Day 63

Aleksektok Rapids to 10km North of Half Way Hills

Distance: 28 km, rapid 1 – [cumulative total 1404 km]

InReach: Day 63 Ran Aleksektok Rapids but strong SE wind prevented us making km Will get to B Lk tomorrow A cold, very wet miserable day!

Camp: 64.605°N 96.495°W

This could be our last night in the tent, we may reach Baker Lake tomorrow!

Yet another cold damp morning. It was only about a kilometre across to the Aleksektok rapid but finding somewhere to land the canoe in order to scout the rapid proved very tricky and we ended up about a kilometre above them. John’s assessment of the rapid was that it was similar to when we ran them in 2014 and we followed a similar route. We ran them right at the top to avoid a rocky protuberance then very tight right to avoid the “hole that would eat a house” [Layman 2002] about a third of the way across the river. We remained right all the way around the bend to the end about a kilometre further down. We were surprised by the large size of the standing waves, certainly bigger than their appearance from the bank above and from the last time we ran them. Following the rapid we were paddling into the teeth of a headwind but the swift current allowed us to make good progress. The countryside was a spectacular as we remembered and again we commented on it resemblance to the Scottish Highlands.

We were down to the Halfway Hills by mid afternoon and although we were keen to get to Baker Lake as early as possible tomorrow it was apparent camping places or more accurately places where you could pull up and unload the canoe were almost impossible to find so we took the first one we saw. It was just as well because we both got a through soaking negotiating the large standing waves at Aleksektok Falls and the continuous rain had left us very wet and cold. Our last night in the tent we would be surrounded by wet clothing.

Hot soup for lunch between rain showers. It was positively miserable and we should have cut our losses and camped here, one of the very few reasonable camp spots on the lower Thelon. Foolishly we pushed on!