|Bill Layman & Lynda Holland's
La Ronge to Arviat on Hudson Bay - 55 Days and 1000 miles.
|Day #44 Tuesday
July 23, 2002
"We followed the river down to where it entered Nueltin, running all the rapids, some of them being very tricky. Later, we were told by the natives that the rapids on this river were impossible to run."
Sydney A Keighley, about his trip with Albert "Frenchy" Tremblay down the Putahow River to Simon's Point on Neultin Lake during the fall of 1927. And if you think my trip with Lynda is a big deal listen to this. They left Stanley Mission with their wives on July 25, just to get up here to trap for the winter. And Syd and his wife Rachael brought their three week old son Cyril along. WOW!
|Stopped at Cote Lake for lunch. After a tough morning it is such a treat to float into this lake. It looks like Coney Island with miles of sand beaches and eskers. There are a few tundra type islands in it. Round domes with a fringe of black spruce all round and part way up to the high center. Then, part way up the incline, the trees peter out.. whether due to lack of water, poor soil, or just too much darn wind and cold is anyone's guess. The sides and top look so much like tundra or what you would expect in an alpine setting.|
|We ran them all without
scouting, several being very tricky and several just
plain ole' fun. The drop from Cote Lake to Nueltin Lake
is about 60 feet but it happens slowly, mile after mile,
as opposed to this morning's abrupt intensity.
At one of the rapids I found my fold up wood saw that I lost 6 years ago. It is now tied with a piece of blue rope into a tree at the top of the portage. While portaging, I found a leg hold trap buried in the moss. I hung it from a small spruce tree at the bottom of the trail..
We are now at Simon's Point, named after the infamous Del Simons. So many stories to tell about him and this place. This is where P G Downes and John Albrecht met the Dene men, Lopison (Robinso Throassie) and Zahbadeese (John Baptiste Tssessaze) who guided them to Windy River in 1939.
Of the Dene camp he says "Here the worm eaten faded pages of (Samuel) Hearne's narrative in my library so far away had come alive. In one hundred and fifty years, despite the whiteman and the airplane, the cycle of life was just the same. Here was something which in a few short years was destined to never be repeated again: a strange people, a brave people, with a heritage and way of life stretching back through the mists of time."
Such a lake, Nueltin. Lynda and I have seen it four times. And four hundred would not be too many.
|Day #45 Wednesday July 24,
|We are now camped about 5
miles into Nunavut. The Putahow put us into Nunavut
briefly but then headed us back to the south and east.
There is a drastic change in the country today. The
islands are fringed with rock and boulder shorelines.
Blackspruce grow in clumps so tightknit that you couldn't
force your way in for love nor money. The tops of the
islands are largely bare of trees but a gorgeous mat of
miniature Labrador tea, juniper, cranberries and
bearberry, mixed in with the caribou moss to make a
luxuriant floor for our kitchen. Large rocks, from table
size on down dot the islands. Covered with green and red
and black mosses and lichens they are a sight to behold.
All together, the scenery is probably best described as
alpine but however you care to describe it, I love it.
You can walk for miles in this country and you can see forever. It is so fascinating to see 360 degrees of weather. It can be clear blue skies in front of you and huge thunderheads behind.
Now, about the bugs. How'd the Inuit and Dene do it without DEET? Probably the same way we will have to soon now that the idiot mandarins in Ottawa have banned 95% DEET! I can't believe they did it. I heard this lady on CBC from Health Canada say that "we haven't got any proof at all that DEET is harmful, but you can't be too careful." I knew the ban was coming, so I bought 75 bottles of it. I also got some great stuff made by 3M. It's a cream based repellent that has 31.58% DEET in it. Called ULTRATHON, it really works. But now I find out from the folks at 3M that since the luddite Canadian ban is at the 30 % level we can't even get this stuff up here legally. It's rules like this that make me so proud to be a Canadian. I had Tom bring 24 tubes of ULTRATHON up with him from Pittsburgh. The Customs guys looked at him like he was crazy. Lucky he didn't get thrown in jail.
We have been putting our "Original Bugshirt Company" bug shirts through a workout. On the uncleared bush portages where we were crashing through trees I was worried about ripping the no-see-um mesh. But here on the tundra they are GREAT.
We are camped right next
to "Indian Camp Island". This is the
"Sleeping Island" of PG Downes' book. In Dene
it is called New-al-thin. Hence the name Nueltin Lake.
Downes notes how hard, if
I picked a bowlful of last year's cranberries. Lynda is going to add them to some rehydrated strawberries and blueberries. This, along with a brown sugar/chopped nut mix will serve as a garnish atop a vanilla pudding mix that is setting into a baked pie crust. YUMMY.
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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