From Sled Lake to Stark Lake – Northwest Territories, Canada

20th July – Tent Lake

After resting all day yesterday, we were all keen on getting some mileage on our Ally canoe. We decided to try to get to Tent Lake, the next large lake we were to cross during our trip. Studying the map, it looked like a good days work with a couple of narrow areas, but not more than two or three easy portages along the eight kilometres down to Tent Lake.

It turned out to be nothing like expected. We started at noon, and at eleven o’clock at night, we had portaged three times, and lined twice, and progress was slow. Finally we saw what had to be Tent Lake in front of us. The dark had crept on us, and the sight was poor. Canoeing slowly, we felt the river pick up speed, and the too familiar sound of fast running water emerged. Tired, worn out and with little energy left in both dogs and men, we drove the canoe to the right shore of the river. It did not take long until the bugs caught our smell, and drove us mad. With no energy left to put on either us or the dogs the bug shirts, we all got eaten bad. So close to the goal, we clenched our teeth, agreeing that no matter what, Tent Lake would be ours tonight.

I told Bernt to stay with the dogs and canoe, while I staggered down the river, sliding on slippery rocks and wading to my waist to scout. The rapid was only about 200 meters, but ended in a large rapid that were impossible to line. It would surely crash our canoe, and send our gear floating all over Tent Lake.

With no strength left to portage the heavy gear, and both sides of the river packed with bush an pine in all angles, I climbed up and down the slippery rocks to find a way to line the canoe in the small streams running on our side of the rapid. After much scouting and calculations, I finally thought I had a route that would prove possible to line. Back with Bernt, I presented the route and we decided to have a go. It proved to be a struggle to get the canoe over all the rocks and small rapids, but finally we could slide into Tent Lake.

The dark had surrounded us completely by now, and we had to navigate by GPS the last kilometres out to an island. Luckily the night was beautiful and still, and we entered the island after over twelve hours in the Ally. Exhausted we crept into our sleeping bags, wondering if Tent would give us the same good fishing as we had experienced so far.

Fish caught

Bernt: 0,5 (grayling)

Håvard:

Total: 39,5

Getting ready for a new leg in the canoe

Getting ready for a new leg in the canoe

Lunch, and a "rullings" (rolling tobacco)

Looking back on one of the rapids we just portaged

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