North end of Bompas Lake - SW arm of Selwyn Lake
Distance travelled 13km [91.5 km]
Portage 1 [Total carry/walk 920 X 7 = 6.440 + 54.745 = [61.185km]
We woke up at 7am to a clear, still and warm morning which later became a very hot day. We were on the water by 9am and paddled the 4 kilometres to the junction of the Bompas Lake and the Chipman River. The trip up the river was against a strong current until we reached a small pond where we expected to find a path that would join the Bompas / Selwyn Portage. The pond was in two sections joined by a shallow rocky section requiring us to get out and pull the canoe through the rocks. The path proved harder to find than anticipated. I stayed with the canoe whilst John bush- bashed for over an hour before establishing the way. The take out was terrible requiring everything to be triple handled as we scrambled over the rocks.
Once we found the path we carried everything through to the portage which thankfully was wide and dry and had been well maintained by hunters on snow mobiles the previous winter. The day was very hot and the portage long so despite soaking our hats and shirts, each time we reached Selwyn Lake we were tired and hungry. John was so hot he sat in the cold lake fully clothed to revive. After lunch and time to restore our energy we launched over a difficult rocky put-in and set off up Selwyn Lake.
We paddled for about 4 kilometres before coming to an island which we believe may have been where John Albrecht [an old trapper we had known in La Ronge and one of the two men described in “Sleeping Island”] had had his trap cabin during the 1940’s. We spent some time walking about the island looking for signs of past life, John found and photographed an area which was a likely cabin site and had a distinguishing rock which may appear in old photos of the cabin.
There is more information on John Albrecht HERE (add link)
Having surveyed the island we paddled on up the lake till we found an excellent camp site on an island. It is a beach [albeit pebbles] with a bench site that has obviously been used by caribou hunters in the past as there were numerous bones and old antlers scattered on the beach and up on the “bench” tent site. Someone in the past has built a seat and table out of bush timber so I was in heaven. We had lots of time for meal preparation, washing and laundry and an opportunity to burn my cumulative rubbish. Though it is hot and the past week has been hard it feels good to be through the worst of the portages and strangely though there were still bugs, today they didn’t seem as bad.