Jonathan and Kirti Walpole's 950 km canoe journey across Northwest Territories and Nunavut in July and August of 2014

Day 4

Weather: Poor visibility, rain, moderate wind, then intense storm, thunder, lightning, storm-force winds
Distance: 30 km
Location: Latitude:63.63982, Longitude:-105.96906 at 07/16/2014 17:51:00 PDT
Map link: Click here

We set off today just after 8 am. It had rained overnight, but was not raining when we started, however it soon started to rain and we wore our bibs and rain jackets to paddle. We paddled through many small channels, some of which had current in spots, and one even had a small rapid. After lunch we saw storm clounds gathering and we heard thunder. We decided to get off the water, and it was a good job we did. The sky turned black and a huge storm errupted.

We were not in a very good location for shelter, but it had to do. Because there were few suitable spots for a tent, we put up the flysheet of the kitchen shelter for initial shelter from the wind and rain, in the hope that the storm would pass and we'd be able to find a more suitable camp later. However, the storm became very intense with the wind swinging around from the North to the Northwest and gusting up to at least 100 km/hour. Despite piles of large rocks on the tent anchors, and additionally guy lines deployed, we still found ourselves inside the tent having to lean against the windy side of the tent just to hold it up, while a veritable fire-hose of rain created a deafening roar. This lasted for several hours. Enduring the full brunt of a storm, fully exposed on the relatively featureless tundra, is something we expected and had planned for, but it was still more than a little unnerving, since we were not well located for this.

By 10 pm the rain had stopped, the storm had subsided, and the wind had dropped to mere gale force. We hiked around and found a half-decent spot for our sleeping tent, pitched it (which was a bit tricky in the strong winds) and snuggled inside. It was very comfortable, and for once, there was no sign whatsoever of any bugs. The temperature dropped rapidly.