach after we arrived and having had four incidents of diarrhoea elected not to eat. John had that good old standby pilot biscuits, they seem to be featuring far more than usual this trip but then again we have not been smiled on by the weather gods. This evening it was not buggy, cold or wet so we were able to sit on the rocks in the sun for the first time this trip. We could hear odd loud noises from the far shore on the lake, moose perhaps? Despite the light and the pleasant evening we were asleep by 9.30pm.
Pilot Biscuits – a form of hardtack or sea biscuit, traditionally made from flour and water, very hard and long lasting. Not particularly tasty, but very filling. We love them with any combination of peanut butter, jam or cheeze whiz. They make a quick and easy meal. You can get them at most communities in the north.