Kazan River

CanadaNunavutHudson
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Allan Jacobs
Trip Date : 
Route Author: 
Freda Mellenthin
Additional Route Information
Distance: 
920 km
Duration: 
31 days
Loop Trip: 
No
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
5
Total Portage Distance: 
2300 m
Longest Portage: 
1000 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Advanced
Lake Travel: 
Advanced
Portaging: 
Difficult
Remoteness: 
Advanced
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Unknown
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

South-east end of Kasba Lake, Kazan River through Angikuni, Yathkyed and Thirty-Mile Lakes to Baker Lake.

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

Editor’s notes:
Ted Mellenthin is a highly experienced and capable white-water paddler; some of the rapids run on this trip should be portaged or lined by most recreational paddlers.

Title: The Kazan River and Us

Route: Kasba Lake to Baker Lake

Distance/duration: about 920 km, 31 days

Year travelled: 2000

Author: Freda Mellenthin

Finally we were on our way to another great adventure: Canoeing the Kazan River in the Tundra. We spent the last day in a frenzy, packing everything for a six-week canoe trip. Did we bring enough food for forty-five days? Are the camp stoves in the luggage? Do we have the right clothes for every possible weather? A second set of food and clothes had to be packed for the car trip to north Saskatchewan.
For the next days we were still in civilization and able to purchase anything we might have forgotten. First we visited in Mission, Kamloops and Calgary. At last, on the afternoon of the 29th we left Calgary behind, going north-east. Our trip had finally begun and we were on our own! No more visiting, just driving endlessly, first through eastern Alberta, then through Saskatoon and Prince Albert. Leaving Prince Albert behind us on June 30, we knew that we had hit the true north at last. That's when our first mishap took place: a tire blow-out twenty minutes north of town, just when everybody was getting ready for the celebration of Canada's birthday party. We were forced to return to Prince Albert and arrived at a tire shop ten minutes before closing time. One of our brand-new, terribly expensive, Bridgestone tires had hit a metal piece on the well-paved road. Luckily we found the right man to fix our tire while the rest of the town was beginning to gear up for a three-day party. When darkness fell upon the town, we headed north again towards La Ronge which is truly the last civilized community before entering the endless landscape of north Saskatchewan. The next four hundred kilometers consisted of dirt roads, countless lakes, bush and the odd country store with a gas station. We hit a ptarmigan and picked it up to prepare it for a nice evening meal.
The road practically ends at Points North, a company community of a northern airline. From Points North to Stony Rapids exists a so-called winter road, going two hundred kilometers north-east. We could either hire a plane here or drive to Stony Rapids on the not yet existing summer road and take a slightly cheaper flight from there to our destination on Kasba Lake. We decided to drive this "road", which was not more than a strip of ground where the trees had been cleared away, nothing more. Left and right it was full of boulders and rocks scattered all over the white sand in which we got stuck several times. Ted drove expertly dodging each rock skillfully. It took us eight hours to drive the two hundred km. Often I had to hold my breasts because we were bouncing so much. The Taiga was beckoning to us with pristine lakes, lichen-covered ground and a certain northern aroma in the air. At the half-way mark we camped for the night. Ted had to readjust the camper - it had shifted in the car box. The inside looked disastrous - even the paper towel roll lay unwound on the floor.

The next morning we saw our first grizzly bear, standing on the road; he was huge and cinnamon-coloured. From far away I thought it was some machinery for the road. When we drove closer, he slowly disappeared into the bush.
We visited the native village on Black Lake and then drove the twenty km to Stony Rapids, a small community between Black Lake and Lake Athabasca. The next day we would fly out of here to Kasba Lake on the sixtieth parallel. I rearranged our food and other gear for our trip - it had been on top of the camper for eight days. Hopefully we would have everything we needed. Ted bought a new fishing reel in a last-minute panic.

Tuesday, July 4

We were told to be ready between eleven and twelve a.m. to fly out. Finally at a quarter to one all our gear was loaded in the Beaver, a four-seat plane. The canoe was tied to the pontoon. Ted sat beside the pilot, both in deep conversation via their head phones, while I sat in the back freezing because the pilot had left a window open. I was too scared to reach for a jacket behind me - you hear so many stories about northern plane crashes! Since I did not have a head set, I felt the noise of the engine very badly. Our flight towards the north-east would take one hour and forty-five minutes. Below us unfolded a mixture of taiga and tundra, countless small lakes, scraggly trees and the occasional small esker.
At 2:30 p.m. we spotted an island at the south-east end of a huge body of water, Kasba Lake. Strangely enough there was something blue floating in the water. Approaching closer, we recognized it as a tent. There were other human traces as well: four more tents and foot prints. That's were the pilot landed. I waded through the ice-cold water many times to take our gear from the plane to shore. There were no human beings around, but a strange odor from some kind of organic waste filled the air and many horseflies were swarming around us. Walking towards the tents, we came upon a table on which some food was left, chicken wings and half a bottle of whiskey. All this was probably an outpost from the fishing camp on the north-west side of the lake. Higher up in the sand we found bear tracks going towards the camp. Was there a dead grizzly bear in the low bushes, or where else did the smell of decay come from? Quickly we loaded our canoe and started paddling to the east shore of the lake. It took us three hours, paddling against a head wind.
At 7:30 p.m. we set up camp. Ted made a fire to fight the very belligerent mosquitoes. The evening sky was cloudy, it was peaceful and we were alone in the wilderness. Ted tried to wind the fishing line around his new reel and wanted me to hold it in a certain way. When I did not understand how to hold it, he became very angry with me. This came like a blow to me just when I had thought how much more comfortable I felt this year and how Ted was a lot less edgy and argumentative. I was hoping and praying that this was not a bad omen for our trip. Was our honeymoon over after one and a half years? No, it was not! Ted came around on his own the next day and was very sweet and remorseful. Ed. note: distance?

