South end of Chipman Portage - Chipman Portage, about 3km from southern end
Distance travelled 3km
[Total carry/walk 3km X 7 = 21 + 3 =28 km]
Up at 7.30 after great night’s sleep despite the temperature dropping to 7 degrees, feeling energised for portaging. As always with the first day’s packing up and getting breakfast, it took us longer than usual so didn’t get walking until 9.30am when it was starting to warm up.
We walked the portage in three stages as everything is so heavy it is hard [or should I say impossible] to carry for long distances. I cannot even lift the food drums, John puts them on my back and then I am able to walk. We covered the same 3 kilometres seven times as it required that many trips to get everything up to the staging post. The first section was reasonably dry; it gradually went uphill with several sections of muskeg which required some wading in ankle deep cold water. It was mostly open jack pine forest with some good camp sites and we completed it by lunch time. The second section was shorter as by now we were starting to fatigue, the food drums felt twice as heavy and the ground was mostly spongy muskeg with long stretches of water to wade through. The uneven, unstable ground, with a heavy load makes for difficult walking.
The third and final section for today was even shorter as it had got really hot and we were both struggling and exhausted. Suitable camp places had disappeared and by 7pm we had set up camp on the track in a damp spot. The tent pad was not entirely flat but it was a case of any port in a storm as the bush either side of the track was too dense for the tent.
We set up, prepared a meal and as we were both tired we were starting our usual bed time routine when I heard a noise in the trees nearby. We investigated and could see an animal about the size of a medium dog run up a tree. We got close and could see it had very long shawl like fur and long claws. We are pretty sure it was a wolverine. This sighting was a privilege as wolverines are rarely seen even by trappers, geologists and hunters who have spent a lot of time in the bush. It makes the trials of the day worthwhile. Let’s hope it is an omen of good wildlife viewing over the next couple of months. In bed by 10pm!
NOTES: Muskeg is a swamp or bog formed by the accumulation of decaying plant material