Barlow Lake - Tyrrell's Cairn - Carey Lake
Distance 31km [478km]
Portage 0 
Very Fast Water 2 
Rapids 2 
To John’s great pleasure we awoke to a following wind so made rapid progress up Barlow Lake and back into the Dubawnt River. The first rapid out of Barlow was long, over a kilometre and made up of four distinct rapids followed by very fast water. We thought the first set was just preliminary fast water so imagine our surprise when we found ourselves hurtling down the current, punching into the biggest waves I have run so far. They came over the bow and hit me in the chest and lower face. We took on considerable water. It was undoubtedly a Class 2+ or Class 3. With no time to catch our breath we were into a Class 1+ followed by several sections of very fast water. As we had not done our usual scout from the shore we ended up running it in the worst possible place however we were pleased that we didn’t panic just moved to the centre of the canoe and did what we had to.
After an early lunch on a tiny beach in Cary Lake we headed towards the hill with Tyrrell’s Cairn. The cairn was easily seen from a distance as it is a huge boulder on top of a barren hill which forms a peninsula jutting out from the east shore. Having done 30 kilometres with the aid of a following breeze we decided to camp and spend some time walking the kilometre up the hill to explore the cairn.
The shoreline was a tangle of boulders and the only tent site was a good walk in from the water, the wind had also moderated so we were joined on our walk by a cloud of black flies. However the cairn was worth the buggy walk. We signed the book and left an Australian flag and a note for the American Maxwell party who were several weeks behind us but would take a different route after Carey Lake.
The cairn contained the book “On Top of a Boulder” authored by Canadian canoeist Brian Johnston with copies of all the notes and signatures left since the Tyrrell party in 1893. The originals are also there, preserved in a sealed container. The view from the cairn is spectacular and we could see what appeared to be ice but turned out to be mist across the western portion of the lake. On the walk down we examined the sparse low vegetation and a number of large frost boils . It was very hot and ‘buggy’ but we set up camp, caught our dinner (another Northern Pike) and were in the tent by 8.30 reading up on the rapids we’ll meet tomorrow between Carey and Markham Lakes. The water temperature in Carey is noticeably cooler.
Frost boils: An accumulation of excess water and mud liberated from ground ice by accelerated spring thawing. This can result in a softening of the soil causing a quagmire or a low circular mound accompanied by an absence of an insulating cover or vegetation.