Wednesday, July 5

I woke up at 4 a.m. from a mosquito buzzing in my ear. Then there were more and more, but where or how had they come in? Had they slept in a dark corner in the tent? Ted woke up from my mosquito hunting activities. The sun was bright and warm. We got up and were on the water at eight. After some paddling against a light headwind, it started blowing from the south-east, and we put our little sail up. At noon we rested for over an hour and then continued to sail for many hours. At one point the canoe slipped into a trough and got out of control for a minute only. Around six we stopped again for a short walk on an esker. Some heather was blooming already and the shrubs were showing their fresh spring green. We continued to sail, i.e. paddling with sail-assistance, until 7:30 p.m.
43 km

Thursday, July 6

I continue to admire Ted's water sense. He must be born with this love and understanding of water. Of course, experience is also helpful, but he must have this inbred talent of seeing dangers and reading the water.
We had a good night after an exploratory walk in the evening. We are still in the taiga, so there are many trees here. It was still windy today and we managed to make eleven km in two and a half hours. The wind is very cold because there is still ice on the north-west side of the lake, as indicated by the low fog over the water when we look through the binoculars. Luckily we chose to go north on the east shore of Kasba Lake. Although the wind is very cold, the sun can be very hot already and the mosquitoes and blackflies are always feasting on us. The wind helped us with our sail-assisted paddling all day until we stopped at 5:00 p.m on the last esker before the outlet of the lake. We heard thunder in the distance and the sky became very cloudy. We put our tent up quickly before it started raining and made supper, as usual a Lipton Soup Works thickened with rice or potato powder. Then we climbed up the hills to get a view of tomorrow's route. The sky was growling in the distance, and on our way back to the tent it started pouring. We passed the eagle again which Ted had photographed earlier. It was still sitting on the same spot and we could see now that it had a broken wing. Our tent is only one meter from the water which makes a lot of noise with the waves whipped up by a north-east wind. Our jackets and pants got wet and Ted was growling like the sky. 30 km

Friday, July 7

We woke up to steady rain and heavy, deep clouds. Hoping that the rain would ease off, we took our time getting ready. Today we had to paddle out of Kasba Lake over a difficult rapid into the Kazan River. I was a bit apprehensive because I had not paddled any rapid since last October. We left camp at noon and had lunch two hours later on a high shore of the narrowing lake where Ted had camped four years ago. From here we could hear the rapid already. Ted was a bit nervous as well, and over time I have learned that he also worries when he knows that a rapid is ahead of us. After all, we are heavily loaded and can't afford to lose any of our equipment or get hurt. While eating, Ted spotted his blue cup that he had lost here four years ago. We were finally ready to head for the rapid when two motorboats from Kasba Lake Lodge came towards us on their way to Ennadai Lake. They promised that they will watch for us in the rapids, which put me at ease.
There were three sets of rapids, one very mild one, then one with quite high waves; the water poured over me and the bow. Finally around the bend, there was the third rapid with very fast water and big rocks in it. We barely missed one big boulder, passing it in a somewhat tilted position on the water cushion. It was fun though, and no real problem. We stopped below the rapids to bail out the water.
At last we were on the Kazan River. We passed through many small, nameless lakes, from each of which we had to find the exit back into the river. We are still in the taiga covered in endless forests of spruce trees. We passed many kilometers of dead forest, destroyed by fire. Once we had to paddle around a whole lake before finding the outlet. We paddled past large swamps inhabited by flocks of Arctic terns. When we approached, they circled low over our heads to deter us from disturbing their young. Around 8:00 p.m. we wanted to camp, but there was no sandy spot to be seen, only swampy shores with green reeds. So we had to go on against our will, tired and ready to sleep. After two more hours, Ted spotted a dry hill close to a swampy shore. We carried our gear up, and Ted made a nice fire to kill the mosquitoes. The GPS had quit on us because of too much moisture. We fell asleep with the loons' silly laughter in the distance. They only call in this foolish way during mating season. I wonder why!? 43 km

Saturday, July 8

Inside our tent walls there are small blood stains from the mosquitoes we killed after they have already taken a sample from our blood. Today was a hot day. This morning we investigated the area around our campsite. Up the hill we saw lots of animal droppings: squirrels, caribou, rabbits and wolves.
We left only at 11:00 a.m. First we paddled along Tabane Lake from where we had to find the outlet back into the Kazan River. There were many islands and bays that obstructed the view. Our GPS worked again and showed us that the outlet was 100 m from us, yet it took us one whole hour to find it. We were simply on the wrong side of the island. Finally we descended on a few easy rapids into the Kazan. We had lunch at a spot where Ted had camped four years ago and had left two pieces of garment under a rock. The clothes had been dug out by some animal and were lying about. We continued on the fast flowing river until it opened up and became a lake which later on widened into a yet bigger lake. We had headwinds now and paddling was hard. At 7:00 p.m. we set camp on a sandy beach at the entrance to Ennadai Lake. Ted went fishing. The insects were very bad and finally we put our mosquito tent up after blood came running over my nose and made me look like a tragic figure. The evening was beautiful and harmonious. Ted caught a big pike, but let it go again. 20 km

Sunday, July 9

A beautiful sunny morning with no wind. We left camp at 9:00 am for a long paddle on Ennadai Lake. Slowly we left the fire-devastated taiga behind us. The vast areas of broken, blackened naked stems that only carried some bushy branches on the very top looked very depressing, like large fields of giant wheat. We paddled 13.6 km in three hours, then climbed to the top of a hill overlooking the lake, to have lunch. We continued paddling from tip to tip, not going into the deep bays too much. Later, while Ted had to do some map work, I walked up to the top of the little island where we had stopped. Here I could smell the typical aroma of the tundra for the first time this year and it brought back memories of our Hanbury/Thelon trip. Finally we had reached our beloved tundra again! The Labrador tea is blooming, the blueberry bushes stand in pink blossoms, the heather and the fire weed are flowering. Millions of mosquitoes and blackflies are swarming and performing their buzzing spring concert. We are thankful for our headnets and our newly acquired mosquito tent that we attach to the entrance, forming a porch.
We landed briefly on an island where Kasba Lake Lodge has a fishing cabin. Nobody was there, but the door was open. Inside were six bunkbeds with sleeping bags, but the place was a big smelly mess. The guests were out fishing - we could hear a motorboat in the distance. Ted, returning to his childhood-refugee mode, swiped one roll of toilet paper and two cans of beer, all crowded haphazardly in boxes on the floor. Then we paddled off quickly like children running away after a prank.
We paddled around some islands towards the north-east shore of Ennadai Lake. It was an almost windless, quiet tundra day. At 6:30 p.m., we landed on a swampy shore and put our tent close to the water. Birds were singing in the scraggly bushes and in the few trees, huddled together for survival. 32 km

