July 16th, 2019
The Hot & Thirsty Crisis
Authors Note: Please see previous Authors Note (Day 63).
Day 69 was an absolute scorcher! It was quite possibly the hottest day on record for The Source Runs North boys.
We woke up late, around 4:45 AM, at the park by the beach in Fort Chip (Chipewyan). Oatmeal and coffee were for breakfast with clear skies and Lake Athabasca in the foreground. We paddled on the lake for a bit until getting on Rivière des Roches, the River of Rocks, aptly named for the beautiful formations that line the shore. It was pretty dirty, but a vast improvement from the Athabasca River. Tops were popped around 8:00 AM, a sure sign we were in for a long, hot day of paddling.
We stopped in the shade around 9:00 AM for nuts and pemmican. I have started donating my morning pemmican to the dinner pot. This allows me to fully enjoy my trail mix and beef up suppertime…James really needs the calories ;-). We paddled for another hour and a half in the sweltering heat then pulled off for lunch. Several people bathed and we enjoyed summer sausage with parm cheese in tortillas.
We continued on Rivière des Roches after lunch, quickly making our way to the Slave River. The Slave is a massive river with a strong current. The water is not moving nearly as fast as the flooded Athabasca but it is much less dirty and much prettier. Not to mention, it offers an abundance of potential campsites.
At this point, we had paddled over 30 miles in blistering heat; the boys were hot and thirsty. Although the Slave River is cleaner than the Athabasca, it is still dirty. It has the look of iced coffee with two creams: Mud Brown. The water tastes like dirt. Unfortunately we only have one water filter at this point. Six exhausted, thirsty boys and one water filter.
We made camp at someone’s cabin, unattended at the time. Kitchen on the rocks totally exposed. Mac and sausage for dinner. Bram snipped the water filter line in order to speed up the process and give us the ability to use the filter in the boats. I could not write this entry last night because I was too hot. Upon entering the tent, I laid down in my boxers, sweating, envisioning icebergs and waterfalls. It took 20 minutes to thermo-regulate and meditate into a state of comfort-ability. When I promptly fell asleep.