Thelon River 25km Above Baker Lake - Baker Lake
Distance 25 km [1245 km]
Portage 0 
Very Fast Water 1 
Rapids 0 
Heavy rain started about 5am and it continued steadily until after 9 am. Due to the heat last night we had only closed the insect screen on the annex overnight so had a minor flood to deal with. Skipped breakfast in favour of coffee with nuts and dried fruit and packed our wet gear in a very strong wind. We were on the river by 11 am.
A strong current and a following wind meant we were really flying along until we entered Baker Lake. The Thelon had several sections of fast water including one with huge standing waves where the wind was strong enough to keep forcing us into the waves. We got a good soaking, my camera was drenched and the lens jammed. However, once we reached Baker Lake we slowed to a snail’s pace as the strong wind was either off shore or directly into our faces.
In the lake John tried to stick to the shelter of the shore but between the rocks and the wind pushing us out it was hard paddling and extremely difficult to make any headway. We stopped for lunch where the airport runway opened over the lake and even in this remote place airport security drove out to check on us. We pushed on but conditions were so awful that we were forced to line the canoe for some distance along the shore. It was if the gods wanted us to work till the bitter end. It was incredibly frustrating because, while we were in sight of the Baker Lake settlement for hours, we seemed to make no progress towards it.
Finally about 5pm we reached the shore in front of the Baker Lake Lodge. Having struggled for hours, finally reaching our goal was something of an anti-climax. Instead of feelings of elation and accomplishment we were exhausted and could only think of hot showers and food.
We had a roomy but basic cabin near the main lodge with the washing facilities in a nearby separate building. There are no words to describe the heaven of the first hot shower in fifty days followed by an evening meal I didn’t have to cook. It was a delicious but very 70’s, meal, French onion soup followed by steak and vegetables and blueberry pie with ice cream. We met a young aircraft engineer at dinner and afterwards he took us on a tour of the Baker Lake community including the above ground cemetery outside town. The community has a population of about 1800 and appears to have an amazing range of facilities and agencies. It has a daily air service and during the summer months fuel and all necessary goods are brought in by large lake freighters.