Monday, July 10

Another hot, windless and beautiful day! Before we left, we went back up the hill into the tundra behind us to find Ted's binocular case he left there yesterday evening; with his eagle eyes he was able to spot it. Then we started our day's paddling at 9:30 am, crossing some huge open waters of Ennadai Lake. It was hot, and Ted stripped in the canoe and jumped into the water to wash off the stickiness. He did this twice and for a moment I had the vision that the canoe would drift off too far and I would have to continue on my own. But he managed to hop back in again. We had lunch on a nice sandy beach, and while Ted did his map work, I had my bath. I stripped and rolled from the beach into the water. Then I ran naked along the shore to get rid of a swarm of mosquitoes and some very persistent horseflies. Afterwards we hiked up the hills behind us to have a better view of our route because we had to change directions from north-west to north. For some time we both paddled bare-chested, that is, I only wore my bra and a mosquito shirt. At 6 pm we stopped to make supper. The day was still very hot and windless. Ted went fishing and caught an Arctic grayling instantly. We fried it and it was delicious. That gave us enough energy to paddle another two hours. The water was like a mirror, very still and clear, transparent to the bottom of the lake. Now and then a jet plane flew high above us, leaving a long condensation line behind. At nine o'clock, a slight wind came up and let us sail a bit. We finally quit paddling at ten o'clock. What a beautiful and happy day we had. 45 km

Tuesday, July 11

Already seven days "out on the land" as the Inuit say. We woke up in a piping hot tent. The northern sun had been shining on our roof since 2:30 am. The lake looked like a mirror, but it took some effort to leave the tent, since the chorus of insects at our door reminded us that sunny and windless weather meant torture from mosquitoes and blackflies, Above and to the left of our campsite there were still patches of snow and the sand on our beach was full of rivulets of meltwater flowing into the lake. We paddled into the clear, hot summer day. The lakeshore and the clouds reflected in the lake. It was harder to find the passages between the islands because the land looks very deceiving when it repeats itself upside down in the water. When you see the whole sky in the water, you feel like jumping into it and losing yourself in a never-return land. Crazy. We had lunch on a high esker where the Federal Government keeps a weather station. It is also the site of an army base from the fifties. A lot of equipment, pipes, barrels, also housing with sleeping quarters and kitchen utensils are left here to rot. After the camp was left by the army, two business partners bought the site to turn it into a fishing lodge. But one of them took off with the money and the project had to be abandoned. Several times, owners from fishing lodges have helped themselves to pipes or drums, even to ATVs. We got this information from the four men who had flown in from Yellowknife with Air Tindi to work for the fisheries department. They had the lovely job of being paid for fishing and measuring the fish. After walking around in this camp, we paddled into the afternoon, until we came to the exit of Ennadai Lake. We had to face the usual exit rapids. The land had become very flat and swampy. The insects swarmed around us in a frenzy. Some waves of the rapid spilled high over the bow and got me quite wet. Finally we were on the Kazan again. The current was fast and made paddling easy. We camped on a river bend between two rapids. The blackflies were flying around us in thick clouds. 37 km

Wednesday, July 12

A cloudy day this morning. During the night I woke up to the call of some sic-sics, a northern groundhog, courting each other. At 7:00 a.m. Ted had made breakfast, our porridge, already and brought it to my "bedside". He makes breakfast every morning, and he also washes the camp dishes. He is so concerned about me and wants to make sure that I enjoy myself. It's so nice to get spoiled, something I am not used to. Most of the day, the current of the Kazan carried us swiftly ahead. There were a few rapids all day long, and one more difficult one going into a smaller lake. But it was wide and open and no problem thanks to Ted's expertise. Around noon we were getting confused about the direction of the river, since these northern streams often widen into a small lake and lose themselves for a while. Often there are islands in the lakes and the current is divided and flows in more than one direction. We climbed up on a high shore and found some indications on top that this had been an ancient Inuit hunting ground. We saw several large tent rings, one grave, a food cache, possibly some blinds for the hunters to hide behind. I saw a bone sticking out under a rock and pulled it out. To our amazement it was an ancient bow made of wood. Both ends were shaped round and notched to fasten the sinew. I put it back because you are not supposed to take artifacts from a site. From the top we also could see where the river continued. When we had another break in the afternoon, we found more tent rings. Then we paddled through a beautiful, nameless lake. The landscape around it was green and open. We saw two swans on the water. Finally we reached the exit rapid before entering Dimma Lake. The rapid was described by a canoeist as a "boisterous" one, but it was no problem. Ted wanted to paddle to a certain point on an island where he had camped four years ago. While crossing a large bay, a wind came up and became stronger and stronger, whipping up waves that mounted above my gunwales. Would the wind increase more and catch us on the open water? I insisted - which happens seldom - to paddle to the next possible campsite. After all, we had been on the go for over ten hours. So reluctantly Ted steered the canoe to the next available sandy beach, and I was glad to retire. 47 km

Thursday, July 13

We had a well-deserved good sleep after yesterday's long working hours. The next morning a strong north wind was blowing and we were wind-bound. I was glad, for after eight days of continuous paddling we could use a rest. We have accomplished a third of our trip already! Today we had sun and wind and no insects. What a treat! We both took a full bath in terribly cold water. Then I cooked breakfast for a change. I also washed Ted's shirt which was very dirty on the collar and the cuffs. Walking barefoot in the sand all morning was a special treat for me too. Ted had another snooze while I did my work. Apparently men aren't that tough after all, probably more rough than tough. Because of their stronger muscles and bigger size they appear tougher and believe it too. Ted is a real man, and I love him like that! From time to time the mosquitoes and blackflies flared up briefly when the wind died down for seconds, but with the next gust they were gone again.
Lunch was made, Ted's shirt was hanging on the sailing cord, the tent was still up and I was completely happy. If we get behind, we could still paddle in the evenings. The winds kept coming and going like birth pains. That reminded me of my very pregnant daughter Hella whose baby was due now. Has she been through her ordeal already? The whitecaps on Dimma Lake continued all day. We hiked up into the tundra from where we could see far into the land. We walked along old caribou tracks deepened by the annual migration over time. Here we also found the first rock signs indicating directions, maybe telling the hunters from where the caribou herd will come. Back in the tent, we had "happy hour", tea with a shot of vodka, while we watched the raging lake through our tent window. 0 km

