Day 45

Dickson Canyon Portage

Distance: 2.5 km, portage 1, – [cumulative total 807.5 km]

InReach: Day 45 Up at 03:30 had canoe moved 2.5km by 6 Rest of day carrying gear Will finish tomorrow Only 2 portages left then it’s just paddling to BLk

Camp: 63.730°N 104.725°W

Raining and windy all night, up to the sound of the alarm at 3.30am, the morning was still damp and the bugs were going crazy. Were on route with the canoe by 4.30 am. John did a remarkable job carrying it all 2.5 kilometres to the spot we are now camped. Initially there was no wind which was great for carrying the canoe but despite being drenched in a cocktail of insect repellent we were both covered in zillions of blackflies. It was particularly horrendous for John because they were thick under the canoe and needing both hands to balance the canoe he could do nothing about them. At one stage I went to respray his neck and ears and there was barely any skin visible in the heaving biting mass of blackflies. Back at camp for breakfast, pack up and to start hauling our gear to the first of several stages. The day got hotter and hotter with no wind until mid afternoon so we were always accompanied by a cloud of blackflies. By the time we finally hauled the last of our gear into camp we were running on fumes and the wind was so strong we had problems erecting the tent. Walking along I have been surprised by the number of large groves of spruce we have seen particularly on the opposite bank of the river and in the lower reaches of the canyon. In the past week we have seen more trees than you would expect on the tundra so far above the tree line.

We are now within a ‘short’ kilometre of the end of the portage and though this could only be described as a good if long portage we will not be sorry to have it behind us. We have only two longish portages in the next few days and once out of the Hanbury and into the Thelon River it should be paddling all the way.

Camp, Day 45 after completing about 2/3 of the Dickson Canyon portage. There was water nearby so camping was easy

Sartorial splendour – geriatric portager with dodgy knees poses for a photo