July 20th, 2019
We broke camp from the Fort Smith boat launch at 4:00 AM and had a relaxing breakfast on the water. Some of the boys are giving silty Slave River water a go, but I’m switching to the gravity filter. We pushed hard all morning. We paddled through a cool mist that clung to the river as if it were tethered to it, but that dissipated before we finished our first stretch. It was a scorcher after that.
We found out that the horseflies wake up just before 9:00 AM, our usual nut break time. They have been bugging us this past week, but they were particularly oppressive today. We paddled hard all day, falling just seven miles short of our top daily distance, finishing 62 miles closer to Kugluktuk.
Yellowknife, our last stop in civilization, might only be a week away. We draw nearer to the Yellowknife River – the crux of our trip – with every paddle stroke. Firmly oriented north now, our path forward is straighter than ever. Visions of the approaching tundra glaze our dreams. We are so close now.
P.S. It would have been a very straightforward day had we not discovered a 5 liter margarine explosion in a nut sack after we got to camp! So devastating. We spent our evening wiping and cleaning all the nut and pemmican bags. Not a fun way to end the day. Pretty funny, but less so now as this was the third such instance this trip.