Friday, July 14

Last night it rained, which happens relatively seldom in the tundra. The wind rattled at our tent, but we had secured it with large rocks inside and outside of the tent fly. This morning the wind had changed direction and was coming from the south now. Great for sailing! We had our breakfast quickly and were on the water at 9:15 a.m. We had nice high waves and soon sailed past the sandy tip where Ted had wanted to camp against all odds two days ago. On the right side of Dimma Lake, we stopped to investigate a site where Inuit traces might be discovered. We saw lots of caribou skulls there, but no tent rings. It looked like a more recent camping site. And on we went on a stretch of the Kazan River. We had lunch on top of a rock wall pushed up by the ice. I saw the first animal on this trip, a caribou. Then we entered the second part of Dimma Lake, again sail-assisted. Behind us we could hear thunder which probably sent us the south wind, and we tried to outrun the thunderstorm. To the right we saw animals moving quickly in a long organized line, running away from us. What beasts would run like that? They were geese, hundreds of geese which could not yet fly because they were in their molting season. The storm caught up with us and we had to land on an island and sit under a tarp to outwait the rain. It was nice and cosy to huddle together and watch the spectacle nature was performing for us.
At 5:30 p.m. we were on the water again. We wanted to cover the last ten km which led to the end of Dimma Lake. It was not all that pleasant, since a headwind had come up. We also had to circumnavigate several flat islands surrounded by big boulders through which we had to find our way without damaging the canoe. The sky did not look friendly, but had a circle of low, dark grey rings around it in every direction, quite a depressing atmosphere. Towards the outlet of Dimma Lake, the current became very strong and would surely end in an exit rapid. We decided not to run it this evening because of the flat light. A camping spot was hard to find on a shore lined with low willow bushes growing in the bog. We ferried across the stream to the other side to try our luck there. That way we were also pushed closer and closer towards the rapid that seemed to be very noisy. Finally we saw a camping spot higher up, approx. fifty m above the shore. Ted set up our "home" quickly while it started pouring again and I prepared a split-pea soup thickened with potato powder. While I was watching my soup, Ted had disappeared with his fishing rod and came back after five minutes with two Arctic grayling. We ate one, sauteed and simmered in its own juice, mm … , that was good! We prepared for a cold, windy night by putting our flannelette lining inside our two-man sleeping bag. Two times 36.9° of body temperature mixed with love gave us additional warmth. 47 km

Saturday, July 15

We woke up to a very cold, strong wind and decided to stay in camp for a few more hours. We had pancakes for breakfast because the rest of the outflakes were down below in the canoe. Actually, this was the third windy day, and most people would not venture out on the water. We went for a long walk towards the rapid and discovered that there was no rapid, just steady, very fast water. We saw many caribou ruts on our hike, also "frostboils" where the frost had lifted the soil and had left it dark brown and without vegetation. Beside it grew Irish heather with its pink bells closed against today's cold wind, and unripe low-ground cranberries.
A trip in the tundra is like life itself: You take one day at a time and you wake up happy in the morning, thankful for another day of life ...
For lunch I fried yesterday's grayling while Ted went fishing, just for fun. He came back with a big lake trout. I put it under my bow deck, and we will eat it tomorrow. Late in the afternoon we had a snooze. I found the hole in the leaking mattress and fixed it under Ted's supervision, although I had fixed the other mattress at home all by myself.
Life is beautiful with the two of us out here in total seclusion, no other people, no motor noises, no commitments. I played some melodies on my mouth organ. The wind died down and we'll leave very early tomorrow morning. 0 km

Sunday, July 16

We were both awake very early. Although it was so cosy in the sleeping bag, we got up at 4:30 and started paddling at six. Soon a wind came up again. At first it helped us with the sailing. We sped through one stretch of the river, then across a nameless lake to the next stretch of river. Eventually the wind turned and became such a strong headwind, with whitecaps, that we gave up at 9:00 a.m. and landed on a sandy beach. We had already done fifteen km this morning. It was very cold, but sunny. I had to wear gloves and two fleece sweaters under my Gortex jacket. After a brief walk, we decided to set up our tent and have a nap. Later we woke up to a somewhat lessened wind. I cooked the lake trout Ted had caught yesterday with mashed potatoes. Mm ..., it was good! The area around us showed some devastation from the ice. The carpet of low creeping plants had not survived, but an oasis of new yellow and mauve flowers, black-eyed Susan and asters, maybe only a week old, stood bright and cheerful on the gravel. For the last two days we were able to sit down for a comfort stop without being bitten on our most tender spots, and our mosquito bites are healing. After lunch we paddled on against a headwind and one or two strong squalls sent us briefly off course. We saw one white swan and one white wolf, running along the east shore of the Kazan. The wind kept up its strength until 7:00 pm. We would have liked to camp and rest, but the shore was low and swampy. For the next hour we paddled frantically, always in hope to find a camp spot in the next bay. The wind had died down and the blackflies appeared on shore, hanging on the branches of the willow bushes like huge grapes. At 8:30 we finally found a campsite, the only one far and wide. We were very tired from fighting with the wind most of the day. 35 km

Monday, July 17

The night was so cold that I had to put on a sweater and long pants during the night. Yesterday we had a full moon and a beautiful pink sky after ten p.m. In the morning I had a sponge bath and washed my hair in ice-cold water. My shampoo had turned into a creamy substance in the bottle because of the cold. The Kazan is about five km wide here, like a lake. We had a nice sailing wind until the two shores came close together to form the outlet which led to the exit rapids. From that point on we had to fight a headwind down the rapids. There were several friendly ones, i.e. no obstacles because the Kazan was quite wide here. While we had lunch sitting on a high rock, we could hear water roaring further down which made us a bit nervous. Well, it was not as bad as it had sounded. In the middle of the rapid there was a large rock island which had caused most of the noise; there were boulders to the left and right of it. We ran the rapid with no problem, it was even fun! Continuing down the Kazan we had to battle gusts of wind until we came to the first lake.
The pattern of river, lake, river repeats itself again and again. The tundra is a very young landscape geologically seen. The ice of the last ice age left here ten thousand years later than elsewhere. Therefore the river systems are also young and the rivers have not dug definite river beds everywhere. Often rivers spread out and become lakes before the water finds a way where the land is the lowest. ( I hope that my explanation can stand ground against a professional geologist!)
The land spread out wide in front of us, the shores were green and hilly, and no animals around except some geese with their young fleeing anxiously as soon as we approached. There were also other birds such as swans, loons, ducks, seagulls and terns. At the entrance to the next big lake, Angikuni Lake, we found a camp spot on a cliff overlooking the huge body of water which we will have to paddle the next days. We had the chicken meal that the Zybachs’ had given us as a wedding gift. It tasted great and it was wonderful to sit here in the middle of the tundra in harmony with nature and with each other. Ted went fishing later on - he loves it - and caught two huge lake trout. We decided to let them go again, they were too big for us. 27 km

