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

Day 14

Weather: Hot, muggy, buggy, light tail wind in the morning, then strong headwind in the early afternoon, then tailwind again.
Distance: 80 km paddling plus a 6 km hike
Location: Latitude:64.17626, Longitude:-102.46298 at 07/26/2014 17:26:41 PDT
Map link: Click here

We woke at 4.30 am and were on the water, paddling, by 5.15 am. With the help of the current and very light wind we averaged almost 10 km per hour for a couple of hours, then 8 km per hour after that. We were only paddling at a 5-6 km per hour effort level, so the current was quite swift. It didn't last for ever though.

We saw another grizzly bear on river right, very close to us. It was near the water and we were running along the right bank. We only saw it at the last minute, as we passed it. It seemed as surprised as we were and it woofed and ran away.

We stopped to hike at Muskox Pingo. We had been told that muskox were common around here and were eager to see some. By this stage we were getting quite disappointed by the relative lack of wildlife. We were several hundred km into the Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary by now and had not seen a single caribou or muskox. The muskox we had seen was near the start of the Hanbury, way outside the wildlife sanctuary. So, we thought we needed to get out and search more aggressively. The hike to Muskox Pingo was a 6 km round trip across the tundra. In places it was quite tussocky and difficult going. It was also very hot and buggy. We found the Pingo and more importantly, managed to find our way back to the canoe afterwards (always carry a map and compass on these hikes!). Unfortunately, we did not see any wildlife whatsoever. We decided to rename this "The Thelon Bug Sanctuary".

The wind picked up and the river switched direction directly into it for the next 10 km. Without current assistance we probably would have been forced to stop, but we battled through breaking waves for 10 km and then turned to have the wind behind us again for the rest of the day. With the gentle wind and current assist, Kirti was able to take a well-earned break for a while.

We passed Lookout Point and enjoyed the scenery. We eventually stopped to camp on a beautiful esker with the river and a white sand beach to one side and a lake to the other. This was a beautiful spot. We enjoyed a swim in the river. The water temperature was perfect. Since the weather was so hot we decided to sleep in our mesh tent again. It was lovely lying in bed looking at the sunset and watching for wildlife.