Borealis Paddling Expedition
The Borealis Paddling Expedition is a canoe trip consisting of 5 women who will paddle through the Boreal Forest, Tundra and Arctic wilderness.
The Unknown
06/18/2005, Flett Lake, Nunavut

This past week has flown by incredibly fast as every day has offered us a new, exciting, and unknown adventure. We began the week very optimistic of upcoming ice conditions and arriving to our re-supply "on time" according to our pre-planned itinerary. As we paddled and ported through the remaining parts of Chipman River and Chipman Lake, we discussed all of our options for where and when we should re-supply with our next ration of food. This will depend on how quickly we were able to move and what Selwyn and Flett Lakes have to offer in terms of ice and wind. We were all anxious to find out how things would play out and as we have been told that last year a late spring kept ice on Selwyn for another three weeks.

Towards the end of our 1K portage into Selwyn Lake we had a clear view and saw no ice. In fact, the wind was coming from the south in the long and narrow bay, which allowed us to sail our two canoes north. As we neared the deeper portion of the lake we did eventually run into ice. However, it was very manageable and we were able to avoid the long bays and aided by the rain and wind the ice melted and we had a fairly clear path to our destination.

During the past twenty-two days I have felt so blessed in so many ways. We have been given many wonderful days, others a bit more challenging, but we have also been given the tools needed to face them head on. Our days of paddling are bringing more time of self-reflection that is accompanied by more frequent bouts of laughter. I suppose you will all have to be the judge upon our return if we are truly becoming significantly more hilarious or if we are spending too much time out here. The north end of Selwyn has shown the most dramatic transition from the Boreal Forest to the Arctic tundra I have seen yet. On past trips, I do not remember taking time to notice this change. The portage from Selwyn Lake to Flett Lake is where I noticed the treetops shrinking, the cover becoming less dense and the black flies emerging. This place is also the "Height of the Land," where Selwyn and waters south flow into Mackenzie River out to the western waters of the Arctic Ocean, and Flett Lake to the north starts many rivers flowing northeast to Hudson Bay. We then took a hike to the Goo Tue Lake, two-thirds of the way through the portage, which is sacred to the Dene. To show your respect you are to toss an article of clothing in the lake and many of these are visible beneath the murky waters. A hike further up to the height of the land allowed us to see both lakes in an amazing view -- we saw Flett Lake with no ice.

So it happens that day twenty-one we arrived "on time" to Flett Lake to receive our re-supply. This morning a pilot arrived with twelve boxes full of our food for the next twenty-five days. Chris, the pilot, graciously stayed and enjoyed a cup of coffee and a piece of Nina's delicious coffee cake as we quickly filled up our Nalgenes with peanut butter and margarine. Things went very smoothly and we are cleaning, organizing, and resting our bodies for the continued journey north.

To make our re-supply logistics run more smoothly we have been using a satellite phone. We want to thank the Chumbley's for the use of their phone. With the multitude of calls we have been able to recharge our batteries using our amazing Brunton solar roll. It has made our lives a lot easier. The Chipman portages have also given us an opportunity to use our Cooke Custom Sewing Pioneer portage packs; with the ability to make personal adjustments, each of us are much happier. I can't imagine portaging with anything else.

We also wanted to send happy trails to Manito-wish's boys campers and outpost campers; we hope you all have an amazing summer.

To our fathers, a happy belated father's day. We think of you often as we open our wanagan, carry our gun, write an update, eat pancakes with maple syrup, and admire a beautiful sunny day... you are wonderful. Thank you!

UPDATE!!! Photos from first resupply now available.


Support the Borealis Campership Fund at Camp Manito-wish YMCA


Who: Meg, Nina, Beth, Karen and Emily
Where: Camp Manito-wish YMCA
View Complete Profile »

Powered by XJournal