Dubawnt River Above Uksuriajuaq Rapids - Wharton Lake
Distance 30 km [862 km]
Portage 2 
Very Fast Water 3 
Rapids 1 
Awoke to a beautiful morning and a million mosquitoes!
We spent about three hours getting through the long Uksuriajuaq Rapids. They are about five kilometres long and extremely ‘bouldery’ with a number of large ledges, producing the biggest standing waves one could imagine. We scouted from the top and entered the rapid to the right of a tiny island then lined the first two ledges after which we were able to paddle for a short distance to a further point where we could scout the main body of the rapid which has two really bad ledges. I cannot imagine anyone staying upright if they ended up in this part of the rapid as the waves were at least a metre and the drops on the ledges several metres. We portaged over to a point, an easy 150 metres, which gave us a great view over the river in all its power. After the put-in point the rapid opens out into a long, wide ‘bouldery’ maze. John did a great job finding his way through the deepest lines in a very fast flowing current. As we entered Wharton Lake at the end of the boulder garden there were long banks of snow along both shores.
We then had a straight forward paddle up Wharton Lake against a moderate headwind and by mid- afternoon had reached an extensive section of ancient raised beaches of a very impressive size. We stopped on a pebble shoreline to explore the raised beaches. After the break we entered the maze of islands and channels which occur before you reach the outlet from Wharton Lake, this is where our problems began.
Low water levels meant that we had to line, that is drag the canoe over two areas where it was too shallow to paddle and had many exposed sharp rocks. Finally we reached a channel which according to the map had open leads in a number of directions but was completely chocked by sharp boulders. We had to portage about 100 metres. Needless to say we had both had it by this stage. Nevertheless the time we spent negotiating the island maze was magical, the water was still and mirror like, reflecting all around us including the amazing ‘white mountain’ immediately ahead. Being largely made of quartzite this hill was dominant in the landscape and had been commented on in the accounts of all previous canoeists.
We are camped about three kilometres above our first rapid tomorrow. The cumulative tiredness of thirty-nine days is starting to show, our tolerance for the hordes of black flies and mosquitoes is wearing very thin. Today they were especially bad on the portages and once we reached camp they literally swarmed over everything like a thick black cloud.