Entrance Fond Du Lac River - Hatchet Lake
Distance 20km [638 km ]
It was a very cold night and as the pressure is now off we stayed in bed until 7am. The wind was very cold and remained with us all day. After some reorganising we were on the river by 9.30am, half an hour later we reached Red Willow Rapids. They are reputed to be the shallowest rapid on the river so John lined down them. Back in the canoe we got lost or should I say turned around in a maze of islands and channels unlike the map because of heavy growth of reeds along every shoreline. Eventually we sorted ourselves out and made it to the next rapids, a set of three. We ran the first one [Class 1+] and then lined down the remaining two [Class 1+ and 2] again very bouldery. Stopped for lunch before running the final rapid [Class 2] for the day.
This is our first day on the river and we have been impressed by its appearance, especially after the big lakes. The water is clear with either boulders or a sandy bottom and long ribbon weed at the foot of most rapids. It twists and turns and today the vegetation has been either a dense mixture of Red Willow and Alder or open with Black Spruce and some Jack Pine. Since overturning the canoe we are both more cautious, I suspect some of the rapids lined today we may have run in the past. One of the problems with rapids when they are in sets there is little opportunity to scout the length properly because the shore is either dense vegetation or slippery boulders. Soon after our third set of rapids we reached where the river becomes Hatchet Lake. About a third of the way up the lake we stopped on a camp site recommended by Laurel Archer. However, it has obviously experienced great change since she was here. It is on a low sand spit but the tent site is flat and protected by Red Willows and Alders. The bare sandy beach has a number of small diverts with between 1 and 3 brown speckled eggs – talk about minimal effort in nest building. We think they are tern nests. We were in the tent by 8pm to escape the chilling wind.