Tuesday, July 18

Happy birthday, Olaf, my second-born child, on your 39th birthday. When you were born, I never dreamt that I would sit in the tundra on your birthday one day!
We left camp at 9:30 a.m. and paddled into a slightly cloudy, warm and windless day. We felt lots of energy this morning. Was it from the protein powder sprinkled on our porridge, from the Zybachs’ chicken, or from the fermented cream cheese that we had mixed into the porridge to get rid of it?? We paddled along the west shore of Angikuni Lake, then changed to a south-east direction. This lake is very difficult to navigate, because you have to find your way through many islands, but Ted is great with the compass and the GPS and does a marvelous job of navigating! We had lunch on one of these islands. Here we found traces of caribou and of the Inuit when they still lived off the land. Ted spotted a rock pile of an odd shape with his binoculars. On approaching it, we saw that it was a grave. Since it is impossible to dig a grave in this climate, the Inuit built up rocks to create a cave for their dead. At the foot end there was a hole in the top for better ventilation. Inside we could see a totally intact skeleton of a greenish colour. What a thrill to find something like that! Ted is very interested in anthropology and has enough imagination to recognize an anthropological site where someone else would only see a pile of rocks. What a shame that he never had the chance to promote his talents! It was quite warm in the afternoon, a really friendly summer day. In the evening we went for a long hike into the rocky hills of the tundra while the sandhill cranes raised their voices complaining about our presence. 35 km

Wednesday, July 19

When we left at ten a.m., it was already hot, but on the water a light breeze helped to keep our energy up. While we had lunch on one of the islands in Angikuni Lake, we found a small, black propane stove on the rocks of the beach. How did it get here in the middle of nowhere? Did the ice push it here? Nobody lives here, but the Inuit might travel this far while the lakes are frozen. In the afternoon we had some wind-assisted paddling across big open water. We reached the shore from which the outlet leads back into the Kazan. A high rock elevation in the distance enticed us to stop and hike up. While landing, we scraped the canoe a bit and Ted got mad at me for not having avoided it. That spoiled the peaceful atmosphere somewhat. We first had to walk through low willow bushes full of mosquitoes and blackflies that were very lively on this beautiful summer day. On top of the mountain we saw two sandhill cranes, some grouse and a big fat hare. What a splendid view from here, the vast land, the huge lake dotted with islands, and us two. God seemed closer to us here than in the city, and I had the strong feeling that he held His hand over us in protection. We only had to paddle a few more kilometers to reach the entrance to the Kazan. 35 km

Thursday, July 20

We left at ten a.m., paddling into a nice hazy summer day. After half an hour we came to the first rapid. It was wide and friendly and caused no problems. A big flock of geese fled up into the hills in military formation. Then we saw the first herd of muskoxen on this trip, twenty-four animals with some new calves. What an excitement! We spent a full hour trying to approach them, first from the water and then walking across the land. But they noticed us every time and ran away behind the nearest hill to appear slightly later on the shore again. But finally they took off into the far hills out of sight.
We had lunch and then continued over more rapids, across some lakes and back again onto the Kazan which is very wide and fast flowing here. Sometimes we could sail. In the afternoon around four we both seemed to be tired and would have liked to set up camp, but when the weather is good you have to keep going in these northern regions, for you never know if inclement conditions will make it impossible to continue tomorrow. Ted wanted to reach a spot where he had camped four years ago. For a while we were confused which channel to take between some flat islands and very shallow water. Then we noticed an inukshuk on one of them and understood that it was put there long ago to show the right way to the lonely wanderer. At seven p.m. we had reached the camp spot where we put our nylon “home" on a high point overlooking the river. Ted caught two fish that tasted delicious. He was nervous tonight, somewhat irritable. After some prodding, I found out that we'll have to do the three cascades tomorrow and he was worried about them. A report from two other canoeists mentioned a three-kilometer portage. We went for a long evening walk. Later, in the tent, we got startled by a loud, agonizing screech of an animal crying in pain - a drama of life and death in the wilderness. 50 km

Friday, July 21

Last night I woke up from a grunting noise. It took me a while to realize that it came from Ted's stomach and not from an animal snooping around. We have half of our trip behind us and I am wondering if we still have a half of our food left. Will we have enough to eat till the end? I counted our pumpernickel slices and decided to make up two per person for our lunch sandwiches from now on. We need to keep up our strength because we don't know what ordeals lie ahead of us.
It was another lovely, slightly windy summer day, an ideal day to do the three cascades. The wind kept the bugs under control. The cascades can be a canoeist's nightmare. You either have to walk around them in a three-kilometer portage over bog, very uneven ground and through high, dense brush, or you can lift over and/or portage the minimum. You paddle between these small waterfalls over very fast water with keepers, tongues, high waves, between boulders, always alert and careful that the strong current does not push you into one of all those obstacles. Of course Ted, an expert white-water paddler, chose the latter. Three times we unloaded the canoe. At the first cascade, which is a fair-sized waterfall, we lifted the empty canoe across a ledge on the right side of the river. Then we launched in the strong current and ferried across to the other side. There we had to pull the canoe up the steep embankment, unload it and carry it five hundred meters and let it down in the water on a rope and do the same with all the other equipment. Then off we paddled to the third cascade where we had to repeat the same procedure. The peeling out after this one was particularly difficult as we had to avoid a keeper (vortex) close to our right side. With a triumphant cry, we whizzed past the danger spot into quiet water. The most difficult part of the Kazan trip was behind us! What we did not expect today was a long series of rapids an hour later. Some of them were a breeze, others had ledges and four-foot waves. Today I have paddled through enough rapids to stop worrying about them, just brace yourself and go! I got quite wet however, and at 6:30 p.m I was ready to change my clothes, to go for a walk, or best, to stop and camp. We retired to a not so pretty island that was not quite up to standard according to Ted's camping taste, but it became more cosy after we had set up our home. 35 km

Saturday, July 22

During the night I woke up because my mosquito bites were too itchy. When we started paddling it was very cloudy. Slowly the sky became darker and behind us a huge, black cloud threatened us. The wind picked up and began to whip across the small lake we were traversing. On the other side, we quickly built a lean-to just in time before it started pouring heavily. We stretched out under the tarp for a little snooze. After the shower, we continued over lakes and fast stretches of the river. In the north, we could see high green mountain ranges. The Kazan has to descend through these mountain ranges to sea level and it does it dramatically, forming many rapids between here and Baker Lake. We ran one rapid that is mostly portaged partly and then lined the canoe through narrow side channels. Ted held the stern rope and I the bow rope while we jumped from rock to rock. At one point I let the rope slip out of my hand because the canoe was heavy and the footing was difficult. Ted gave me a severe lecture about this and left me so depressed that I felt like going home. Next time I'll rather break my leg than let go. When we had the rapids behind us, it started raining again. We set up camp very quickly, and just when we had settled down inside, a thunder shower came down on us. Ted had put the tarp over our mosquito-net entrance and secured it with big rocks. We were cosy and at peace; all troubles were forgotten. 45 km

