Great Slave Lake – Yellowknife to Island 5km SE of Wool Bay
Distance: 30 Km
InReach: Day 1 Paddled out of YK 0830 5 deg C with fog Did 30km and camped early due thunder storms nearby All well J&K
Camp: 62.270°N 114.122°W
Up early. After breakfast we moved our gear and canoe to a small bay beside Bob’s property. Bob came along to say goodbye and do photo paparazzi duty. We were on the water by 8.30, beneath cool and cloudy skies. Soon the buildings of Yellowknife were behind us and we were making good time. However, as we paddled down Yellowknife Bay it got colder and soon we were in a thick ice mist making navigation difficult. As we entered the lake proper near the Dene community of Detah we passed a large, low bare rocky island. On it was a large nest and a pair of bald eagles. This was our first wildlife sighting for the trip, unusual as bald eagles usually build their nests on cliffs or high trees.
We stopped for lunch on one of many small islands north west of Ruth Island. When we landed I felt a little dizzy and as I walked up the rocks I fainted pitching forward and hitting my right temple, right arm and leg on the rocks. My immediate reaction was that I had broken my glasses or a bone, it hurt and was scary but it was just muscle damage, bruising and an egg on my forehead. It is the first time I had fainted in over fifty years, very strange. After lunch the mist and the headwind we had been battling cleared and with the help of a slight tailwind were again making good time. With the combination of cold, damp and first day paddling we were starting to tire when about 3.30 pm we spotted a small sandy beach on the end of an island, time to call it a day. It took awhile to erect the tent , find everything, light the fire with very wet wood and cook our traditional first night meal of hot dogs. Our first day had been windy and cold, the temperature probably didn’t get above 10 degrees centigrade, we had had intermittent rain and thick fog but it was with a feeling of excitement that the adventure was under way that we were in bed by 8.30 pm with maps annotated and journal written.