Muskeg Portage - Compulsion Bay, Wollaston Lake
Distance 11km [516 km]
Having already walked through the portage last night and read the accounts from the 1950’s guys, who generally have us in awe of their amazing feats of both speed and endurance but who referred to this particular portage as a “killer portage”, we were anticipating a long hard day. We were up early, the sky was already cloudless and it was warming fast, we were on the trail by 7.15am making a number of trips to move all the gear up to the beginning of the floating bog.
John gave us both a fright when his back gave him trouble when he first picked up the canoe. He took an alternate load and it seemed to right itself. We then lumped canoe and gear through the sucking mud of the bog and got everything together on the far side. From there it was a long 800 metres to the rocky exit. Though the final 300 metres, after we crossed what appeared to be a more recent winter road or exploration base line, was boggy but we made excellent progress.
We had lunch on the shore of the last small unnamed lake, hot and tired but pleased with out amazing effort for the morning. John’s back seems to have righted itself but mine was painful and I had to resort to drugs. The final portage for the day was short and dry and we reached Compulsion Bay on Wollaston Lake by 2pm. John replaced the spray cover and we joyfully set out on our 50km journey up Wollaston Lake. Only a couple of hours later the wind had suddenly made an about switch and the sky was threatening, we camped up on a sandy beach even though we had only paddled seven kilometres on the Lake. Again there were moose prints on the beach and a nice swampy area behind us full of moose food but no moose to be seen.