Sunday, July 23

This morning it was cool but sunny again. Ted treated me to coffee in bed. How nice of him! Later we had a full bath with shampooing, standing in the shallow lake water on a sandy bottom. When we started paddling, the water was as clear as a mirror. But a big black cloud hung behind us. The paddling was great. We stopped to investigate a fox hole on one island, but found it empty. Later Ted spotted three prominent inukshuks on a hill. To reach solid ground, we first had to paddle across a pond and through willow bushes growing in the water. We found spring conditions here, a high water level and flowering willows. One of the inukshuks looked human, with arms and legs, and one had a pointed animal snout. There were deep animal tracks all over the place. This must have been a major hunting ground for the Inuit at one time. We also saw moose droppings. After the break we continued on our way towards Yathkyed Lake, the last big lake we had to cross. The landscape became wider and more open as the small lake gave way to the huge body of water of Yathkyed, which means "the great ice-filled one" in the Inuktitut language. Our hearts and minds also opened, grateful to be able to experience the vastness of the true north. The big black cloud accompanied us all day, but only released a few raindrops here and there, We stopped when two other inukshuks beckoned us. This time we had found a major site with several food caches and at least two graves. When we lifted the flat rock on top of one grave, a human skull stared at us. We also found old tent rings overgrown by willow bushes. Then we paddled until we had to change direction from straight north to east, thus leaving the danger zone of the prevailing north winds. We put up our tent after a full day of lake paddling, unassisted by current or wind. 35 km

Monday, July 24

We woke up to a calm, sunny day, although we saw some low fog in the distance. This lake keeps ice and snow longer than the other big lakes. Therefore we found spring conditions here. The flowers were just out, the blackflies had not yet fully hatched, and we saw snow patches on the shore and ice around the small rock islands. Did the low fog in the distance mean that the east side of the lake was still covered in ice? At noon Ted caught a nice big trout that we had for lunch. We had no wind all day and crossed bay after bay from tip to tip, crossing open water of six kilometers several times. Later we had a break on a lovely pebble beach. The sun was hot, the air smelled like spring and the mosquitoes were hiding. How I would have liked to set up camp right here, maybe pretend to be Adam and Eve and sunbath naked in the sand! But we paddled until 6:30 in the evening. Our tent sits above some granite pools filled with lake water and I used them to wash our clothes. 30 km

Tuesday, July 25

Although it was foggy early in the morning, the fog had lifted at nine o'clock and we paddled into another good-weather day. Today we wanted to find the outlet of Yathkyed Lake and return to the Kazan River. We knew that one could reach the river in two ways: either make an eight-kilometer crossing to reach the tip of a very long peninsula, or paddle deep into the bay formed by the peninsula and portage half a kilometer across the most narrow part of it. But who wants to portage if there is another way? So we set out to do the 8-km crossing on calm water. In the distance we could see low fog or rather a low white cloud on the water. After an hour of paddling we saw a strange line on the water and a seagull standing on it. We pulled our binoculars out and recognized a solid ice surface all the way to the shore. What should we do now? Sliding over the ice was too dangerous. We could paddle east around the ice hoping that it did not block the lake exit, or we could paddle into the bay and portage over the peninsula. Ted suggested that we walk the four kilometers to the highest point from which we could see the exit. The whole river entrance was blocked with ice which meant that paddling eastward around the ice did not make sense. We walked back to our canoe, had lunch there and then paddled into the bay to portage across the narrow land to reach the river a few kilometers below the blocked entrance.
The portage across the bog took us fifty minutes. First we pulled the canoe across the soggy tundra and through big puddles. Then we had to walk back to carry our gear across. It was hot, and sweat ran down our faces in tiny streams. At first the Kazan was like a lake with very little flow. After two hours we came to the exit rapid where all the water from this lake was pressed together into a narrow channel. The rapid was very powerful with high waves, holes, ledges and many boulders on both sides. Ted steered us through it in his usual expertise, but admitted later that there was one tense moment when he had thought that the current would overpower us. Today we came upon some human traces of the modern kind: We heard a drilling motor in the distance after we had left Yathkyed Lake, and we saw a cabin not too far from the rapid.
After supper we climbed up a steep, rocky hill behind our campsite. On top I had a big surprise: I found a pair of good eight by twenty-five Audubon binoculars. They must have lain here all the winter months. One lens had come off, but we found it nearby; so now I have a perfectly intact pair of spy glasses. 30 km

Wednesday, July 26

We left at 10:00 a.m. into another sunny day. Five km later, we had to run a major rapid. It was fast but manageable. We scouted it first, and Ted explained to me his plan how to run it on the right side. We got a little bit more drawn into the high waves than was planned, and I got quite wet. We had to stop in an eddy afterwards and sponge out the water. In the last part of the rapid we saw an aluminum canoe wrecked on the rocks. When did it happen, years ago or this summer? What happened to the unlucky canoeists? Maybe the accident took place miles away from here and the canoe was swept away by the current…
We continued happily on our route, speeding down the fast river. We saw two muskoxen. In the evening we arrived at Ford Lake, the second last lake we have to cross. Ted caught two Arctic grayling which tasted delicious. Ted was a very happy camper today. He did not even get mad when I hit two underwater rocks in very shallow water. It was a great day! 42 km

Thursday, July 27

"Freda, get up, the wind is in our favour". It was 7:00 a.m. We rushed so much that there was hardly time for a morning kiss. A strong south wind took us sailing for three hours. As we sailed along the shore, we saw whole fields of Arctic cotton waving in the distance. At the north end of Ford Lake, we had to cross a four-kilometer wide bay to reach the outlet of the lake. This crossing was a bit hair-raising, because the waves were quite high and came from the side. At 1:30 p.m., we had covered eighteen km and were sitting high above the outlet eating our pumpernickel lunch. Here we found metal rods cemented into a rock. Maybe a camera had been mounted here at one time, because this looked like a major caribou crossing. There were many deeply rutted tracks and caribou hair.
Then we were back on the fast water of the Kazan. We could see high cliffs beyond the green lowlands. Some of them had big inukshuks on them. Some of them might warn the lonely traveller of an upcoming rapid. Others indicate old hunting grounds, and the old, half-sunken rocks of a tent ring here indicated that this must have been one. Geese seem to be the most common animals, especially on the lakes. You think that you see pointed rocks sticking out of the water - it looks like a long spit extending far into the lake - but suddenly there is splashing water and loud honking as the geese take off, brushing the water with their wings. We also saw the first snow geese.
Today we had an exciting experience: Close to the water we saw a muskox grazing behind a big boulder. We landed and Ted slowly crept closer and closer. I was standing close to the canoe, keeping it ready for take-off in case we had to save our skins. Finally the prehistoric beast looked up and stared at me and then at Ted who was only three meters away from him. Ted quickly took several shots before the muskox ran off. He had most likely never seen such strange “animal” and decided to keep a safe distance. What a thrill that was!
Then we continued paddling, greatly assisted by wind and current. We had to cross several small lakes and took the wrong direction once. The cause of this mistake was a herd of muskoxen that led us astray by attracting our attention. Back on track, we came into a head wind because the river had changed direction. On river-left we spotted several inukshuks close to a set of three vicious rapids caused by big ledges in the river. The first rapid had a small opening in its ledge on the right side and we had to ferry across in a heavy headwind. We had to struggle to make the crossing far enough above the vortex and passed it too close for my taste before we reached the opening. Then we got out and lined the canoe through a bony side channel, got back in and ran the second rapid. There we were drawn into a big wave that made both of us wet and spilled into the boat. To avoid this cold shower, we should have paddled through the wave in joint force, but I misinterpreted Ted's call "let go" as "stop paddling", inexperienced as I am. Needless to say, Ted was not happy about that and could not understand why I had stopped paddling. Later on in camp we used the last portion of our vodka for a spiked tea and straightened out the incident.
We had paddled twelve hours today and decided to take it easy tomorrow. When we were already peaceful and cosy in the tent, it started raining. 65 km

