Pethei Peninsula with its precipitous western shore. Taltheilei Narrows and McLeod Bay in the distance.
Redcliff Island's western shore.
Łutselkʼe from where I get picked up by Dave Olesen.
Dave's (new) Bush Hawk to the Hoarfroast River.
Stark Lake Channel.
Across Douglas Peninsula (1).
Still Douglas P. (2)
McLeod Bay with Kahochella Peninsula shore line (3).
Douglas and Kahochella Peninsulas.
Homing in on the Hoarfrost River homestead where I would reunite with most of my outfit stored at the Olesen's the year before.
On my way again after a fleeting visit. Barely enough time to sort things out.
Rotting ice on Aylmer Lake - first week July 2018.
The Back River's headwaters. The trickle out of Sussex Lake (to the right).
Looking as shallow and bony as the year before in September.
The connection to Jim Magrum Lake. Likely shallow also. I was not keen to start my trip needlessly trying.
Jim Magrum Lake in the distance to the right.
Pretty nice plane!
This is it. My entire outfit. Canoe, food for 60 days, odds and ends.
I call this picture "Blue Seat on Tundra". Offers welcome.
Had to coat the primer I applied last year. One of the tasks I planned on doing at the Olesen's. But - they had different plans.
First camp. With the lens protection lamellae not fully receded. That was a pain to deal with on the entire trip.
Trying to get some order into that jumble of stuff.
The spirits being good-tempered.
At the very start - upon leaving Jim Magrum Lake.
And soon the first obstacle.
Necessitating a short lift-over.
Remains of a former prospecting site. Drill cores galore.
The sail prooved to be helpfull again.
Odd shore line.
A more serious challenge.
The same as before viewed upstream.
Arriving on Beechey Lake.
The sun can become quite bothersome. No shade whatsoever. And in July the sun is barely setting. This aluminized Tyvek (as a makeshift) brought true shade and made it bearable inside the tent.
Solid willows growing along a tiny rivulet close to Beechey Lake (in the distance).
Beechey Lake take-out before being swept into the Cascades.
Bad, bad news on a windless day. Black flies galore.
Beechey Lake Cascades.
Please take your trash back home! Found at the end of Beechey Cascades portage.
A small Pingo on river left - only a few minutes further on the water. Not visible unless you get out of the canoe.
Pingo Camp - windbound.
Look for the tiny red canoe at approx. 20:00 hours.
Running these rapids almost led to disaster.
Ran the far right of the center channel.
What a bad idea!
At a shoal, a rocky ledge halfway down, I spun around and got caught crosswise in the surge of water at the bottom. One mighty close call.
The Back River sports an extensive sandy section.
Willows growing horizontally. Everything that is sticking its head out has to cope with relentless wind.
Pelly Lake Camp.
Looking towards the southwest of Pelly Lake - the direction ahead.
Pelly-family memorial site. Refer to David F. Pelly's book "Expedition: An Arctic journey through history on George Back's River."
Same place in 2002: Eric Ayalik Okalitana Pelly with his father. To learn more about Eric and his fate visit the Ayalik Fund website. By the time he was 12 years old, Eric had paddled on six Barrenlands rivers: Thelon (three times), Clarke, Consul, Back, Simpson, Elk.
Remains of Father Buliard's cabin on Mission Island.
Remains of Robert Perkins' "library"project.
Still on Mission Island.
Solid driftwood (willows) can be gathered on Mission Island.
Along the shore receiving the Northwesterlies.
I can't help to get excited about that wood-gas-stove.
The stove as an insert reduces the burning chamber of my tent stove. And thus goes a long way with only a few sticks.
Filled up and lit as an upside-down-fire.
It becomes the most charming wood-stove.
Red hot embers will ignite almost anything you throw in to resume cooking.
With hot water (fire wood) galore I decided in favour of a lay over day to wash my clothes and explore the island.
Earlier visitors on Mission Island.
Forced ashore by too much wind.
Skidmarks from boulders being pushed ashore by storm-driven ice.
Lots of space.
Aligned by eons of ice-action(?)
Narrows on Buliard Lake. Note the stone wall.
Wind is the master out on the Barren Lands. He dictates everything: who is traveling, when, into which direction - if at all. Commanding bugs, caribou and the weary canoeist.
I wised up on this one.
Under the watchful eye of the local warden.
Late in the day with the ultra low light.
Lower MacDougal Lake ahead.
The main island at the beginning of Rock Rapids.
The continuation of Rock Rapids past the island.
The turn-off to the east when leaving MacDougal Lake (in the distance) and part of a recommended portage across the island - in the foreground.
Looking south towards the middle section of Rock Rapids.
The boulder fan to deal with when choosing to run the western turn-off around the island.
Portage time on the middle section of Rock Rapids.
A short portage on river left.
I am sold on gas catridges. Clean combustion (particularly nice inside a tent), straight forward, no spills, no leakages. While there was wood available during the first 4 weeks (I flew some in also) I consumed about 450g. The 3 weeks afterwards (cooking mainly on gas) I ran through another 900g. Empty catridges were punctured, crushed flat and taken to Gjoa Haven.
Escape Rapids. The middle section and the dramtic final in the far distance.
The ferry in the middle section to the gravel-island in midstream and beyond to river left.
The final with a short portage on the rocks on river left (dead centre of this picture).
The final drop of Escape Rapids looking back up stream.
Plenty of Birch Boletus on the Tundra.
The pressure cooker as fry pan. Works like a charm on the gas stove too.
Again - a lot of wind to cope with. Even tailwinds in combination with a long catch and resulting waves were a challenge.
The night before reaching Sandhill Rapids.
Still willows of a useful size around.
Looking further ahead from Wolf Rapids.
Looking back on Wolf Rapids.
Mount Meadowbank in the distance.
Looking down from Mt. Meadowbank.
Hermann River. Windy and flat.
Convinient kitchen table.
Darn good swimmers.
A variable tent floor keeps things clean. And Tyvek is nice and lightweight.
Food cache; Animals were kept away by piling stones over the carcass.
Manna proverbially falling from heavens. This goose was taken out of the air by a falcon. To his annoyance it dropped quite close to my tent. Presumably too close for the falcon to enjoy his meal.
Friends and family were waiting in the distance and would not leave until I made an approach.
A classic windfall meal.
The night before reaching Whirlpool Rapids. McKay Peak in the distance to the left.
Same place from above.
Emergency camp - windbound once again.
The final set of rapids.
Now within reach by motor boat from Gjoa Haven.
Upon reaching salt: Chantrey Inlet with Victoria Headland in the distance.
Busted by the tide.
At the foot of Victoria Headland.
With visitors way before my time.
George Back's "picturesque" water fall.
Cockburn Bay (to the left) and Chantrey Inlet. Looking back towards the mouth of the Back River.
Packing up for pick up.
The benefits of a fully collapsible canoe.
Victoria Headland's hinterland. Rocks as far as the eye can see.
At last the pick-up-party arrived.
And when an Inuk dons a thermal suit you know you are in for a cold ride.
Unaccustomed speed. 60 horses making quite a difference.
Bare rocks on the eastern shore for many miles.
Late in the evening with the light fading it was wise to set up camp on Montreal Island.
The west coast of Chantrey Inlet: featureless and ultra flat.