Day 43

Fond Du Lac River - Black Lake Community

Distance 34.5 + 4.5 km [835km]

The day started with great uncertainty, we were awake by 6am but the wind although moderating was still blowing from the north. When we finally got up at 8.30am the wind was a north easterly which would mean waves from the side but partially behind. We vacillated between packing up everything but the tent and paddling onto the lake before deciding or just packing up and setting out. We elected to just go and were on the water by 10.15pm. The waves were biggish and the wind moderate so decided to paddle straight down the lake. We worked hard paddling without a break until lunch time and despite the conditions were making good time. After lunch the wind shifted and we had that rare phenomenon of a tail wind. We ended up with an overall time for the day of 7 kilometres an hour, an excellent time. Suddenly we were in sight of the Black lake Community.

Black Lake is a physically contained community of about 1800 people and set among the surrounding bush. It reminded us of the way Basque villages we saw on the Camino appeared to float in the hills and is different from the sprawl of other First Nation communities we have visited. It had a good Northern store, we made our necessary phone calls and bought up big for our last three nights camping and set off in the canoe to find a suitable camping spot not far from town. We are now camped about three kilometres directly across from the community on a sand spit. The camp site is sheltered and has a resident chipmunk, [only the second we have seen on our travels in Northern Saskatchewan] We have celebrated the end of a successful trip with a slap up meal, starting with fresh vegetables and dip followed by hot dogs and then dough nuts and hot chocolate. A real feast after the fairly spartan meals of the trip.

Kate looking happy after a big shop in the Black Lake Northern Store, even here green reusable 'eco bags' are the go

Kate looking happy after a big shop in the Black Lake Northern Store, even here green reusable ‘eco bags’ are the go

John was especially pleased as he has been feeling hungry over the past week, not surprising because he has lost a great deal of weight and has a permanent stoop, — portage back. A further joy of this camp is the lack of bugs, finally the wind has dropped and the water is like glass, a perfect evening. After so many nights when we were driven into the tent by either the bugs or the cold wind it was great to have a dip/wash in the cold lake before returning to the tent about 10pm.