Bill Layman & Lynda Holland's 2003 Porcupine River Trip
Vermette Lake, Northwest Territories to Stony Rapids, Saskatchewan 
   
  Day #13 - Tuesday July 8, 2003 - Route Detail

What a day! We woke early at 6:00 so I could do my CBC radio interview..

 
Bill & Lynda's Home Page
 
At 7:30, we got away into a clear blue cloudless sky on mirror flat water. Every once in a bit we hit a tiny south breeze but it wasn't enough to slow us down and cooled us nicely. About 11:00 we stopped at a gorgeous vertical cliff that was easily 60 feet high. Covered in bright red, green and yellow lichen, it was absolutely spectacular. I was puzzled by all the so called "whitewash" - bird droppings - on the cliff as I couldn't see any nest. When we left, I finally noticed a big bald eagle nest tucked away on a rock outcropping so my question was answered. Sadly, the nest was inactive or I could have maybe got a picture of an eagle on the cliff.
Beautiful Cliff Face
   
  Just before we got to Selwyn Lake Lodge we saw a cow and calf moose swimming across to a nearby island. I doubted we would get a look at them but when we got close and they spotted us, instead of running into the bush, they charged into the lake and started to swim back to where they had come from. We followed as closely as possible so we could get some pictures, but Lynda is a real unwilling participant in these adventures and, as a result, I ended up yelling at her to paddle harder which only served to get her to slow down more ...... I was mad and she was sad but we got past it. Hopefully, though, I got a picture or two.
 

 

 

We got to Selwyn Lake Lodge at about 4:00 and what a great camp it is. A fantastic set-up, perfectly protected so you can get a float plane in or out in any wind. This would be as a result of the fact that Gord Wallace - the owner with his wife Mary - has a Cessna 185 on floats and he has to land here as well as the tourists who come in from Stony Rapids. .

 
     
 
We met Dwayne and Angel Nilghe and their grandparents Fred and Maryanne. Soon after we arrrived, Stan, one of the guides and a friend of Gord and Mary came in off the lake. As well, we met Lane the cook. And get this. There are only two guests in the camp right now and, as a result, Stan offered to put us up and feed us for the night. Lynda is having a shower right now as we speak. Pretty decadent given that we have only been out less than two weeks. I hate to get spoiled like this as I could really get used to it in a hurry.
Dwayne Nilghe
 
     
 

The bad news is Gord and Mary had to leave for Prince Albert as Gord needed some dental work. Too bad, as I really would have liked to visit him and tell him face to face what a great camp he has here. I'll just have to tell him in La Ronge sometime when I see him. In fact, for all the hospitality, I think I had better take him and Mary out for supper in Saskatoon the next time we get down there.

Gotta' go folks. We will be on the Porcupine River by tomorrow night so maybe a grayling for supper.

 
     
  Day #14 - Wednesday July 9, 2003 - Route Detail  
  Well this sure was a different day for us!  
     
 
John Lovelace from Wings Over Canada had phoned Dave Webster from Northern Dene Air / Norcanair prior to our canoe trip. He wondered if there was any way they could get a show segment about northern canoe trips while they were in the area doing a show about Dave's two airlines. Since Dave knew we were doing a shorter trip near to Stony Rapids trip this year he suggested us. So with a series of frantic phone calls up to midnight last night we got a plan cobbled together for them to fly out to Selwyn by about 10:00 in the morning..
Wings Over Canada Crew
   
 

Up at 6:00 getting ready - and both exhausted from going to bed so late - we started the phone calls all over again. Everything looked great - the weather was CAVU as the pilots say - with clear blue cloudless skies, not a breath of wind, and bright sun - perfect for the film adventure. But by 10:00 when they hadn't arrived I phoned to figure out what was happening. Somehow or another Dave's 180 got "pranged" - a technical pilot term for an accident - and they were re-planning the whole flight. They had crammed everything into John's 185 and were just about ready to leave when I called. With the help of Stan Clarke from Selwyn lake Lodge - I can't thank him enough for all the putting up with us he did - we got a tow out to what they call "Hawaii Beach" on Lucy Island about 6 miles from the lodge.

Stan's pick of a spot for film was the BEST! Within minutes of our arrival by boat we could see the 185 and in no time it was parked tail in at the beach and we all introduced ourselves. Stan immediately got "volunteered' by the film crew to be the film boat and was so good about doing it I felt embarrassed for all they asked of him. "Speed up, ok ok ok slow down ... over to the left.. now ahead .... blah blah blah." This went on for about 3 solid hours. We must have paddled 5 miles up and back the shoreline next to the beach..

He and the folks form Selwyn Lake Lodge get my and Lynda's heartfelt thanks for everything. Gord and Mary Wallace get a free night out for supper the next time we make it to Saskatoon. We would take Stan with us but he says from Ottawa it could make for a very long day getting to Saskatoon.

The filming was new for us and it was very interesting to watch how John and his camerman worked two cameras and made the whole script up on the fly. They have been at this for awhile and given they have the show syndicated on 57 channels including PBS I guess this is Lynda's and my Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame. By 3 we were all exhausted - particularily Dave Webster who we termed honouray "best boy" and "key grip" - actually Dave stood on the sidelines and got to watch the whole thing and the toughest thing he did was when John let him land the 185 on their arrival.

Between shots and what not Dave and I had a good visit and discussed our mutual love of the north and the upcoming Dene Land use meetings to be held in August on Damant Lake or somewhere on the edge of the barrens. I mentioned this before, and this is part of Ron Robilalrd's North of 60 Land Use negotiations. What Lynda and I wouldn't give to tag along on this trip to tape some of the elders who will be there. Dave told told us one 92 year old man, Napoleon Mckenzie, was just medivacted to the Saskatoon hospital so it is unlikely he will be there for what would surely have been his last time on the barrens. What a pity, the stories he would have remembered as he stood on the edge of the trees and feasted on caribou ribs.

By 3:00 we were all wrapped up, 6 miles behind where we had ended the night before, as we had backtracked to the beach, and said our good byes. Quick tea and a bannock and we set off for a quick 12 mile paddle to the mouth of the Porcupine where we now sit at 7:30 totally wiped out from a lack of sleep, to much excitement, and too many people all moving way too fast. We opted for water, bannock and dry meat for supper and hit the sack on the worst, most unlevel spot I have ever seen - but it isn't going to matter tonight, I can tell you.

For more information on the lodge, the show and broadcast schedules visit the websites:

Wings over Canada
Selwyn Lake Lodge.

   
  Last Year La Ronge to Arviat 2002 Map
Introduction Story for the 2002 trip
Check out Bill and Lynda's
2001 trip to the Dubawnt River in NWT & Nunavut.
Bill Layman's bio - with other Trips & Stories by Bill.
Live text edited by
Joan Eyolfson Cadham, freelance writer/editor, Foam Lake Saskatchewan.
Bill & Lynda's Home Page

 

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