Bill Layman & Lynda Holland's 2002 trip
La Ronge, Saskatchewan to Arviat, Nunavut on Hudson Bay - 55 Days and 1000 miles.
Day #32 Thursday July 11, 2002

Finally, finally, finally. Lynda and I are back on the water. We got out of Wollaston at about 10:30 and are now sitting under the kitchentarp about 15 miles up the lake on the way to the Cochrane River.

As a very wonderful start to our trip, Jimmie Tsannie met us with his grandmother Annie Benonie. She took a willow branch and offered a prayer in Dene as she threw it into the water.

Lynda and Annie Benonie
  This, of course, was for our good luck on the trip. And what a start. We had dead calm all day. Not a breath of wind and a slightly overcast sky so it wasn't too hot. I feel almost guilty saying this, as Tom and I had nothing but wind in our faces for the entire trip from La Ronge to Wollaston.

We were to have spaghetti tonight, but as we rounded a rocky point I told Lynda I was going to troll for a few minutes for trout. Literally 20 seconds after the hook hit the water we had a four pound trout. The plan now is to have trout with Black Beans and rice. Sorry Tom .. I know I promised not to talk about the food but I just had to do it.

And for the "odd and odder column," I have to tell you what I saw last night as we were packing up. A 16 foot aluminum boat pulling a water skier up and down the bay raced past where we were standing. And what's odd about that, you say? Well the kids were using an eight foot oak trapper's toboggan instead of water skis. How's that for creative?

We're home again and once more I marvel at the instant calm that grips my soul as we move into the dream that is the north.

Day #33 Friday July 12, 2002

Up at 6:00 and in the water by 7:15. A longish lunch stop of about 1 1/2 hours at 11:30, but we had calm and tail winds. So at 7:00, when we quit, we had cracked off about 32 miles.

We sailed for at least three hours and, although I still had to paddle hard to keep us at speed, it was a great day. Whatever Annie Benonie said when she threw the willow branch into the water worked. If she were here, Lynda and I would give her a big hug.

Cochrane Village
  Since she isn't, we are counting on her grandson Jimmie to do it for us and thank her for the prayer.

Here's hoping her prayer works all the way to Hudson Bay.

I should have mentioned yesterday that we are solidly in Dene country now. This is still the Hatchet Lake Band's (Wollaston) back yard and soon we will be into the land they share with the Barren Land's Band (Lac Brochet) turf. Truth is they sort of criss cross each other over where they still go and where they used to go. We talked to a young man at Wollaston yesterday. When he heard where we were going, he told us he had been all the way to Seal Hole Lake at the north end of Nueltin by skidoo. Like I said before, Dene really like to travel. We stopped today at what is loosely termed Cochrane River Village.

Five years ago, about six families got tired of Wollaston and moved to this gorgeous sand and jackpine esker. They had a "trap line" school for the kids and from all accounts thoroughly enjoyed the move back to "the bush." Although at the moment the spot is not really settled on a full time basis, my guess is that it won't be long before some people are back out there and the school is re-opened. George St Pierre (who I just worked with) and his wife Melanie lived there and would really like to go back. As well, Hector and Mary Ann Kailther, friends of ours, would love to get out of town. And you can bet if they do, we will be visiting by skidoo.

Time to go. I am shot. The spaghetti is ready. Life is good ... Have I said this a few too many times?

  La Ronge to Arviat Trip Map
Here are the
Sponsors & 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.


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