Friday, July 28

This morning we were not in a rush. The wind was quite strong and could become fierce. Ted served me breakfast in bed and I glued my sandal. We were now at the entrance of the last big lake, called Thirty-Mile Lake. We left at 3:00 p.m. and paddled close to shore because according to our information we were near some major Inuit sites. But first we discovered signs of the more modern world: An old greenish container to test the permafrost, a now roofless shack with trays of geological drilling samples and an old campsite. The latter was surrounded by rusty cans, an old axe and a grave made of piled-up rocks. All this could well be the remains of an early expedition, some fifty years ago. In the distance we saw a huge inukshuk on the crest of a mountain. When we hiked up, we found a major Inuit site, food caches, hunting blinds, split animal bones, caribou tracks and an open grave. The remains of the dead person must have been in a coffin-like container at one time. Now only some rusty metal straps and a sort of closure were left. Some bones such as the femur and pelvis as well as an enamel cup and a cross were lying flat on the ground. As we pondered the transient aspect of life, a caribou wandered past us. He must have lost his herd which probably passed by here three weeks ago. The shore of Thirty-Mile Lake is still lined with caribou hair, for it is here that the animals have been crossing over to an island for hundreds of years.
We enjoyed the great view from the mountain top when we noticed some movement in the lake. It was not an animal, but three canoes - the first ones we saw on this trip - paddling towards an island. Later we recognized their tents and six people running about. Finally we walked back to our canoe and paddled to one of the islands to retire for the night. 12 km, a nice break

Saturday, July 29

When we left at 8:00 a.m. it was sunny, but by eleven o'clock the sky had changed to an unfriendly grey. In the distance we could make out some movement on an island and Ted recognized it as a group of people dismantling their tents. We approached "their" island to meet them. They were six young men from an outdoor program in Minnesota. Their route was Kasba Lake, Angikuni Lake, upstream to the Kunwak River, downstream (east) on the Kunwak, and then into this lake. The three canoes we saw yesterday were paddled by six girls from the same organization. We saw the boys again later on at the exit rapid of Thirty-Mile Lake. They were portaging the whole length of the rapid. We ran the first part of it, then stopped close to a ledge; we scouted it and decided to run the whole rapid, considering that there was help near us in case something went wrong. We had to paddle a tricky S-bend between two boulders. Ted was a great captain this time, and I did the right thing at the right moment. We ran the rapid perfectly while the six young Americans stood above the rapid on a cliff and cheered us, clapping their hands.
Three kilometers below the rapid we set camp because rain was coming down steadily for a while; it turned into a violent downpour with thunder and lightning while we sat dry and cosy in our tent. 55 km

Sunday, July 30

It rained off and on all night. Although the comfort of the tent and Ted's warm body beside me made me feel cosy and secure, I could not sleep. The excitement of the rapid yesterday and the noise of a raging thunderstorm kept me awake. In the morning the sky was still grey and foggy, so we took our time to have a relaxed breakfast with porridge and pancakes. Then we packed everything and carried it to the canoe, ready to go. Suddenly a heavy shower came down on us. Quickly we fastened the tarp to the canoe and crept under it. Ted drifted into a snooze - apparently a male talent - . But soon he got cold, and I persuaded him to put the tent up again. Finally we were comfortable again in the sleeping bag for an afternoon nap. Later we ate our lunch sandwiches and had another nap. For our evening meal we had the trout Ted had caught yesterday. Then we drifted off into a dream world, happy to have each other. 0 km

Monday, July 31

Ted was very grumpy this morning: "As soon as you are in the canoe, you should be ready to go, or we might as well spend another day here, wasting time.", he said when I reached for my sunglasses from under the bow deck. What on earth had eaten him at 7:30 in the morning? Were we not ready to go? It was a cold sunny day which we should have enjoyed in peace. Paddling was hard against the wind, but we were glad to be on the move again. Why did Ted keep nagging me that I was not paddling properly, etc, etc.? By and by I found out what it was: he was very nervous about the upcoming Kazan Falls. There is always the worry in the back of your mind: Will we be able to get out in time close to the falls?
After two hours of paddling we stopped at a famous Inuit site where the Government had conducted excavations some years ago. However, there were not as many interesting findings as we had discovered ourselves earlier on this trip. On the opposite river side was a water resource cabin where the Government checks the water by remote-control. The cabin is open to canoeists and hunters. It was clean and warm, and contained four bunk beds. There was a log book that was very interesting to read. We read Ted's note that he had written four years ago and somebody else's comment that it was nice to hear about Ted again. That's how famous he is! We had lunch here, and I had the feeling that Ted was delaying our departure.
Finally we were on the water again, paddling against a head wind. Two hours later we could already see the foam above the waterfall in the distance. The rapid leading to the falls had high choppy waves. I braced myself against the oncoming wall of white water, but one wave threw me off balance and the canoe started rocking dangerously. Our canoe has great secondary stability and therefore stabilized again instead of tipping, but it scared us. Nobody wants to tip one kilometer above a waterfall. We paddled to shore and Ted chewed me out; I was more in need of a hug than a sermon! Too scared to go on paddling, we lined the canoe for the last stretch before the Kazan Falls. Then we unloaded and started the one-kilometer portage around the falls. The boys from Minnesota were also here and greeted us. They offered to help us carry our gear. The leader even carried our canoe. I guess they respected our grey hair and our age.
We set up our tent and then wandered back along the canyon to take pictures of the magnificent spectacle the Kazan performs here. Ted, in his boyish foolishness, waded waste-deep through a side channel to a huge boulder from where he took pictures. The water was ice-cold and I knew how bad that was for his back and other precious organs to walk back to camp in totally wet clothes. I changed to my motherly mode and chewed him out. He had to strip, crawl into the sleeping bag and warm up with a hot lemon drink. He did not mind the treatment. 25 km

