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.
To Dubawnt Lake
07/03/2005, Dubawnt River, Nunavut

As I write, I am sitting looking at beautiful whitewater on the Dubawnt River. We have just finished dinner; Emily caught a huge lake trout -- yum. We had a fabulous day of paddling on the river between Nicholson and Dubawnt Lakes. We have only a couple of kilometers of river left before the lake and it is hard to believe that we have reached this milestone already.

The last week has had the steady rhythm of frozen lake followed by big, beautiful stretches of river with fun, challenging whitewater, followed again by frozen lake. We seem to have outrun the spring again in our sprint north, allowing us to re-live our Wollaston Lake glory days of a little paddling mixed with a little bobsledding. Paddling frozen lakes (I know it sounds funny) really has a feeling all its own. While on all canoe trips you have to deal with obstacles as they present themselves, we have found that not knowing what is around the next point, ice or water, really forces us to let go and take each small obstacle one at a time. We don't think about what may be three points away or what we dealt with ten minutes before. We are lucky, too, to be on a long enough expedition that we can be satisfied knowing we are working as hard as we can and getting as far as we can each day. It gives one that perfect feeling of living totally in the present, and I can honestly say that the challenge the ice brings is kind of exciting. The stillness of the icy lakes also stands in beautiful contrast to the powerful movement of the Dubawnt River between the lakes. The river has gained momentum as it nears Dubawnt Lake and seems to have become even more beautiful. This morning we ran a set of whitewater that snaked through an "S" shaped canyon with rocky embankments topped with bright, green tundra rising high on either side.

The water is really fast-moving and cold; we are so grateful to NRS for the neoprene gloves and socks that keep us warm and for the Z-drag kit and throw-bags that give us peace of mind (though we don't intend to need them). We are also very grateful to Ostrom Outdoors for the use of some of their pack liners. They keep our stuff so dry even in the big waves and the heavy rains; when it is really cold, we are so appreciative of dry clothing and food.

Even with all the beauty and the challenging river, the highlight of this week definitely was the musk oxen herd we encountered. We spotted one animal from the river and pulled over to check it out, and it seemed like they just kept appearing until there was a herd of 20, including a baby, grazing in front of us. These huge but at the same time nimble animals resemble a cross between a buffalo and a prehistoric sheep, but they are gigantic, with longer hair. They seemed aware but unconcerned with our presence and we stood and watched for a long time.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July and it makes our thoughts turn to summers at home. Happy 4th of July everyone, and happy birthday to the Rickster from your friends on the Canadian tundra.

View Photos (received from the first resupply)

Support the Borealis Campership Fund at Camp Manito-wish YMCA


Who: Meg, Nina, Beth, Karen and Emily
Where: Camp Manito-wish YMCA
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