Day 49

Fischer Falls – Hanbury River to 6km Below Grassy Island Thelon River

Distance: 42.5 km – [cumulative total 864 km]

InReach: Day 49 Paddled the 10km to the convergence of the Hanbury & Thelon, that will take us to Baker Lk A cold & grey day, 42km despite a late start

Camp: 63.802°N 104.240°W

Leisurely start, spent time putting the spray cover back on, taking photos and rejoicing that this was the end of portaging for this trip. Typical of the character of the Hanbury the first kilometre or so was very fast water and the swift current had us at the confluence of the Hanbury and Thelon rivers in a little over an hour. We stopped to take the traditional photo just as we had done four years previously at the confluence of the Thelon and Dubawnt Rivers.

Though the Thelon is a much wider river the main feature all day has been the sandy bottom and banks with elongated sand spits to paddle around. The wind has also played a roll, [when doesn’t it], at times a strong tail wind but also as the river meandered it sometimes came from the side making steering difficult. However, the combination of wind and current pushed us along at a great rate. Sheltered camp sites were rare and as the strong winds [up to 30 kph ] were predicted to continue overnight we pulled in early when we saw a possible site. I did a quick inventory of our food supplies and it was apparent we would need to catch more fish. I usually allow for one third of all evening meals to be fish and so far out of 49 days we have only had three fish meals, I guess this has been a consequence of the shallow sandy nature of the Hanbury river.

The day has been cold, mainly due to the wind. There has been little wild life other than several small flocks of Trumpeter swans however, we did see our first ducklings for the season. The scenery along the shore has been sweeping vistas, breathtaking but impossible to capture in a photo due to its vastness. Again a surprising amount of dune country with long white sand beaches. Although we are now traveling in a more southerly direction the trees are disappearing, seems strange after all the unexpected trees on the lower reaches of the Hanbury.

Traditional ‘selfie’ at the Hanbury-Thelon confluence. We took a similar photo in 2014 at the Dubawnt-Thelon confluence

Every evening John annotates the maps, sends the daily satellite message and plans the next day. On the last few trips reading glasses have become a prerequisite for this job!