Tuesday, August 1

We slept well to the loud melody of the Kazan Falls. Today we both had breakfast in bed prepared by Ted. We took it easy, drying some clothes, repairing Ted's sandal and slowly loading the canoe. It was sunny, and while we conversed with the six American boys - Ted talked and they listened - the wind picked up. We left at 11:00 a.m., paddling against a strong wind, but assisted by a ten km/hour current. At noon we had an extended lunch to wait out the wind. We passed two ATVs and a snowmobile parked on the high shore by Inuit from Baker Lake.
Autumn has started already. The Arctic cotton has released its seeds and looks empty and grey and the insects' stings have become weaker. The north wind blows more often and with increasing power. The wings of the geese have gathered more strength for their flight south.
We stopped several times to look at some structures left by the Inuit. One site had excellent samples of hunters' blinds, food caches and tiny stone houses built like igloos. The Kazan had become very powerful, as if to show off one last time before dying in the waters of Baker Lake. There were two respect-demanding rapids, and then the whole river became like one continuous rapid with high dancing waves, white foamy crests and deep troughs. Suddenly I saw something special: At first it looked like brown stalks already dead from a first frost, but they were moving towards the water. Lo and behold, it was a herd of approximately one hundred caribou ready to cross the river! The lead bull was trying to push them back and to make them turn around. We got out and watched the animals walk up the hill.
When we continued, we passed a small family of grazing muskoxen. Finally the Kazan divided into several arms to form a delta. It became very shallow and bony. We stopped and climbed on a pile of gravel to look for a suitable campsite. That's when we saw the big herd of thousands of caribou walking across the tundra in the distance. They were on their way south where they spend the winter. The smaller herd we had seen earlier must have been part of them, and that's why the lead bull wanted to push his flock up the hill. What a reward this sight was on our last day on the Kazan River!
When we finally entered the waters of Baker Lake, I could not help a sad feeling creeping up in me: Our tundra odyssey was almost over! True, we did have some strenuous days behind us, anxiety before a difficult stretch of water or some worries about the weather. The tundra had forced us to come to terms with its laws, and because of that we will miss it now.
One more surprise today: We paddled along the shore of Baker Lake to a peninsula where an old Inuit couple lived whom Ted had met four years ago. They were still in the same spot. The old fellow came to greet us with his grandchildren Patrick and Lisa on his ATV. He recognized Ted right away. I cooked supper, and we shared it with old Norman and Patrick. Then Norman invited us to his cabin for tea and bannock. It was a very simple plywood shack, and inside arranged in the same way as they did when they still lived in igloos: A huge bed shared by everybody, a kerosene heater, a Coleman stove, shelves and many photos and pictures on the wall, family photos and catholic-faith pictures. Outside were a motorboat, the ATV, an outhouse, and at a fair distance a shack with his sled dogs. During the winter months, October to May, they go back to the Baker Lake settlement on the north shore of the lake.
We fell asleep to the cackling sounds of some sandhill cranes behind us. 55 km

Wednesday, August 2

We left at 8:00 a.m. after our Inuit friend Norman Attungala had come to say goodbye to us. The wind on our eight-kilometer crossing was stronger than we would have liked it, and increased gradually. When we reached the first solid ground, a flat island inhabited by seagulls and Arctic terns, we decided to stay here until the wind died down. At 5:30 p.m. we felt that it was safe enough to paddle on. It was still thirty kilometers to the town of Baker Lake. First we had our minds set on arriving there today, for when so close to one's final destination one gets impatient!
After crossing over to the other side, we followed the shore. There was the odd cabin in the distance belonging to Inuit who like to live out "on the land" in the milder part of the year. At a quarter to eleven it was so dark that we could not recognize any rocks in the quite shallow water close to a chain of islands. I wanted to camp, and Ted gave in. The very last reflection of light helped us to set up the tent and cook our evening meal. We were not even sure how suitable the campsite was and on which island we were. But the lights of Baker Lake were visible in the north and we could see a landing or departing airplane from time to time. 40 km

Thursday, August 3

We were on Sagliq Island and close enough to civilization to find camping garbage here. We left at 12:40 p.m. after burring our rubbish and that of previous campers. The water was shallow caused by the sand deposits of the two huge rivers, the Thelon and the Kazan. We had to dodge rocks and fight against a headwind. We had barely made it past some islands when we got stuck on a sand bar and had to take a detour eastward to avoid more problems. Part of our problem was due to the tides, because the influence of the Hudson Bay, two hundred km south-east of here, was already noticeable. Once we had to get out and pull our canoe through a narrow, sandy channel.
At six p.m. we landed on the shore of Baker Lake, exactly in front of Tom and Becky Koodloo's house. We had stayed with them last year and they welcomed us heartily.
Ed. note: distance?

Epilogue:
Another tundra summer is over for us. We have lived on the land for four weeks and through three seasons. We have witnessed the death of winter with the ice melting, early spring with the freshness of the first flowers, the waves of Arctic cotton in the summer wind, the faded beauty of the blossoms in the fall and the migration of thousands of caribou going south again. Every day has been a gift and a new challenge for us. We have lived through perils and wonders of the tundra seasons, grateful for the gift of health, wisdom and protection from above. In the evenings, Ted and I have been happy in the cosiness of our small nylon tent. The tundra is a great healer for both our lives. It has given us unforgettable memories that we hope to reminisce and exchange sitting in a rocking chair one day when we will be too old to spend the summers in the wilderness.

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:250,000): 
<p>55M, 56D, 65C, 65D, 65F, 65I, 65J, 65K, 65P, 66A</p>
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Editor’s Comments:
This trip was undertaken by Ted & Freda Mellenthin & the report, originally a personal account, was written & typed (by typewriter) by Freda Mellenthin & was not prepared specifically for posting at CCR; it was then scanned, digitized & submitted by Allan Jacobs in January 2008; as a result, some information is not easily available & some errors were introduced by the scanning process.

Many thanks to the Mellenthins & Allan Jacobs for their efforts!

This trip is not suitable for a first barrenlands trip.