Day 39

Grove Rapids to Caribou Rapids via Hanbury Lake

Distance: 5km, portage 1 – [cumulative total 721.5 km]

InReach: Day 39 Completed 2km Grove Rapids portage Paddled across Hanbury Lk & camped at top Caribou Rapids which we will tackle tomorrow All well J&K

Camp: 63.556°N 105.670°W

Today was all about completing the two kilometre portage around the five sets of rapids that comprise Grove Falls. Up by 5am to try and avoid the predicted heat. The morning was cold with a clammy mist but we knew this would soon burn off. From the camp site we followed the esker for about two thirds of the portage, hence the walking was excellent, dry and firm with very few undulations. The esker didn’t follow the river but rather cut overland through some very pretty scenery of small lakes eventually reaching rugged outcrop. At all times you had excellent views back over the river behind us and eventually Hanbury Lake in front of us. The final third of the portage was over rocky outcrop which then descended into a deep valley of alders and soft hummocky muskeg. The route was not always apparent though we did occasionally see signs of the party ahead of us and we made a few cairns to guide us on our repeat trips in the confusing section. John saw several ground squirrels as we came through the outcrop, the cloud berries are turning red but the ones I tried were not ripe as yet.

The path finally led to the only possible put-in on a rocky shore lined with small cliffs. It took us from 7am until 2pm to complete the portage. We then paddled across Hanbury Lake and set up camp in warm sunshine just before the entrance to the portage around Caribou Rapids. John was hesitant at the choice of camp site as it was right at water level but really we had little choice.

John hauling the gray gear bag, stage 1 of the Grove Rapids Portage

Stop to re-apply repellent. John is using ‘Smidge’ bought in Scotland to repel the infamous Scottish midgies but it proved equally effective on Canadian black flies

Carrying the canoe was easy on top of the esker which provides clear unobstructed, solid footing. If only all portages could be this easy!