Porcupine River - Black Lake
Distance 14.5 km [ 796 km]
Portages 1 
Awoke to a brief shower and “our old friend” the west wind. It was freezing cold and we both felt so despondent we stayed in bed for a further hour. We were packed and on the water by 8.45am. The wind made paddling difficult but not impossible so we stuck to the convoluted north shore and made slow progress. Soon after leaving camp we were thoroughly checked out by a pair of curious otters. I think they have to be my favourite north Saskatchewan animal.
Today has been the sunniest we have seen in weeks, even so there are clouds about and the odd shower of rain. However, the wind blows through to your bones, even John has stayed rugged up and I have been in multi-layers including my PFD trying to keep warm. When we started out this morning the river was wide with either flat sand banks or marshy reeds on both banks. As we have progressed towards Black Lake the shoreline has become steep rugged outcrop with many bays and islands
By 11am we had reached the entrance to our last portage, we have done 27 this trip including several we have had to cut for ourselves. This last one was one kilometre around Burr Falls and compulsory for all canoeists. It was a different portage through an old burn making it very open. It climbed over a high sand ridge with excellent views of the Fond du Lac entering Black Lake. It did not show signs of much use but was in excellent condition with easy entrance and exit. Having come through we sat in the sun and took our time enjoying our lunch.
After lunch it was only a kilometre down the river and we we are now in a good camp overlooking Black Lake and back up the river. This site is flat and sheltered with a good view but best of all it has a picnic table, after 39 days of grovelling on the ground to organise meals I finally have a table. The table was probably pinched from the Black Lake Dene Community and brought here by boat but for me it is a total joy to be able to sit at a table to write, read, cook and eat. – It doesn’t take much to make me happy. Looking around this has been a well used camp site for a very long time. We assume Dene fisher persons from the Black Lake Community use it as there is the usual layer of rubbish.
We do not have to be in Stony Rapids for 5 or 6 days and it is only 1 to 2 days paddling up Black Lake but we are only too aware that we could be wind bound for days so it is great to have this time up our sleeves. Today it wouldn’t be possible to paddle on Black Lake because of the wind and high white caps. The lake is large and there is little in the way of islands or bays for cover plus we don’t know if it has good places to land the canoe if we had to run for shelter.